Questions about how the Rory Reid campaign would begin to conduct itself after the primary election have been repeatedly asked — and now answered, at least in part.
This morning, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate came out of his corner swinging. The issue? The state of education in the Silver State.
Rory kicked off his speech making the connection between strong schools and a strong and vibrant economy. He then suggested that he has a plan (successful in other places its been tried) to save the state $220 million which would then be reinvested in systemic improvements. And he then went after Brian Sandoval on four of his suggested reforms (all pulled from Sandoval’s website).
As in the past, Rory referred to education vouchers as a “drain” on the system. Using catch words like “innovate,” “incentives,” and accountability, Rory seemed to hint at support for empowerment schools but does not expressly use that term.
Notably, near the end of the speech, Rory said he has no plans to change the current tax system. So much for a conversation about broadening the tax base, at least until November 3.
Here’s the full text of the speech from the press conference at Booker Elementary School in Las Vegas this morning:
Good morning. Thank you all for being here today.
And thank you Marybel, for that introduction and for your support. You’ve been on the front lines on state issues. You know the challenges ahead. What impresses me most, though, is that you’re putting partisanship aside – and putting Nevada first.
That’s a refreshing approach that’s been missing in the governor’s office for way…too…long.
And because of it, we find Nevada’s schools ranked last in the nation. And we find Nevada’s economy struggling to weather this national recession.
That means finally having a governor who understands the connection between strong schools and a stronger economy.
And when I say “connection” – let me be very clear:
Without wings, an airplane doesn’t get off the ground. Without wheels, a car doesn’t head down the road.
And without strong schools, our economy will…not…grow.
Not the way it ought to in the short term. Not the way it needs to for the long haul.
As a lifelong Nevadan, I get the connection between strong schools and a stronger economy. I’m a product of Nevada’s public schools and Cindy and I are proud parents of children in Nevada’s public schools.
And you will see me acting on that connection between strong schools and a stronger economy every single day I serve as governor.
Because we will never have a first-rate economy if we continue to accept second-rate schools.
Businesses will not come to Nevada if we aren’t producing the workforce they need. Executives and workers will not come to Nevada if we don’t provide good schools for their children.
That’s exactly why I released a detailed education plan back in March.
My plan will transform education in our state. I know that’s a bold claim – but it’s a truly bold plan.
It gets bureaucracy out of the way. It empowers teachers and principals to innovate. The plan provides incentives for performance, and accountability for success.
Like I said… bold stuff.
And, so, lots of people have rightly said, “This is a great plan, but how are you going to pay for it?”
Well, today, I’m here to tell you how.
My EDGE plan is about restructuring the way we run, administer and govern schools in Nevada.
When similar fundamental changes have been implemented in places like Oakland, New York City, and Boston, they have reduced administrative costs by 10-20%. If we save just 10% here in Nevada, we will realize savings of $220 million a year that we can reinvest in our classrooms.
That’s how we pay for the proposals I’ve made, like better training for teachers and principals, 21st Century technology for our schools, and smarter testing methods to hold districts, schools, and teachers accountable.
But as you can see from the sheet being distributed, all the investments I’ve proposed cost less than the $220 million we can expect to save.
With our whole economic future riding on educational success, this election must be about building the bridge between strong schools to a stronger economy.
That’s my approach – presented in detail, and backed with the strength of my convictions.
Unfortunately, my opponent – Brian Sandoval – has a very different approach. You can read all about it on Brian Sandoval’s website.
• Brian Sandoval proposes slashing teacher salaries by 20% or laying off more than 5,000 teachers.
• He proposes diverting $110 million from class-size reduction programs, particularly targeting 7- and 8-year-olds in Clark County.
• He pushes a voucher program that would drain millions from our public schools and wouldn’t even begin to cover tuition for the average private school.
• And he doesn’t stop with K-12. Brian calls for a 12% cut to faculty and staff at our colleges and universities – that’s more than 750 professor and staff jobs lost.
Brian, the rest of us know this is no way to build Nevada’s future.
Just like Jim Gibbons, Brian Sandoval wants to balance the budget on the backs of our children, jeopardizing our future, and I won’t stand for it.
So that’s what’s at stake, and I’m 100-percent committed to the fight.
Before I close, however, let me address another issue that I know many of you are rightly concerned with – the looming state budget shortfall.
The bottom line is that I’m convinced we can make our budget work by living within our means, focusing on smart investments in education, and growing our economy. We can do this without changing our current tax system. And I will set out my own specific ideas on dealing with the budget crisis in the coming weeks.
What I won’t do is offer a half-baked proposal that balances the budget by gutting our most important investment – our schools.
Over the coming months, there will be many attempts from my opponent and his allies to divert Nevadans from the real issues facing the state. They’ll try the same old partisan attacks and name-calling… Anything to cover up the fact that Brian Sandoval’s agenda would drive this state in exactly the wrong direction.
This year, we will not let them get away with it.
Because as your governor, I will stand up to anyone who shortchanges education and our economic future. I will never give up on our kids or their potential. I will never give up on our schools or Nevada’s economic future.
I am the one candidate committed to building the bridge between strong schools and a stronger economy. Brian Sandoval is determined to tear it down.
That’s the choice in this election. That’s what’s at stake.
Thank you for being here today, and I’ll look forward to talking with members of the press one-on-one.
I’ll have the sheet that was distributed at the press conference for you soon, Dear Readers, and will post as an update here.
I’ll also be talking with Rory Reid about these and other issues this afternoon, and will write a separate post at that time.