Investing in public education is key to a healthy Montana economy

Havre Daily News, September 21, 2018

Fall has always been my favorite time of year. The crispness of the air, football season, big game hunting and a fresh start to the school year. This year is no exception. Especially as my daughter begins her freshman year of college in the Montana University System, it’s important to reflect on the role that education plays in our lives and in society.

As a product myself of Montana’s K-12 public education system and as a first-generation graduate of the Montana University System, I know firsthand how critical education is to career readiness, critical thinking and being an active, engaged community member. Like the nearly 40,000 students currently enrolled in Montana’s public colleges and universities, I was fortunate to receive a top-notch education right here under the Big Sky.

My tuition was covered through savings, scholarships, part-time work, summer employment, Pell grants and the generosity of the residents of Montana, who picked up a good amount of the cost for me and other state residents to attend college. It was always viewed as a good deal — the state of Montana would invest in its young people, and by doing so would create tomorrow’s workforce. It’s important for that tradition to continue, and properly supporting our university system will be a key priority for me as your state Senator, just as I have done as a member of the Montana Board of Regents.

The importance of the value of public education at every level in our state cannot be overstated. Regardless of income status, where you live or your ethnic background, Montana’s public education system gives everyone a fair shot at success.

By investing properly in our education system, the State of Montana is helping the private sector grow by creating an educated workforce. We’re also helping individuals obtain skills that will give them a better chance at personal and career success. State funding for K-12 education also demonstrates a genuine commitment by state government to partner with local communities and share the responsibility to educate our sons and daughters, who will end up serving as the leaders of tomorrow.

If elected to the state Senate, I look forward to being a strong advocate for the proper funding of our public education system in Montana. Our economy and our future depend on it.