Wednesday, October 22, 2014

State of the State should be forward-thinking

1/24/2014

I read the article “Governor calls tenure a success, announces push for all-day kindergarten” in the Jan. 17 Herald.

Within the past 10 days, I have watched live video and/or heard live audio speeches by three sitting United States governors who gave their “State of the State” addresses to their constituents and other concerned citizens. They included Gov. Dave Heineman, R-Neb., Gov. Terry Branstad, R-Iowa, and Gov. Sam Brownback, R-Kan.

I read the article “Governor calls tenure a success, announces push for all-day kindergarten” in the Jan. 17 Herald.

Within the past 10 days, I have watched live video and/or heard live audio speeches by three sitting United States governors who gave their “State of the State” addresses to their constituents and other concerned citizens. They included Gov. Dave Heineman, R-Neb., Gov. Terry Branstad, R-Iowa, and Gov. Sam Brownback, R-Kan.

Each of those three governors drew applause when they recited their efforts to cut taxes. Each of those governors cited instances where they hoped to create more jobs and increase population. Two out of the three men seemed to look forward, while the third governor seemed glued to his rear-view mirror by doing an apology of remorse for sins committed more than a century and a half ago.

Brownback, of my native State of Kansas, apologized to the Pottawatomie American Indian tribe for suffering the tribe endured in 1838. That was nearly two decades before Kansas even became a U.S. state! Then Brownback recalled the time known as “Bleeding Kansas,” the period of strife between pro-slavery people and abolitionists, which was one of the sparks igniting the U.S. Civil War. As much as I like history in general, I wish we could hear less of that awful phrase, “Bleeding Kansas.”

By contrast, Heineman gave an upbeat speech in which he was proposing property tax reductions for farmers in Nebraska. Heineman correctly noted that the cost of foods, goods and services, and even health-care is getting more expensive — and farmers deserve a financial break. I agree.   

Brownback, in my opinion, wasted the precious time of his speech by his own personal remorse over sins and grievances committed decades and centuries ago. He hinted at Kansas nearing 3 million people in its total population size. “When that three millionth Kansan is born, what kind of state will we have built for her?” he asked.

I don’t intend to sound sexist, but I wondered aloud why Brownback didn’t say “him” or “her?” It certainly appeared to be a shameless pandering to women voters. Brownback is charged to be a “leader,” the chief executive officer of the state, sworn to see that the laws are enforced equally.

As for all-day kindergarten, I attended a half-day kindergarten at Rose Hill, Kan., public schools. I think children need to enjoy their earliest years, and they learn best by merging gradually, academically. There is no rush. Any added benefit is nil.

 

— James A. Marples,

Longview, Texas

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