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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

I endorse...

Governor Bill Richardson

I had the opportunity to see Governor Bill Richardson speak today. I was suitably impressed... I'm horribly rushed for time, so I can't give a full rundown of the governor's visit at the moment (I will later, I promise), but here are a few things that stuck out to me:

Education -- Governor Richardson had concrete ideas on how to improve education, not the least of which was increasing teachers' salary as he did in New Mexico. $40,000 a year was the number he mentioned as a starting wage. He talked about national standards vs. "No Child Left Behind." The cost of higher education was discussed as well.

Jobs -- Again, there were some very concrete and viable ideas on how to spur the economy.

Veterans' Rights -- This one really stuck out. The Governor spoke of instituting a "Hero's Card," a card issued to each veteran that would allow the vet to get medical care at any hospital or clinic instead of having to travel to a VA hospital. (I looked at Richardson's web site a few days ago. He has a LOT of good ideas and plans regarding veterans' rights -- soldiers are exempt from income tax the first year after their service to ease transformation into civilian society, veterans receive a 5% break on income tax for life, etc.)

I'll write more on this later. In the meantime, here are some photos...






12 Comments:

Blogger Father Andersen said...

HERE, HERE! (or is it "Hear, hear!") either way, I agree.

Having lived under Richardson's administration for the last 4 years I know first hand that if allowed to implement his plans, they work.

I don't, however, personally agree with every plank of the Democratic party's platform, but Richardson has shown that he is willing to go against "the party" when it means getting the job done.

10:52 PM  
Blogger Bluzlover said...

I have been leaning towards Richardson as well. I'm disappointed that I missed his appearance in Sioux Town. I must have my head in the sand, I was not aware that he was going to be here. Hope to get a chance to see him before the final battle.

10:49 AM  
Blogger pistols at dawn said...

He'll make a good Veep or Sec. of State candidate.

That whole gay gaffe whilst being interviewed by Melissa Ethridge was awkward, though.

2:55 PM  
Blogger Leonesse said...

I am waiting abit longer to really look into them. They will fight amongst themselves and will just cut the best candidates out before the election anyway.

3:12 PM  
Blogger Father Andersen said...

I disagree with leonesse. If you don't find out who the good people are now and go out and support them, and you're leaving the weeding out to the candidates, it won't be the best person left, but the richest and loudest.

3:36 PM  
Blogger The Guv'ner said...

I'm quite horrified that veterans aren't treated better. We're fast to send them off to be mutilated for the country but not so quick to pick up the tab afterwards. It's obscene.

12:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not a fan of the across-the-board $40k starting salary for teachers. We have to remember cost of living differs in every area, not all school districts have the funding to support paying every teacher $40k plus union raises, and that not all teachers are worth $40k a year. Teaching is a job you should enjoy doing, just like any other job. And, it's one of the few full-time professions that allows its employees to have extensive time off as well as opportunities for part-time work/income. Go ahead and argue that they need that time to further their own educations to keep up; remember that there's a pay scale directly proportional to the post-BA work they do.

I respect homeschool "teachers" more than "teacher teachers". They're doing the job for the right reasons, doing it better, and doing it cheaper.

1:16 PM  
Blogger Father Andersen said...

Anonymous,
If you have done any work teaching in the public school system, you would know that $40K a year is not that much for the work they do. I understand the point that not all school districts can support this level for all teachers, but teachers do deserve a living wage for the area they live and work in. The so-called "post BA-work" scale you mentioned is a joke and needs to be thrown out in this discussion. It may make sense in other business situations and other professional positions, but a school is not a business and teaching is more than a profession. Also, to imply that teachers should get a part-time job to supplement their income shows complete ignorance of what the job of a teacher entails. It's not a 7:30-3:30 job, it's a way of life. Just because you enjoy your job does not mean you shouldn't be able to eat with your income.

As for homeschoolers, great, fantastic, wonderful, good for them. I have homeschooled my own children and as a result they are above the curve compared to their peers. Is homeschooling better? Depends, if you provide opportunities for developing social skills like they get in a group learning environment, ok. If you keep your children isolated in your house and don't provide them the skills to compete and curriculum that prepares them for the real world, then not so good. Is it cheaper? Arguable, since you still pay your taxes to support the public school then spend the money on your own books and supplies to do the job at home. Regardless, not everyone has the ability or opportunity to do that, many couples are forced to have both parents work, leaving no one at home to do the homeschooling.

Having been on both sides - working as a teaching intern in the public school system and homeschooling - I know what I'm saying. Many teachers I know get temporary work in the summer - usually pretty low paying since it is temporary (and thus not being able to do any more "post-BA" work to be able to move up your scale), have spouses who work full time and STILL recieve food stamps and other public assistance just to put food on the table for their families. They love what they do, sure, but how long can you love something that doesn't allow you to eat?

That is just plain wrong.

Here in New Mexico we have a much better school system than we did before. The higher pay-scale has attracted many more teacher candidates. This has allowed school districts to be much more choosy in their hiring practices, thus resulting in a much higher quality of teachers. While some schools are still struggling to rise of above the problems of the past, the commitment of these better-quality professionals is beginning to turn that around. The proof is in the pudding.

I'd love to take this discussion off this loop, since it only indirectly pertains to Richardson, but since you posted anonymously I had no way to contact you. My apologies to everyone else in this loop.

Ok, getting off my soapbox now. Sorry, this topic is just a REAL hot button with me. Having a gaggle of smurfs of my own, their education is not something I take lightly.

2:10 PM  
Blogger Leonesse said...

I thank you, father andersen, for your disagreement. I have just been disappointed too many times now and since they are starting the campaigns so early and I am so busy, I am putting this on the back burner for now. We have a year to see what drivel they dig up on everyone.

2:57 PM  
Blogger Leonesse said...

That was meant to be a very civil thank you! Not meant facetiously. I love a good discussion. Especially over a good beer.

2:59 PM  
Blogger Father Andersen said...

It was taken very much in a civil manner and I thank YOU for courtesy.

Politics is ugly and if I ruled the universe I would take the media, money, and mudslinging out of the game, but it is what it is.

Discussion does seem to come easier, and more pleasant, over a good beer.

6:41 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

This has been an interesting thread!

Father Andersen -- I'm glad to hear from someone who's "lived with" Richardson's policies for a few years, and I'm even happier to hear that he's done well!

Bluzlover -- I've missed a TON of candidate rallies simply by not hearing about 'em. They always seem to swing through town at the last minute with no prior warning. I do know that Senator Obama is at the Orpheum Monday night at 7.

Pistols -- I had cake for breakfast. What gaffe? I've not heard about it... But I can imagine that almost anything Melissa Etheridge is involved in could be awkward at one point or another. She seems to bring that out in people.

Leonesse -- I understand your feelings, but respectfully disagree. WE need to choose the candidates.

Father Andersen -- Well said, sir!

Guv -- Sadly, I hear about that sort of thing daily. Veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder that can't get treatment... It's absolutely miserable! As a society, we've asked these people to go do a difficult thing for us (whether we personally agree with it or not is moot), we need to hold up our end of the deal and help them when they come back.

Anonymous -- I'm not sure that $40k across the board is the right way to go, either, and I'm pretty sure that Governor Richardson was using that as an example, BUT I do know that paying teachers the wages they're getting now is shameful. We trust our children and our future as a society to these people -- we need to pay them what they deserve AND make the market competitive.

Father Andersen -- Again, well said, sir!

Leonesse & Father Andersen -- I appreciate you guys (and everyone!) debating and discussing things in a civil manner! I truly do appreciate that -- it's easy to get heated. I want everyone to feel they can speak their mind here without receiving any personal attacks. Good good good.

6:55 PM  

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