On Friday evening July 20th, I ventured out to Hillside Elementary School in West Des Moines to have my first glimpse at New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson. As is my style, I arrived early. Only a half dozen had arrived before me, so we had our selection of where to be seated. By the time the event had started at 6:45 p.m. the elementary school cafeteria was brimming over with potential caucus goers, chairs added in every place imaginable! There were easily over 500 people gathered to hear from Governor Richardson and pose their questions to the candidate.
I was struck by the crowd that gathered...very few under the age of 50. I asked a campaign staff member if they "targeted" a certain demographic in extending the invitation for the event. The staffer said, "We targeted likely caucus attenders".
When I've attended other candidate events, I've been surprised by the varying ages of those in attendance--in comparison to this event, but the campaign is right--LIKELY ATTENDERS is the key! Those in attendance have all participated in caucuses in the past, they are now seriously "shopping" for a candidate to support!
Today, Sunday, July 22nd, I just finished watching Governor Richardson's interview on Iowa Public Television's, Iowa Press. He had a commendable interview! The following is the segment where the question centered on education:
Henderson: YOU HAVE PROPOSED A MINIMUM WAGE FOR TEACHERS, SPEAKING OF DOMESTIC ISSUES. WHY NOT LET STATES CONTINUE TO HAVE THE AUTHORITY TO MAKE THOSE DECISIONS? WHY SHOULD THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SEND SUCH AN EDICT?
Richardson: I AM FOR STATE CONTROL OF SCHOOLS, BUT FEDERAL LEADERSHIP HAS BEEN NONEXISTENT. IN FACT, THEY'VE BROUGHT BACK FORTH THE NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND ACT, WHICH I BELIEVE IS CUMBERSOME AND NEEDS TO BE DRAMATICALLY CHANGED OR REPLACED, UNFUNDED MANDATES. OUR TEACHERS DON'T GET PAID WHAT THEY DESERVE. WHAT'S THE STARTING SALARY, $28,000 A YEAR? IF I'M TO HAVE, WITH THE STATES, A RELATIONSHIP, IT'S GOING TO BE A PARTNERSHIP. AND I'M GOING TO SAY TO THE STATES, I AM FOR A $40,000 PER YEAR MINIMUM SALARY FOR TEACHERS BECAUSE WE NEED TO ATTRACT THE BEST TEACHERS, SCIENCE AND MATH, THE ARTS, AND IT'S IMPORTANT THAT WE DO THIS.
Henderson: SO HOW DO YOU PAY FOR IT?
Richardson: I'M GOING TO HAVE A FUND THAT ASSISTS LOCAL COMMUNITIES, KAY. INSTEAD OF HAVING A NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND ACT WHICH FORGETS ABOUT TEACHER TRAINING, AT-RISK AND DISABLED KIDS AND, YOU KNOW, LIST SCHOOLS THAT ARE DOING BADLY AND HUMILIATES THEM AND CUTS THEIR FUNDS, I WOULD DO THE OPPOSITE. IF A SCHOOL IS NOT DOING WELL, YOU KNOW, WE NEED TO HAVE PRESCHOOL FOR EVERY CHILD UNDER FOUR. WE NEED TO HAVE FULL-DAY KINDERGARTEN. WE NEED TO UPGRADE OURSELVES IN SCIENCE AND MATH. YOU KNOW WHAT ELSE WE NEED TO DO? WE NEED TO HAVE COLLEGE EDUCATION FOR EVERY AMERICAN, NONTRADITIONAL STUDENTS, VOCATIONAL SCHOOL, COMMUNITY COLLEGES. YOU'VE GOT SOME GREAT ONES HERE IN IOWA, BUT SOMEHOW WE'RE SPENDING $450 BILLION IN IRAQ AND WE'RE NOT SPENDING THESE FUNDS ON HEALTH CARE AND OUR DOMESTIC NEEDS LIKE EDUCATION.
For the complete interview, go to: http://www.iptv.org/iowapress/transcript_detail.cfm?ipShowNum=3448