Friday, February 13, 2009

Most Rs skip House Education Committee hearing

Rep. Nancy Young Wright, a champion for education.

OTHER COVERAGE: UA Daily Wildcat, Northwest Explorer

TUCSON -- All Democratic members of the AZ House Education Committee were there, including host Nancy Young Wright of district 26, but 4 of 6 Republican committee members skipped the official hearing today at Flowing Wells High School.

GOP Rep. Vic Williams missed the meeting, which was in his district. Williams also missed an official hearing earlier this week. Not good.

Also absent today were Republican Reps. Barto, Goodale and Hendrix. Perhaps the missing Rs just don't want to hear from real Arizonans after voting for the biggest cuts to education in Arizona history?

Local pro-education Reps. Phil Lopes and I were there to advocate and hear from people, although we are not on this committee. It was my third big Tucson public hearing in 8 days on legislative affairs.

Several education professionals testified against budget cuts, including Dr. Liz Fagen of TUSD, Dr. Robert Shelton of UA, Dr. Roy Flores of Pima CC, and Dr. Alan Storm and students from Pima JTED.

Over 300 parents and other education adovates were there and many testified, calling for revenue enhancements, full consideration of all budget options, and no more cuts to education. The people understood and made it clear they know it is legislative Republicans cutting education, and they don't like it and plan to do something about it in the next election.

I was on CBS 13 news at 6 commenting on House Dems' plans to protect education and the need for a change to a fair, open budget process at the Capitol.

I also participated today in a fundraising event at my daughter's public school, and an opening ceremony for new affordable green housing southeast of downtown in my district 29. I didn't know it before I arrived, but some good friends are moving in to one of the houses, which was great to see.

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