Saturday, August 12, 2006

Catherine Ratliff

Just a quick drive by post this evening. I wanted to let my readers know of a new link I have added to my candidate sites blogroll for Catherine Ratliff who is running for State Senate in District 30.

From her website:
1. The biggest reason for running is that our state system is clean out of balance. Mainstream moderates of every party must vote collectively to shore up our system of checks and balances in the legislature, where one party dominates the House 51-19, the Senate 25-10.

Our American democratic system doesn’t work when we’re lopsided: loose cannons begin to roll. Legislators this year crashed up against individual rights and women’s rights; they imposed one sector of one religion on us. They voted for secrecy in legislative meetings; they tried to slash funding for our single best statewide reporter of lawmaking and the process. They voted against education, the means by which real democracy is maintained. Their extremism made South Dakota an object of national focus and negative attention.

2. I believe that the SD legislature’s most vital job is to invest in education. I believe that public education and religion don’t mix, although ethics is a proper subject to be integrated in the curriculum. However, ideas like intelligent design should be taught at home and in church, not in our public schools. We can look at Iraq and Iran and see what happens when religion rules government and public education – and women.

In accord with the high value we place on education, we should not casually close rural schools that are the heart of the community. Therefore, we oppose the one-size-fits-all recommendation of the Education Task Force established by the 2004 legislature and handpicked by the current governor, to close all of our schools with fewer than 200 students, one-third of South Dakota’s small-town schools.

3. To help individuals get on the right path to improve their lives and also the productivity and profitability of small business and industry, we need to emphasize career counseling in our schools and for adults in transition. The U.S. Census, Department of Labor and other government agencies provide ample reports of industrial and labor force trends, and identify jobs that will provide the best benefits for SD workers. We need to get that information to students of all ages who are contemplating further training and education.

When we're deciding whether to fund our schools, we need to look at our spending priorities. South Dakota's tax dollars support too many prisoners, prisons and jails. We need to invest in people “on the front end,” not when they get on a wrong path, resulting in an expensive waste of tax dollars, overburdened families of those in the correctional system, and lost productivity.

4. Most urgent after education is equity in health care. Our state government, doctors and insurance companies, working cooperatively, are capable of figuring out how to bring health care to 90,000 uninsured South Dakotans and under-insured families, and how to staff rural clinics and reduce turnover of medical providers. In the absence of national leadership, states are taking this on; they are working out innovative ways to provide universal health care within their boundaries. Their efforts provide a menu of models, a place to start when we begin formulating a system of health care. That system must include more reasonably priced pharmaceuticals. There is no excuse for a system that makes the uninsured and Medicare recipients the only persons required to pay full price for prescription drugs. We have to look at medical inflation, many times greater than growth of the economy and people's salaries. Health insurance premiums have skyrocketed with no end in sight. People worry about how they are going to take care of themselves and their families. Small businesses and schools are hard-pressed by the escalating cost of health insurance

5. I support a minimum wage that single parents can live on without having to take two and three jobs. But a stronger minimum wage is just a start. We need broad prosperity. We need good jobs so our kids have a choice to live here, so it’s not just a beautiful place to retire – although undeniably, this is a great place for retirees. South Dakota is also a great place to raise kids; we have cultural diversity, diversity in the environment and recreation, but we need good schools to draw families here, keep families here, diversity in the job market, more career paths, and career counseling.

6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12. Energy, the environment, recreation and tourism, logging, mining and ranching are industries with many overlapping issues. We don’t have to have a tug-of-war, winners and losers over these issues. Rather, we can and will approach the concerns of groups managing and competing for resources with creativity and respect, aiming for win-win solutions.

13. Relationships between state and tribal governments, between Caucasian and Lakota people must be supported because these intersect in South Dakota; and ancient wounds and rifts cannot begin to heal until we acknowledge ancient wrongs.

A more balanced legislature, a more respectful discourse – may not achieve the grand goal of greater prosperity, liberty and quality of life for all of our citizens; but a balanced legislature will not throw us off course. We will take back South Dakota, and we will have a state that makes us proud.
I would strongly recommend those living in District 30 drop by her site and see what she is all about.

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