As we receive our voter’s pamphlets and ballots, I’ve noticed an increase in negative campaigning against candidates for state office. For instance, in the race for state senate (Legislative District 1), the NSEA’s union president is again making false and misleading accusations against Northshore School Director Dawn McCravey, who is challenging the incumbent Rosemary McAuliffe. He attempts to obfuscate her strong leadership and dedication to our children’s education with statements that she is an “outlier” and takes a “My Way or the Highway” attitude. However, this is a desperate attempt to, once again, try and manipulate the voters from making well informed, independent decisions about the best, most qualified candidate to vote for – he used this failed strategy during Ms. McCravey’s previous campaign for re-election to the Northshore School Board.
So, let’s put aside all the negativity and look at what we need from a District 1 State Senator. Both the leading candidates, Dawn McCravey and Rosemary McAuliffe, are hard working and dedicated to public service. Both their strengths are in education. This is not an insignificant issue because educational needs and priorities take up about ½ of our state’s budget. And, at the school district level and in a district as large as Northshore, the fiscal needs run to the hundreds of millions of dollars. Therefore, we need a senator that understands and puts in place educational policies that are effective. In other words, have our children’s lives and education been improved by their terms in office? Do we have well qualified and adequate staff and teachers? Have the candidates demonstrated fiscal responsibility? One ongoing, highly debated and extremely costly issue in education has been high stakes testing – McAuliffe, as the Chair of the Senate Education Committee, supports and funded high stakes testing for the past decade, Dawn McCravey opposes it as a measure of student ability. More recently, there’s debate over the inclusion of charter schools as alternatives to regular public schools – Dawn McCravey supports charter schools as an option for students, McAuliffe does not support this option. As voters, these are some of the issues in education that we need to consider when making our senate selection.
Additionally, and just as importantly, District 1 constituents need to consider how our senator will help improve our quality of life. Are we happy with our current economic situation – do we see more economic opportunities for ourselves and our children, or have our opportunities dwindled? Is the state mindful of maintaining our natural resources, supporting our parks, and ensuring our waterways, air and soil stay unpolluted? These are a few of the issues we need to ask ourselves when deciding which candidate can we depend on to work towards the best interests of all of us.
As you can appreciate, selecting our district senator is a big responsibility. Therefore, I encourage everyone to carefully research the candidates, ask questions and seek answers, and make the best decision that you can make. We need to be in control of the future of our state and our lives, and we should not allow ourselves to be manipulated by individuals and groups broadcasting false and misleading information.
Lying (Lyng) Wong