Education reform on agenda for McKenna

LEWISTON, ID - Rob McKenna, the Republican candidate for Governor of Washington, is in several Southeastern Washington communities including Clarkston and Pullman this weekend to meet with local constituents.

He stopped by Alive After Five on Thursday and attended a luncheon Friday afternoon because he said leaving Olympia helps him understand the issues that are important to his constituents.

"That's what I need to do," said McKenna. "To understand how people are being affected by state government and what we need to do differently and better to serve them."

He sat and talked with folks, answering questions about what he would do if elected.

"I heard a lot of concerns about everyday practical issues ranging from education from people's livelihoods," said McKenna.

Education reform is a key issue for McKenna in the upcoming election is. He's been endorsed by the organization Stand For Children and he stresses how important education reform is for the state of Washington.

"It's bipartisan," said McKenna. "It's statewide and it's based on what we all know we need to do. Which is to fund our schools adequately and to reform and innovate our schools."

He said if he was elected he would limit growth in many areas of state government in order to funnel money into the education system.

"We have one of the highest dropout rates in America, we have one of the largest growing achievement gaps in America," said McKenna. "Which is the gap in test scores between low income kids and the rest of the kids. We're falling farther and farther behind other states."

Unfortunately not all organizations are standing by his plan. The League of Education Voters recently decided not to endorse either candidate in the Governor's Race. CEO of the LEV Chris Korsmo said neither candidate offered a "sustainable" and ample plan.

"Unfortunately that organization favors large tax increases and I just don't support that," said McKenna. "I know the voters don't support higher taxes at a time when the economy, when our economy is really struggling."

"The organization doesn't support high tax increases," said Korsmo. "What we support is looking at all the possible tools available to us for raising the kind of money it takes to run a world class system."

McKenna said he has the support of the education reform community.

"We have got to make investments in a reformed and innovative education system so our children have the future that we need them to have and they need to have for themselves," said McKenna.

McKenna said he will be in the area for the remainder of the weekend.

McKenna is running against Jay Inslee, the democratic candidate, this November.