Vinehout: We Need a New Economic Game Plan
“If we want to bring jobs back to Wisconsin we need a completely different game plan,” Sen. Kathleen Vinehout, Democratic candidate for Governor, told the Wisconsin College Democrats at their convention Sunday in Pewaukee.
“Investment in our human potential is key to Wisconsin growth,” Vinehout said. “Education is the primary driver of economic prosperity. Incomes climb with educational achievement.”
“In the last year we have seen nearly the largest cuts in the nation to education, and we have lost more jobs than any other state. There is a connection.
“We saw millions cut from our technical colleges and companies can’t find workers with the needed skills to fill available jobs,” Vinehout said.
“The Governor’s thinking is that if the public sector is starved – taxes are reduced, regulations are eliminated, programs are slashed -- the private sector will be set free and thrive. That’s a great theory, but the facts don’t back it up,” Vinehout told the students.
“Jobs, education, and great places to live all go together,” Vinehout said. “Two years ago Des Moines, Iowa, topped the Forbes list of ‘best places for businesses and careers’ and also topped the Forbes list of ‘best places to raise a family’.”
Vinehout noted that the common ingredient for making Des Moines the ‘best place’ to raise a family and the ‘best place’ for business was the human factor -- good schools and a well educated labor force.
“What is good for families is also good for business and education is basic to both,” Vinehout said.
“Government puts the fertility into the soil out of which jobs grow. Our job in government is to make the soil rich, educate our children in quality schools we are proud of, make our communities safe, train our workers in the latest technologies, keep our environment clean and healthy, modernize our transportation and communication networks, and support a quality of life we enjoy,” Vinehout said.
“If the soil is rich, the economy will grow. The public sector provides the nutrients, and the private sector provides the plants. We are in this together, public and private. We need to understand this is a vital partnership.”
Vinehout laid out a six-point plan for making education a priority again for Wisconsin.
“We have to restore the money that has been cut from education – bringing back the teachers that have been laid off, restoring the courses that have been cut, returning to smaller classes.
“We need a fairer way of funding schools. As Governor, I will propose a five-year phase in of much of Public Instruction Superintendent Tony Evers’ Fair Funding for Schools proposal beginning with an emergency funding bill before the end of the coming school year. Full implementation of school funding reforms will continue in the next two state budgets.
“At the same time Wisconsin moves towards a fair funding for schools, we must improve academic performance, increase the graduation rate, and close the achievement gap. A transparent system of accountability is essential for all schools – including voucher and charter schools.
“I also propose fully funding technical colleges and the UW system. I support the University of Wisconsin’s Growth Agenda and will aggressively encourage traditional and non-traditional students alike to complete their bachelor’s degree.
“We have to keep tuition affordable so everyone who wants to, can go to one of the technical colleges or to one of the UW campuses. We must recognize not all smart students are rich students. We have to increase our levels of student aid so that students from low income families are not denied an opportunity.
“We have to make teaching an honored profession again so the best and brightest of our college graduates choose the career of teaching the next generation.”
Vinehout told the students, “This recall election is about your future, what the community you will be living in 20 years from now will be like. How you vote this year will determine whether today’s vision will become tomorrow’s reality.”