It seems that Senator Dave Lewis has changed a bit since 2006. Listening to his work on the Senate Finance Committee this Saturday, leading the charge to increase tuition and cut education services across the state, I saw that he was no longer the person we first elected, a moderate voice in the Republican Party who knew education needed to be funded adequately.
This morning I came across a piece written by the Senator that shows the difference. What did he write in 2006?
Lewis believed in easy access for two years of education after high school:
Properly funding K-12 education is just part of the task. What if Montana established a program to assure that every qualified citizen of the state could have easier access to up to two years of additional education after they have concluded high school or obtained a GED. This could be a technical or first two year of college type of training. It could be obtained on campus or over the inter net as long as it was provided by a Montana institution of higher education. Adequate progress would have to be proven for the person to continue to receive assistance, and that would be verified prior to payment
Lewis advocated decreased college tuition:
John Mercer has recently proposed lowering College Tuition by 10%. Why not focus on the first two years and lower tuition by a larger amount to get students in to the system? Maybe there is a better way to do it but I think that we are both on the same track.
Why did he propose all of this? Because in 2006, Senator Lewis knew that a well-educated Montana was critical to our economic future:
What an economic boon it would be to provide potential employers with well trained employees and the ability to get added training for their work force. A well trained work force will earn more and help to provide the resources needed to help with the support of our aging population as well. We need a unified K-16 education system designed to turn out people educated to earn a living in a competitive world.
We need to do something dramatic to retain our ability to compete with the rest of the world. A well trained work force is our ace in the hole. We cannot afford to miss the opportunity to begin creating that asset.
Where have you gone, Senator Lewis?