It’s a hundred miles from here to Jefferson City. During a drive between City Hall and the State Capitol, I can return a dozen phone calls (more or less reliably, depending on the dead spots), sort through a folder of memos, and have just enough time left over to read the Political Eye column in the St. Louis American.
I was in Jeff City on Monday to lobby legislators on a wide variety of issues facing the City. Mostly, I spoke about education.
A growing number of state lawmakers - both Democrats and Republicans - recognize that the City is on its way back. A few do not. I told all of them - fans and doubters - that the key to the City’s renaissance is to provide more and better educational choices for families. And, I told them that our children can learn and will be productive citizens - if we give teachers and parents the tools they need.
I focused on two areas: state funding for SLPS schools and charter schools.
The school funding debate is dividing some urban/suburban legislators from some rural legislators. At least yesterday, I was confident that many lawmakers and Gov. Matt Blunt are working to ensure that St. Louis is treated fairly in the final compromise. But, of course, the only important bill is the one on the table at the final bell on Friday.
I also lobbied lawmakers to pass legislation to allow us to create more quality charter schools in the City of St. Louis. Charter schools are certainly not fool-proof. Several current charter schools have failed children/parents/backers/employees badly. But, I am supporting two new charter schools in South St. Louis and I would like to see a new workforce charter school open Downtown.
You know, you don’t have to be the Mayor - or have a suite of rooms in Hot Springs, Arkansas - to lobby for the City. Before Friday, please contact your state senator and rep and ask them to support more quality educational choices for City families.