Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Hunting’

What is the best way to shape educational policies: through education itself or politics?  This is a question I had pondered for years, but that was rattling around in my brain specifically in the week following the CEA/NEA orientation.  I perused all of my representatives websites to see how they were voting on specific legislation and what their backgrounds were that got them to their current point of political involvement.  It appears that state reps and congressmen rise from local levels, often getting elected after championing local causes and proving their merits (usually) through a long sequence of recognized service.  There was no degree or background in common which starkly contrasts the national level where most involved in the governmental gauntlet have a law degree. This is not a prerequisite as dentists, professors, and other professions also find seats in Washington, DC, but one has to think that a law degree would actually be very helpful in the process of making laws.

In my research, I happened to notice that both Rep. Danny Rovero and Senator Mae Flexer who represent my district were hosting a town hall meeting at the Putnam Town Hall.  Thomas Jefferson once said that the New England town meeting was the “best school of political liberty the world ever saw.” TJ has never steered me wrong before, so I decided to make a nice little Saturday morning out of being an informed citizen.

Freedom of Speech (from Four Freedoms, inspired by an FDR speech), by Norman Rockwell.  The image always comes to mind when thinking about town hall meetings.

Freedom of Speech (from Four Freedoms, inspired by an FDR speech), by Norman Rockwell. The image always comes to mind when thinking about town hall meetings.

The major issues discussed at the meeting were proposed budget cuts.  Mae Flexer is on the appropriations committee and currently making a new budget to submit to Governor Dannel Malloy that shifts many of his proposed cuts.  A hearty crowd showed up to speak out against devastating elimination of funding to the Department of Developmental Services.  Parents spoke out against specific bills that would require their children to get vaccinated.  A few others in the crowd were there to complain about awful cable service and fees they are getting through Frontier, a new provider to the area.

There were, however, two speakers that were much more memorable than the rest.  The first was a man whose opinion the politicians in the front of the room seemed genuinely interested in.  They didn’t just listen to him, they asked questions and solicited ideas.   He was a business owner in MA responding to a radio show response of Flexer’s talking about people leaving CT behind.  He gave us all an economics lesson courtesy of a college lecture that stuck.  There are three ways to create real wealth: make it (manufacturing), mine it (digging or drilling), or grow it (agriculture).  Everything else is just trading.  Due to a 30 year course of irresponsible fiscal policies in CT, this man decided to set up shop across the border.  When Flexer asked why he made that decision specifically, he referenced the high taxes and burdensome regulations saying reminiscing the thought, “I don’t think we’ll grow here.”  Rovero connected by saying that regulations are worse than taxes and referenced that his grand kids who are trying to run an ice cream shop have to answer to TWELVE different agencies.  Holy cow.

State Senator Mae Flexer and State Rep. Danny Rovero at Putnam Town Hall, March 20, 2015.

State Senator Mae Flexer and State Rep. Danny Rovero at Putnam Town Hall, March 20, 2015.

The superstar of the day was Pheasant man, a calm yet nervous fellow who spoke to us all using solid logic and numerically sound evidence.  Every year the pheasant stocking program is funded solely by the previous year’s pheasant hunting tag purchases.  $152,000 was raised for this year’s stocking through last year’s purchase of 5,000-6,000 pheasant licenses across the state.  Malloy is now looking to reallocate these funds to some other program. Pheasant man was arguing the sheer ridiculousness of this as it is a self sustaining program where hunters buy in to be guaranteed a stock in the following year as well.  This is not money that should be in the general fund that is open to reallocation as contractual payment is made with a dictate on what exactly the fees are being used on.  Now I can’t say I had previously thought or cared about pheasants at all in my life, but this man had an excellent point. It pretty much sounded like stealing to me.  Furthermore, Pheasant man cited a UCONN study saying that hunters bring $109 million of revenue into the state each year through lodging, licenses, equipment purchases, etc.  Why would we kill a self-sustaining program that also helps generate additional needed funds for the state? I don’t know.  Good point, Pheasant man.

Whether you like to hunt, oppose hunting, or know nothing about it, the numbers make sense.

Whether you like to hunt, oppose hunting, or know nothing about it, the numbers make sense.

After a few other speakers and our outspoken mayor dropping gems like, “I can’t remember his name, but I talk to him [police sergeant] every week” and “Wish they never did away with the death penalty” I figured there were enough people saying stupid things so I should chime in with something intelligent. Feeling empowered from the union escapades of the previous week, I stood up to speak out against over testing.  The current system of high stakes testing destroys the inquiry of the kids we care about, fails to provide timely feedback, costs a tremendous amount of money, and is used unjustly as a measure of student potential and teacher success.  That’s the sparknotes version, but I hit a two minute stream of consciousness and when done, I was surprised to hear the crowd clapping for me…they didn’t even do that for Pheasant man and he crushed it!  That just goes to show that everyone cares a tremendous amount about their children and the future of this community.  With this being the case across the state, it’s a wonder that we keep enacting measures that hurt our education system and our young learners.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: