Bolling: Changes essential for state
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Virginia is a great place to live and work, but changes must be made to ensure its continued success.
That was among the messages delivered yesterday by Virginia Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling at a town-hall-style meeting at Salem Church Library in Spotsylvania County.
Forbes magazine recently named Virginia as the best state for business, Bolling pointed out. That assessment was based on business costs, economic climate, growth prospects, labor, quality of life and regulatory environment.
"Virginia is a great place to live, work and raise a family," Bolling said.
But the lieutenant governor, who was in Spotsylvania as part of a statewide "idea-raising" tour, told the roughly 40 people gathered that the state faces challenges.
Virginia's education system was among the topics that consumed much of the 90-minute discussion yesterday morning.
Bolling noted that the state has a solid public school system, but he said it needs to better prepare students to compete in an increasingly competitive global marketplace. He said many nations are preparing students more effectively.
Bolling addressed a number of ideas to change this. Among them were:
Spend more money in the classroom and less on central administrative offices.
Provide incentives to teachers in high-demand subjects such as math and science.
Increase the number of college-level courses in high schools.
Steer some students toward technical education to give them marketable skills.
Give students in failing school districts the option of private education.
Other topics discussed included fixing the state's Medicaid system, cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay, working on the gang problem, providing funding for mental health treatment, finishing transportation projects on time, rising health insurance costs and enforcing immigration laws.
Running as a Republican, Bolling was elected lieutenant governor Nov. 8, 2005. He stressed bipartisanship at the meeting.
Bolling has been holding town-hall meetings across the state since April. He said yesterday's meeting was about his 34th, and he plans to do about 100 in total. The Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce helped put on the meeting.
Bolling said he undertook the "100 Ideas for the Future of Virginia" initiative to give residents the chance to offer their opinions about the state's needs.
"Not all knowledge rests in Washington, D.C., or Richmond," Bolling said. "The people of Virginia have good ideas."
For more information on the 100-ideas tour or to share an idea, visit 100Ideas VA.com.
For additional information contact Randy Marcus at 804-786-2078 or 804-814-7117 (cell) or firstname.lastname@example.org.