Dear Governor Otter:
I want to thank you for your letter of September 17, letting me be one of the first to know you are running for re-election, seeking a third term as Idaho’s governor.
Since I have never contributed a dime to any of your campaigns I am puzzled as to how I ended up on one of your numerous mailing lists, but nonetheless am flattered you would seek my support both personal and financial.
Before I would even consider either signing the statement of support you enclosed or contributing a dime, I do have a few questions to ask the answers to which would help this voter decide whether you have truly earned the rare tribute of a third term.
Let me preface these questions by saying from a personal standpoint I cannot help liking you. You can be disarmingly charming, you have a fine sense of self-deprecating humor, and I will always give you great credit for almost standing alone in the well of the U.S. House fighting against the reauthorization of the Patriot Act with all its incredible trampling on a citizen’s right to privacy and due process.
I have said it before, and will say it again: that courageous stand merits a modern profile in any updating of John Kennedy’s book, Profiles in Courage.
That aside, Governor, let me ask if you really expect voters to swallow claims in your solicitation. You state the most important role in ensuring future economic growth is building and maintaining a responsive, effective education system. True enough.
You go on to write: “I’m going to keep striving to improve our schools because I know how important an educated work force is to our success as a state. That means world-class instructional opportunities for our kids everywhere in Idaho, and a strong accessible postsecondary education system for our workforce.”
Governor, with all due respect your actions belie your words. How do you square those statements with facts documented by your former state economist, Mike Ferguson, that on your watch state support for public and higher education has declined by 25% of average gross income?
Idaho is now last among the 50 states in per pupil support. Is that putting your money where your mouth is?
Your own Education Reform Task Force called first and foremost for a restoration of almost $300 million in cuts that occurred on your watch.
You endorsed its conclusions, tacitly admitting that public education had been on rations trying to survive on a starvation budget. (more…)