Monday, February 15, 2010

60. DuBose Porter: Your Voice and Your Heart

Recently I was asked, "Why do you want to be the next governor of the state of Georgia?"
Here is the answer:
"When I was Chairman of the Education Committee and then later Chairman of Higher Education, I saw that to take education to where it needed to be you have to have the power and the will of the governor's office. I had thought when the children graduated, if the time was right, I would run for Governor. When the transportation plan failed again last year for the second time as our major city sat in gridlock, when public safety was reduced to unsafe numbers, when water was threaten for Georgians and corruption only grew more intrenched, I realized it was time to get in, and work to take out, the policies and the corruption that were holding this state down.
For one example, when I was Chairman of Education, I saw that the jobs of the future were going to go to the states that had the highest level of education. I started pushing for post secondary options to partner with high schools and technical and community colleges back when Zell Miller was Governor and it was vetoed. Then the next Governor vetoed it. I finally got it through and Governor Perdue ended the program. Industry will not locate in a state without a well-trained workforce and that is what is happening now. Had I had the power of the Governor's office back then, we would now have that well trained workforce and we would be the ones attracting industry instead of North Carolina and the other states which invested in education and job training.
Instead we have had governors the last decade who have consistently damaged our schools and not supported our teachers. I have fought for improvements in education, from smaller classrooms to rewards for teachers’ earning National Board Certification. I was the first signer on the HOPE Scholarship and I have never made one vote that would not improve our education system in a way that would attract industry and jobs to Georgia.
In 1965, eighty percent of the jobs could go to high school drop-outs (20% to higher degrees.) That 80% of the jobs, like in farming and textile have gone. Once the Pacific Rim opened up and businesses found people who would work for 25 cents an hour, the jobs for the uneducated have been leaving the United States. Those jobs are not coming back. The jobs of the future are going to go to those who are well-educated enough to be able to adapt to a changing job market and who can easily retrain.
We have to get our children reading at the grade level at which they should be reading in early grades. We have to hold onto them in the middle grades where we start to lose them. And then in high school, if we know 80% of the jobs require a post secondary degree, like a technical or community college provides, we need to start allowing our students to get these degrees. We must implement post secondary options that don't financially punish our public schools.

Corruption also must be removed from education policy. The size of future prisons can be projected based on third grade reading scores. There are many well-connected donors who stand to gain financially building prisons and even more by managing privately owned prisons. Every time you reduce your educational levels you increase the money made on prisons. It will take a Governor willing to ignore the campaign donors who are influencing every department and put the needs of Georgians first.
Corruption is really the number one problem in Georgia. If we can put the needs of the people ahead of the interests of the campaign donors, we can solve our education, transportation, and our water issues and get public safety to a point where our citizens are safe. It will take revenue to give Georgians these basic needs, basic needs that must be met to attract industry and jobs. There are ways to increase revenue by innovative thinking like the point of sale bill; and with priority budgeting; better marketing for our state; and by leveraging more of our share of federal funds (funds we will have to pay back even if they go to another state.)
We can come out of this current economic crisis a better state. Georgia is a beautiful state with natural resources for every person's tastes, from the mountains, to the valleys, to the midlands, to the coast. If we put the needs of Georgians ahead of the special interests, we can make it so industry and jobs and the families that come with them, are attracted to what we know, can be the best place on earth. I will be the Governor who puts your voice and your heart back in your government.

Vote DuBose Porter
Put your voice and your heart
back in your government.