Tonight I attended the candidate forum for House District 48 (Rock Springs) with candidates Representative Mark Baker (R) and Joe Bartuto (D). I was pleased that my question concerning the AG’s recent statement on parental right to opt out of testing was selected. I asked, “What is your stance on parental rights and education and your opinion concerning the Attorney General’s statement on opting out of standardized testing?” Baker was quick to point out that parents have the right to direct the education of their children and believes that parents have the right to opt out. He was familiar with the AG’s statement and says he disagrees with it. Barbuto was not familiar with the AG’s statement but stated he wants less testing so that teachers can “just teach”. I found Barbuto’s statement to be rather ironic given the fact that he clearly supports the Common Core State Standards. He made statements in rebuttal to Baker’s comments that Common Core is clearly a top down approach to education and that parents and teachers were left out of the process. Barbuto said, “Common Core is not a federal take over of education and states had input.” I would LOVE to see the proof that Barbuto has that Wyoming was involved or any other state for that matter.
Mark Baker made it clear that it only takes a little research to know the facts on how Common Core was brought to our state and mentioned that there were experts in attendance that would be happy to discuss it. Barbuto mocked this and said he hoped that Baker meant all the teachers in attendance. What I have observed is that teachers and parents claim Wyoming had input because they have been TOLD they had input, NOT due to actually participating in the creation of them. Public comment period does not equate true input or being “state led”. I was teaching in the public school system and I had NO notice, no opportunity, no request to comment on something that would have a major impact on my career. The only notice I had was when training was available on the newly adopted standards. Again, were is the proof made by those still pushing the “state led” talking point? How is it state led when Bill Gates says he is funding CCSS so that he will have a uniform base of customers, after all the curriculum and testing is aligned? I’d like to see evidence of states actually collaborating to create standards!
Off of my rant…
This is WHY you need to support Mark Baker! Not only is he on the right side of the Common Core fight and education – he is a TRUE conservative that will protect our freedoms. Please take a moment to read his opening and closing statements from tonight’s forum.
“I would like to thank the individuals and organizations involved for the opportunity to present the differences between my opponent and me. I would also like to thank those individuals that are participating in the crowd here and listening live on the radio. And thank the millions in our military and law enforcement that serve every day to ensure we have free speech.
I am running for re-election because I believe that principles of government must be fought for and protected. Our lifestyle and legacy are critical. I believe I share common principles with the majority of house district 48.
I was raised and went to school here in Rock Springs. I graduated from Rock Springs High and continued onto WWCC where I received two associate’s degrees. While there I served as a senator and the student body president. I then continued my education in Laramie at the University of Wyoming where I graduated with a Bachelor’s of Arts.
My life experience is broad. I have owned four small businesses. Contrary to Hilary Clinton’s recent statements, businesses do create jobs and as a legislator I have fought hard for continuing an atmosphere where the free market can prosper. As a business owner, I have created jobs. I am convinced the free market is the solution to many of our economic troubles.
I have been a part of various organizations in our community. I spent three years as a volunteer firefighter and worked as a substitute teacher. During the past decade, I have driven truck commercially including delivering hazardous materials in the oil field. I have real life experience with the oil and gas industries and I will continue to fight for an environment that allows our industries to flourish despite President Obama’s attempt to hamper our responsible growth.
As legislators, every vote we cast counts and is subject to criticism. That’s why I feel it is important to disclose that in 2008 and 2012 I did not vote for President Obama. In 2016, I will not vote for Hilary Clinton. Many of the policies we will discuss tonight are linked to the failed policies of our current president. He has continued to force a top down, cookie cutter approach. It is troubling that a federal judge or an appointed administrative position tells us how to manage wolves, grizzly bears, the city boundaries of Riverton, how to define marriage. We continue to see legislation that, “we have to pass to know what is in it”. We need strong voices in Cheyenne that will stand for what is right in the face of political correctness. We cannot elect officials that will just go along to get along. We must support individuals that will stand up on principle and will fight for what is right. There is much more to legislating than glad handing at evening cocktail events and entertaining. Our legislators make decisions that affect all aspects of our lives.
There are fundamental differences between us on policy, experience, morals and approach. As the evening progresses, I know these differences will be evident. And I am looking forward to discussing the issues and taking questions.
My opponent has spent the campaign repeating rhetoric that is strikingly similar to many of the democrat candidates throughout the state. He has hired consultants to design his materials and make phone calls for him and sent other people knocking on the doors of constituents. During this campaign, one theme remains true. My opponent has four sessions of votes that do not reflect the political views of the majority of people in this district.
Let me take a moment and share one legislative ranking system. The Wyoming Liberty Group indexes legislators every year. After each session the group takes every bill and analysis it as to whether it is liberty friendly, unfriendly or neutral. Liberty can be defined as “freedom from unjust government.” Based on the analysis they rank legislators by assigning them a number with 1 being the most Liberty friendly legislator. During my opponent’s last two years he ranked 58th and 60th out of 61. In the last two years, I ranked 13th and 7th, illustrating one more difference between us.
During the session, I would spend evenings alone in the capitol, revising and timing my presentations so that the people of this district would receive the most benefit from the time I spent on the floor. I spent hours answering emails and phone calls from my constituents. I studied bills, and actively involved myself in committee meetings. My opponent sponsored bills, then didn’t show up to present them in committee.
There are fundamental differences between us on policy, experience, morals and approach and only a few of them have been discussed tonight. If you would like more information about me or this campaign, please contact me at 371-5113 or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/WyoRep48.