Thursday, December 08, 2005

Huckabee has earned clout on highways, higher ed initiatives

I believe the highways in Arkansas have been dramatically improved since the first bond issue. The Federal government is in debt at incredible levels and they may be unable to provide the same dollars they provide today. It's unlikely to be the end of Federal highway money because of the politics of transportation and the perception by most motorists that good roads are essential to a good quality of life for Americans. However, the assumption that Federal dollars will always be available for providing for transportation needs can change instantly with the fallout of a 2006 election cycle leaving all fixed ideas of the future in doubt. Opponents of the highway initiative all seem to have hidden agendas at stake and their characterization of the result of a yes vote is ridiculous at best. Huckabee, with all the good which has been accomplished during his term, deserves to lead Arkansans to victory with a passage of the bond initiative. Concerning highways, Huckabee has proven himself as a trustworthy steward of public finance instruments and his advocacy should clinch approval by the voters of Arkansas.

Granted, I'm positing nothing more than a gut feeling as a rationale for passage of both initiatives. I'm no great fan of Huckabee. I voted for Mrs. Claus in the last election. I have to be fair in assessing his influence on state government and his legacy will have some dings, but overall, he served us well. We owe it to our outgoing governor for his faith in the people of Arkansas that ultimately the correct path can be agreed upon despite the occasional disagreement. Our higher education institutions need to maintain,upgrade, or build new facilities and the money cannot always be raised through the normal means at the disposal of universities. Two year institutions rarely have the capacity to raise money like UA, UCA, UALR, or ASU. Smaller universities have some of the same problems as two year colleges raising money. Upgrading higher ed and vocational ed will make it possible for corporations to feel confident about locating jobs that pay excellent wages in our beloved state.

I would like to eventually see universal access to an education at a two year college in Arkansas so our work force can be trained adequately as industry continues to relocate to the Sun Belt from the traditional heavily industrialized regions. If our people are qualified to work at the best jobs, our state will naturally benefit. High school cannot fully prepare all students for life in society, so legitimate career training can help elevate kids who otherwise would have seen the best years of their life end at high school graduation.

Vote "YES" to each initiative for the benefit of all Arkansans.


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