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Letter: Job creation, education priorities for legislator

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Note: The statements, views, and opinions contained in this letter to the editor are those of the author and are not endorsed by, nor do they necessarily reflect, the opinions of Daily Journal.

To the editor:

Mike Pence was sworn in earlier this month as the 50th governor of Indiana and recently delivered his State of the State address. The governor’s speech highlighted issues that are of the utmost importance to the Legislature: jobs, education and fiscal integrity.

Pence echoed a mission I firmly believe in: job creation is our first priority. We must focus on creating an environment that facilitates job growth in an effort to get our economy moving. Indiana has established itself as a leader in private sector job creation, and, as Pence pointed out, it stems from being one of only nine states that have a triple-A credit rating.

But Indiana cannot succeed in the marketplace if we do not succeed in the classroom. That is why we will concentrate on promoting early childhood education and expanding education opportunities for Hoosier families. Providing students with science, technology, engineering and math skills will equip them with the tools necessary to thrive in the ever-expanding global marketplace.

Pence discussed the importance of having the tools in place for Hoosier students to succeed. In the Committee on Education, we are considering House Bill 1005. This bill reduces remedial needs of high school graduates, so that when they enter post-secondary education, they are fully equipped with the ability and know-how to flourish.

It also improves standards for

dual-credit courses by requiring students to receive a C or better in order to obtain college credit.

Lastly, it reduces graduation waiver rates by prohibiting any student that receives a general diploma waiver from receiving state financial aid until they pass a college and career readiness assessment and the secondary school official determines that the student does not need additional remediation or instruction.

Pence recognizes that the time has come to make career, technical and vocational education a priority. This is an initiative that I fully support. House Speaker Brian Bosma introduced House Bill 1002 to create an Indiana Career Council, designed to coordinate between multiple participants in the state’s educational, job skills and career training systems. I firmly believe that career and technical education can provide our students with a pathway to success.

Nearly one-third of Indiana’s workforce lacks even the most basic skills to thrive in today’s economy. Members of the ICC will be charged with aligning the education skills and training provided by Indiana’s educational, job skills and career training systems with the existing and projected needs of the state’s job market.

All of the initiatives set forth by the governor and the legislature have to fit within the framework of our state’s biennial budget. Passing an honestly balanced budget is essential to growing our economy and establishing the conditions for continual progress. Pence stressed the importance of living within our means while protecting Hoosier taxpayers.

The governor’s budget also makes a clear commitment to Hoosiers who have served their nation in uniform. He set a goal to require 3 percent of all state contracts come from veteran-owned businesses. These men and women have selflessly served our country and state to defend our most cherished freedoms and have the skills to strengthen Indiana. We can do more to show them we care.

As the 2013 legislative session continues to progress, I plan to keep you updated on key issues. If you have any questions, comments or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me at 317-232-9620 or by email at h58@iga.in.gov. I look forward to receiving your input.

Rep. Woody Burton

Indiana House of Representatives

District 58

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