A large part of Senator Michael Bennet's campaign has revolved around his efforts to improve the Denver Public Schools during his time as superintendent there. He was in charge of the schools from the summer before the 2005/2006 school year and left halfway through the 2008/2009 school year. So 3½ years running DPS. The CSAP tests are given in the spring of each year so the 2005/2006 tests occurred after Michael Bennet had been on the job for ¾ths of a school year.
I just finished interviewing the three candidates for Governor in Hawaii (in the order I met them).
I will be interviewing Hawaii gubernatorial candidates Neil Abercrombie, Duke Aiona, and Mufi Hannemann in early July. The interviews will go up on Huffington Post and my blog as well as here on DailyKOS. If you have any suggested questions for the candidates, please post them at www.davidthielen.info. Also, any useful information to use in follow-ups to the questions is greatly appreciated.
This was a great way to bookend this session. Before the start of the session I went to the
Evil Jedi Conclave GOP Legislative Kick-Off and after I had the chance to interview Senate President Brandon Shaffer. Senator Shaffer is a really nice guy and I think that is a big asset in leading the Senate. He also has a GIANT office – every other legislator is stacked up in various broom closets. Nice digs.
I started off by saying that I thought this had been one of the most productive legislative sessions ever and asked if that was true. Brandon thinks that is true, that "at the end of the day we got a lot done." He listed through a dozen or so bills that are substantial and move us forward (many covered below). He also brought up the major point that the legislature addressed a number of issues that had been put off for years. And stepping up to address those issues (like Higher Ed transfer, SB-191, PERA, etc.) was major.
I got the chance to interview Beverly Ingle, president of the Colorado Education Association today. The interview occurred because of SB-191 but actually discussed a lot more. She is a really nice person and was very gracious with her time. And so on to the interview.
My first question was sum up in one sentence what the CEA's goal is. Beverly had an immediate answer – "Great public schools for every child." This was something that came from NEA and she said it immediately resonated with everyone. She then went on to describe that a great school encompasses the community, the children, the teachers, the system – everything.
Senate Bill 191, the Tenure Reform Bill (officially the Great Teachers and Leaders Bill) is the hot bill in the legislature this session. And it is by far the most important bill for the future of our state long term. So I sat down with Senator Mike Johnston to get his take on the bill (I'm interviewing someone from the CEA next week on this).
If you are not using the army, I should like to borrow it for a short while – President Lincoln to General McClellan
To: President Obama, Democratic members of Congress
Re: Your reaction to the special election in Massachusetts
First off your initial reaction to this small defeat has been atrocious. You're quitting. And quitting is a hard habit to break. Yes you're talking about coming back and you'll do this and propose that and everything will be better. Bullshit. You're making excuses for running away from the fight. You're not fooling us and you're definitely not fooling the Republicans.
Science plays a very important part in our political sphere. The most obvious is the theory of global warming – do we invest trillions to address the problems it predicts? But it plays a part across the spectrum from food safety to medical research to... the list is endless.
The question I asked was please describe the difference between a scientific theory and a scientific fact. That understanding is core to understanding how science works. It's also a very general question that does not require any field specific knowledge. A theory is proven, and generally cannot be a fact (although Josh Penry did a great job of delineating how a theory, can become a fact as we learn what to look for and observe).
There was a fundraiser for Senator Bennet this evening at KC Becker's house in Boulder. I've never been to one of these so I went to see what is was like (and had permission from the campaign to blog about it).
It was snowing like crazy but if that reduced turnout, then it's a good thing because the house was bursting at the seams. It was very much the Boulder political elite – older, whiter, and extremely liberal – and I'm talking by Boulder standards. (Boulder may have a lot of positive attributes – but the lack of diversity by any measure is not one of them.)
Note: Dan Maes is running for the Republican nomination for Governor in Colorado. He is a long shot against Scott McInnis but has the support of the tea partiers.
Dan is not an experienced politician. It's not just that he hasn't run for office before, it's that he is new to the system. This is rare at this level. He also comes across as a credible competent candidate – so don't discount him because he's new to this. He lacks the political connections (and the funding resources that come with it) but he's got political skills and is resonating with the base.
(So let's talk Dan's odds as that's question #1 on everyone's mind. In a normal year his lack of connections and funding would make this a futile quest. But with the tea partiers having stronger support than the Republican party, and Dan having the enthusiastic support of those tea partiers, he's got a shot. The giant question is – will enough of them show up at the caucuses to put him way ahead of Scott McInnis? And as with anytime there is a large group that normally doesn't participate in the process – we won't know until we see the turnout & count the votes.)
On to the interview...
I think one absolutely critical requirement for our government to function is for our representatives to listen to the voters. To all of them. Without this ongoing feedback our elected officials become a body divorced from the people, swayed primarily by the few who have access to them. When that happens we lose something precious and vital about what makes America work.
It is true that we were initially designed as a Republic where the President and Senators were elected indirectly. But from the beginning the House was elected directly. And the assumption, and practice, from the beginning was that all of our elected officials were accessible to anyone. Through all of the 1800's most anybody could talk to the President if they wanted to.
The Senate primary is shaping up to be the most boring primary ever. In my interview with Senator Bennet he said nothing about Romanoff. In this interview with Speaker Romanoff the little he said about Bennet was because I pushed him hard on this question.
So why is Speaker Romanoff running? He wants to get in there and make substantive improvements. He talked at length about the need to find ways to accomplish and solve the problems we face.
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