Friday, January 27, 2006

Part 2: Kathi Thomas's Platform in SD 25

Yesterday I shared Kathi Thomas's background information. This morning I am sharing with you Thomas's bliefs and the reasons she is challenging Jeff Wentworth in SD 25.

From Kathi Thomas:

I value all people living and working in our state, and I believe they should have the opportunity to earn a living wage.

I value our teachers, and I believe they should be paid so that their compensation is, at a minimum, in line with that of other states. They are teaching our most valuable treasures, our children, how can we not value them?

I value the futures of all Texans—so I believe we need to properly fund our schools, public elementary and secondary schools, as well as public colleges and universities.

I value the accessibility of health care for all Texans.

I value integrity and honor.

I believe that “as you do to the least of these, you do to Me,” and that we have a responsibility as a moral state to help provide for those who are in need, not through long-term handouts, but through programs that teach. “Give him a fish, feed him for a day, teach him to fish, feed him for a lifetime.”

• Education is my highest priority. With Texas ranked 50th in the nation in terms of graduation rates, we must do better. We must invest in education or we will continue to see a deteriorating society. We spent more than twice as much per prisoner as we do per student. The mandate should not be just to lower property taxes, it should be to make our educational system better, and to pay our teachers sufficiently so that their pay does not rank in the lower one-third of teachers nationwide. Our teachers need more input in what is taught- and how it is taught- so often now, they spend so much more time doing paperwork, when they could be teaching. As the product of public schools, I had some wonderful teachers who gave of their time and talent to help me learn. Many stayed after school and tutored. We need to attract and KEEP good teachers, and we can do this best by respecting how important teachers are to our future and by paying them accordingly.

Teachers hold our future in their hands--what we do today will reap benefits in the future.

• We need a tax structure that is fair so that we can afford to increase funding for public education. Today, just one in 16 businesses in Texas pays the franchise tax, which is the state’s general business tax. All businesses should want to invest in education because better education means better employees. An educated populace benefits us all—both citizens and businesses should share the costs equitably.

Texas has the fastest-growing population of children in the country and all children should be prepared to enter the workforce. Rather than having a multi-million dollar “slush fund” to attract businesses, we should invest money in our schools and attract business because of our well-educated population. In Texas, each year we expend $5,444 per student in school, but spend $13,283 per person in prison. Better education will lead to fewer in prison, and will save us money.


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