As the coming election draws ever nearer, many minds are so occupied by the national dilemma that local contests are passed over in our thinking until the last minute. With this in mind I would like to share with my friends and former students my concerns regarding the race for the West Virginia House of Delegates.
As a long time educator (45 years total), my heart will always be yearning for what’s best for our most precious resource – our youth. This was my firm belief when I first entered my classroom full of wide eyed seventh graders in 1960 and has remained so for all these years.
I watch closely the actions of the state Legislature, especially those laws governing public education. They, along with the State Board of Education (appointed by the governor), determine almost every move made by your local school board.
The needs of our Southern Mountain counties, especially as regards the school calendar, are very different from the rest of the state. For that reason I urge you to seriously consider voting for George “Boogie” Ambler and Stephen Baldwin to serve as our delegates. They both have a thorough understanding of our schools’ needs.
My friend ‘’Boogie” is a teacher. He has been on the “front lines” for many years. He knows the challenges of the 180 day attendance mandate for us and our neighboring mountain folks and worked diligently during the last session to reach a compromise, sometimes having to be in opposition to the leadership of his own party. I know this because I had several phone conversations with him during that time. He stood his ground (to no avail) but he understands this important issue as he understands many others such as the dreaded unfunded mandates handed down so often from above.
I first knew Stephen Baldwin when he was a student at GEHS and I served on the county school board. After a distinguished college career, he came home; was elected to the county school board, and is the well loved pastor of the Ronceverte Presbyterian Church. His term on the board was a ‘’baptism by fire” in the realization that local boards are at the mercy of the state. He bravely decided to run for the office of delegates where these decisions are made and I have no doubt that he, like “Boogie” will not hesitate to let his voice be heard and will not succumb to those who pressure him to do otherwise.
Please give these two warriors for education great consideration as you cast your ballots on November 8. I believe in both of them.
White Sulphur Springs
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