In a recent television interview, Rep. Jim Hansen demonstrated his trademark capacity for using misrepresentations of fact in a sweeping and vicious attack on an organization that does not see fit to support him. His allegations about the National Education Association (NEA) are untrue and irresponsible. Perhaps if Hansen had taken the time, just once in 14 years, to talk with representatives of either the UEA or DEA, the state and local affiliates which represent 80 percent of his teacher constituents, he would not be so misinformed about what the NEA does and does not support.
What Hansen is really upset about is the "F" he received from both the NEA and UEA because of his record on education-related votes. Considering that Rep. Karen Shepherd earned a 90 percent rating, and even Rep. Bill Orton, who votes with Hansen on most issues, received a 60 percent, one would have to work pretty hard to earn a 0 percent.But work hard he has. He has voted against funding for Chapter 1 grants, Head Start, grants for anti-drug education programs and against a bill to promote math and science education in elementary schools. Most recently, Hansen voted against the Goals 2000 bill, which was supported by Gov. Mike Leavitt and will bring $4 million of new revenue into our state for local and state programs. He even voted for a failed amendment to that bill that would have removed 25 percent of those funds and given them to private schools that only serve 3 percent of our students.
When one considers Hansen's voting record together with his recent attack on the NEA, the conclusion is painfully evident. Hansen has now adopted both the mindset and the rhetoric of the radical right groups that have been systematically attacking and attempting to destroy public education. We need a representative in Congress who will support and defend public education rather than join forces with those extremists who seek its destruction.
President, Davis Education Association