As teachers everywhere know, we need to instill a love of learning in our children that will last a lifetime. Education is not something finite that can be easily measured. Our schools should not be focused on teaching to the test but instead inspiring and working to instill curiosity, creativity, intrigue, and critical thinking in our students. We can never hope to change our nation’s future unless we continue to educate our populace, to educate the dreamers, the artists, the creators and inventors, as well as a skilled workforce.  The best possible investment for the future is a strong public education system and I am dedicated to continuing that investment.

I myself am a product of that investment and am incredibly thankful to this town for providing me with a top-notch education. Our excellent teachers at BHS instilled in me a constant sense of wonder and intrigue, which has shaped me into the woman I am today, and I want to work hard to make sure my children and grandchildren have the same opportunities. I would not be here today if it were not for public education. Now it’s my turn to give back, to make a difference and to serve this community. I am running first and foremost to serve my hometown but the focus of my campaign is education.

I believe that education is a RIGHT not a privilege. Our children should all have equal educational opportunities regardless of their socioeconomic status or inherent intellectual ability.

We need to continue to excel by improving our current offerings and challenge each student to find his or her path through a variety of educational settings. But to do that we need to make sure we have consistent revenues. I will work with the state and community to find creative solutions to maintain the funding of our schools so we can continue to have strong educational offerings.  I will work towards the full 55% funding because education should be one of the State’s highest priorities.  But it is a complicated issue that requires careful consideration and collaboration between the local school district, education committee and appropriations committee.

We should be strengthening our magnet schools like the exemplary Maine School of Science and Mathematics. We should be expanding educational settings that focus on hands on work rather than teaching to the test. Not everyone learns the same. We must educate the whole child; the hands, the bodies and the hearts as well as the minds.

While I disagree with the majority of LePage’s education agenda I do agree with his initiative to increase vocational training. We need to be investing in programs that train our students to step into the workplace. Here in Brunswick we have a strong vocational school and we should continue to strengthen it and expand its offerings.

We also need to provide early education opportunities. Our current governor slashed our HEADSTART program, which puts our students at a disadvantage. Early childhood education isn’t just beneficial to our students; it’s beneficially to our budget. For every $1 we invest in early childhood education down the road the state receives $16 in savings.

Maine has historically been at the top of the nation in high school graduates, but where we have failed our students is in helping them get a college degree. The price of college has inflated at such a rapid rate that a traditional 4-year college program is financially unachievable for the majority of Mainers. The best indicator of this trend is the explosion of growth at our community college. SMCC has seen a 40% rate of growth while UMO has stalled and is currently stagnant in enrollment figures. Our community colleges provide students of all ages with an accessible and affordable option to earn their college degree. Yet, they are at capacity and struggling to meet the demands. We need to fund and expand our community college system and also work to revitalize our University of Maine system.

Learning doesn’t stop at the school door. To meet the demands of the 21st century workplace, we must continue to train and retrain our workforce. Last year over 4,200 jobs in Maine remained vacant due to a lack of skilled laborers. We are in desperate need of jobs and should be working hard to fill the jobs that already exist. We need to foster and increase continuing education offerings for all workers. We need to re tool the workforce.

My goal if elected would be to serve on the Joint Standing Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs. I will be a strong voice advocating for Brunswick schools and the full 55% funding we deserve. I am also the only candidate in the race who has been endorsed by the Maine Education Association. As your next State Representative I want to work together with the Brunswick School Board and the community to make sure we keep our local schools strong.

We are facing a lot of crucial decisions both federally and locally. Due to this recession we have to be frugal and mindful of where we invest our tax revenue. I firmly believe that the only way to turn our economy around is by investing in education.