A Georgia congressman defended himself Friday after being criticized for suggesting that students who receive free school lunches should have to work for them.
At a local republican party meeting this past weekend, Republican representative Jack Kingston said that kids could pay 5 or 10 cents “…to instill in them that there is, in fact, no such thing as a free lunch.”
He then went on to suggest they sweep floors in return for the meals they receive as part of the federal school lunch program.
The remarks were posted on the Huffington Post website.
On Friday, Kingston defended his remarks on CNN.
“This is not targeted to any one group. It would be very helpful for kids in any socio-economic group to do chores and learn the work ethic. Those kids aren’t there because of any fault of their own and I never suggested that they were,” he said Friday.
“Or maybe sweep the floor of the cafeteria – and yes, I understand that would be an administrative problem, and I understand that it would probably lose you money. But think what we would gain as a society in getting people – getting the myth out of their head that there is such a thing as a free lunch,” Kingston said.
Kingston is campaigning for the republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Saxby Chambliss who is retiring.
CNN contributed to this story.