CBS Sunday Morning at RGE

CBS Sunday Morning at RGE
Posted on 11/06/2017
Senator Michael Padilla and reporter Lee Cowan"Wow! I haven't been here in at least 30 years," New Mexico Senator Michael Padilla said as he walked through the cafeteria doors at Raymond Gabaldon Elementary. He was talking to CBS News Sunday Morning reporter, Lee Cowan, who is featuring the senator for a story about school lunches and a push to stop lunch shaming.

For Padilla, RGE brought back a flood of memories. He attended the school three decades ago. As a foster child, he was unable to afford lunch at school.

"If you couldn't afford lunch sometimes you got a piece of bread and a cold piece of cheese," Padilla said. 

"Would other kids treat you differently?" Cowan asked Padilla.

"You know, they would look at you differently and that's something I didn't realize until later in life," Padilla answered.

He told Cowan the stigma of not being able to afford lunch is a feeling he has taken with him throughout his life. "I don't think a 6 year old should bear that burden. They need to worry about focusing on their studies."

The senator said with the help of cafeteria staff he was able to eat. "I remember the two lunch ladies who allowed me to wipe the tables or mop the floors as a way to earn a hot meal," Padilla remembered. "They helped me get through difficult times."

The senator's experience has pushed him to make sure all New Mexico students eat a proper meal at school. He spearheaded Senate Bill 374, which offers free or reduced lunch to all children. Now that law could become federal.

"This is something you're very passionate about," Cowan told Padilla.

"I am very passionate about it. We're very excited that maybe this will become a federal law. It took New Mexico one year to get this done," he said.

The story will air November 19, 2017 on CBS News Sunday Morning.

CBS crew and Senator Michael Padilla Senator Padilla sitting down with Lee Cowan CBS camera crew, reporter Lee Cowan, and Senator Padilla in RGE cafeteria
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