On the Issues
Education – One of my major concerns is the protection of the public education system. Public education is the greatest vehicle for societal change. When properly administered, public education offers those born into poverty an opportunity for upward mobility. Our public education system has produced everything from day laborers to presidents. Rather than propose legislation aimed at tearing the system down and weakening it, I believe we should be working to strengthen and improve it. We must look at the option of creating more opportunities for training young people who might not be college bound. The development of construction pathways is one means to better prepare our students to develop a skill set that will make them more appealing to possible employers. This will also have the added benefit of creating a workforce to draw businesses into our more rural areas.
Economic Improvement – Our local communities are suffering from a lack of economic opportunities. Many workers have been displaced. I believe we must create programs to train these displaced workers to give them better chances to gain new employment. We must also consider expanding into new markets such as solar farms and other fast-growing industries in our communities. These emerging industries would offer sustainable careers and financial stability for families in our district. With our vast open and undeveloped areas, our district is perfect for becoming a hub of new energy production facilities for renewable energy. We should also consider construction of ethanol plants in our district. This would generate construction jobs and offer a new market for our local farmers. These plants would also spur the creation of satellite industries to support transportation and maintenance facilities.
Labor Organizations – Recent legislation has been detrimental to the labor movement. The backbone of our economy is our middle class. This middle class was born from the labor movement of our grandparents. While so called ‘right to work’ legislation is promoted as a boon to workers, this is completely false. ‘Right to work’ legislation is intended to weaken labor unions and thereby control workers. The same is true of the repeal of prevailing wage endorsement. I believe these two pieces of recent legislation must be overturned.
State Workers’ Pensions – Our State Workers have served our state and they deserve the pensions they were promised. When compared to other fields that require comparable college investments, teachers earn far less than their contemporaries. To offset this inequity and draw people to teaching fields, an attractive pension has been promised. These pensions and other state worker retirements must be protected with new revenue solutions instead of drastic cuts in those benefits. One means of providing revenue is to pursue new innovative technologies and industries in our district.