Scouts become part of senate race - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Scouts become part of senate race

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October 15, 2002

Albany- "I've been a scout since I was three," says Sean Cirone. Sixteen year old Sean Cirone is a true boy scout. He's just months away from achieving the organization's highest rank -- eagle scout. He says scouting has been a major part of his life.

"It gives kids something to do on Monday nights. It lets you experience things you wouldn't normally experience," Cirone adds.

Even though his father wasn't a member, the organization has brought the two together. "We've been part of it as a family, both my son and my wife and I. We spend a lot of time with the Boy Scouts. We thinks it's a very good organization, and it teaches the youth of America I think the right disciplines," says John Cirone.

Tuesday night the scouts held their annual wild game dinner and auction to raise money for the group -- money that will be used for activities and camping trips. So how are these young men part of a political debate?

It stems from a decision by the Boy Scouts of America to ban homosexuals from becoming members or troop leaders, and whether scouts can hold meetings on public school property.

Max Cleland voted against legislation that would withhold federal money from schools who deny the scouts access to meet on school property, but Saxby Chambliss says Cleland hasn't always supported the scouts.

"When I was growing up scout met at either the church or schools on a regular basis, and that's still the same today, and I've been very critical of Max Cleland on his vote on the boy scouts, against the boy scouts," says Saxby Chambliss.

Cleland's supporters say he voted against the bill because it unconstitutionally took federal money away from schools, and he later supported a bill making sure scouts could meet at schools.

Parents like Cirone are just glad their children are part of what they say is a great organization. "I think he's a much more balanced young man than young men that have not been a part of it," says John Cirone.

Senator Cleland and Congressman Chambliss are running in what's expected to be a close race to represent Georgia in the United States senate. Election day is three weeks from today.

Posted at 10:45 PM by elaine.armstrong@walb.com