Monday, December 14, 2009

Elizabeth Scott: A Voice for Education in Washington's 21st

Elizabeth Scott for Washington's 21st

According to her website, Elizabeth Scott is "an educator, a community leader and local budget watchdog, a school leader who helps students learn debate and speech skills and takes the time to deliver dictionaries to kids who need them. She is a loving wife and mother of three who says, 'Now is the time for the rest of us to step up and fix the mess in Olympia.'"

Perhaps this is why Scott has decided to run for office in Washington's 21st district. The aspiring State Representative has been endorsed by a number of influential people, including DiAnna Brannan, founder of the Christian Homeschool Network, radio host Kirby Wilbur, and Rob McKenna, Washington State's attorney general, as well as a number of Republican and Libertarian activists, local politicians, and Republican Women's groups.

Scott's professional background is heavy in education and her dedication to the issue is evident in her campaign. She has taught English as a Second Language to students in Illinois, South Carolina and Washington, as well as overseas in China and the United Arab Emirates. She taught at Edmonds Community College, North Seattle Community College, Lake Washington Technical College, and was a founding faculty member of Cascadia Community College. Scott also worked as a Reasearch and Policy Analyst at Evergreen Freedom Foundation in Olympia, Washington.

She attributes this experience to knowing the "critical role" schools and colleges play in "shaping the future," and claims she can be advocate for her district and the state's kids. Scott says education can be improved in a number of ways,

"...reward good teachers, give principals freedom and flexibility, and stop micromanaging from Olympia if we attach the money to the student and allow competition do its miraculous work from within the system. I will work to raise academic standards by returning to an emphasis on math and reading so our students will be able to meet basic federal requirements, and by allowing principals and teachers to take a creative approach in order to help their students reach these standards."

But she isn't a single-issue candidate. Scott is a big proponent of individual rights and liberty. As a member of the National Rifle Association, Scott says she will do what it takes to see to it that the Second Amendment is upheld. She will also be a strong defender of property rights, working to remove excess tax and regulation. She is for smaller government with less spending at both the state and federal levels, and has spoken at a number of Tea Parties over the last year.

So what other credentials does Scott bring to the table? She's been very active in her community over the years; she's been a member of the Edmonds Citizens' Levy Review Committee, where she worked to avoid tax increases. She's been a member of the Evergreen Republican Women's Club since 2004 and even served as the Outreach Chair from 2005-2006. She has also volunteered with local middle school and high school students in a number of capacities.

As mentioned above, Scott is a member of the N.R.A. and is currently learning marksmanship. A self-described "Midwest farm girl," she is also a member of the Washington State Farm Bureau, the Snohomish County Chapter of the Citizens' Alliance for Property Rights, and Evergreen Freedom Foundation.

Scott has a B.A. in Linguistics with a minor in Literature from Seattle Pacific University. She also holds a M.A. in Teaching English as a Foreign Language from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, Illinois. She and her husband Paul are the parents of three children and are very active in their church.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

One of the First Female Senators, Paula Hawkins, Dies at 82

Paula Hawkins, One of the First Female Senators, Dies

Paula Hawkins, the first female to be elected to the United States Senate in her own right, died on Friday. She was 82 years old. Hawkins was also the first and only female elected to the Senate from Florida and according to the Orlando Sentinel, she fought hard to get through the "good ol' boys" club."

She was working as a Republican committeewoman when she decided to run for the Public Service Commission in 1972. She campaigned as a populist and a consumer advocate, and won a second term in 1976. In 1974 she ran unsuccessfully for the United States Senate -the seat was won by Jack Eckerd- and in 1978, Eckerd ran unsuccessfully for governor, with Hawkins under him as Lieutenant Governor on the Republican ticket. In 1980, she beat out Democrat Bill Gunter with 52% of the vote, finally earning herself a spot in the United States Senate. She served only one term.

"Senator Paula Hawkins broke the glass ceiling for women like me to be able to pursue public service at the highest levels. She blazed a trail by winning statewide office at a time when being an elected Republican woman wasn't very common in the Sunshine State, needless to say in the United States Senate," Florida State Senator and gubernatorial candidate Paula Dockery told the Orlando Sentinel.

While Senator Hawkins didn't enjoy being called a feminist, she considered herself a champion of children's and women's rights. She backed legislation that would help homemakers get jobs upon becoming widowed or divorced and wanted to equalize pension benefits for women by considering the years they spent raising children. She fought for tax breaks on child care expenses and to get day care for children of Senate employees. She also fought hard against drugs and child abuse, disclosing that she had been molested as a child, while speaking at the Third National Conference on Sexual Victimization. This led to her penning a book in 1986, Children at Risk, My Fight Against Child Abuse: A Personal Story and a Public Plea.

She was pro-life and opposed abortion-on-demand, as well as the Equal Rights Amendment. She also refused to join the Congressional Woman's Caucus because she thought women's issues were "family issues" and concerned more than just women. She as quoted as saying, ""I did not like the Equal Rights Amendment. I predicted that it would bring about the downfall of the father's responsibility to support the family."

Hawkins also served as the Vice President of Air Florida from 1979-1980 and director of the Rural Telephone Bank Board from 1972-1978. In 1988, she was named the director of Philip Crosby Associates, a consulting company started by Winter Park businessman and author, Philip B. Crosby. In 1997, she joined the board of Nu Skin Enterprises. Nu Skin Enterprises is a direct selling company that sells cosmetics, nutritional supplements and technology services.

Hawkins was born on January 24, 1927 in Salt Lake City, Utah, and grew up in Utah and Georgia. She was married to Gene Hawkins and they had three children, Genean, Kevin, and Kelly Ann. She attended Utah State University and was a member of the Church of Latter Day Saints.

It is reported that Hawkins died in her home in Winter Park, Florida, after complications from a fall. She had also recently suffered a stroke. Florida Governor Charlie Crist ordered all flags lowered to half-staff and Dean Cannon, Florida House Speaker-designate, held a moment of silence on Friday.