Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Porter says he will fix education system

Given eight years as Georgia's governor, state House minority leader DuBose Porter promised Columbia County Democrats, he could elevate Georgia from the bottom 40s in national education rankings to the top 20.

The gubernatorial candidate and Dublin-based newspaper publisher said in a speech Monday at the Evans Government Center that Georgia's governor needs the "political will" to undo seven years of damage to public education by Republican leaders.

Since Republicans took control of the state, Mr. Porter said, state funding for education has been cut by $2 billion.

He also chastised Gov. Sonny Perdue for increasing classroom sizes.

"It will take the political will to say we're going to do something in early grades ... and give our teachers the time to do it," he said.

To counteract what he called another Republican blunder, Mr. Porter said he wants to expand the number of students eligible for HOPE scholarships.

Other items on the 27-year veteran lawmaker's political agenda included improving Atlanta's mass transit system, improving public safety by hiring more state troopers and developing a state water plan based on watershed assessments and not political motivations.

Mr. Porter was the third Democratic gubernatorial candidate in four days to appear at meetings sponsored by Columbia County Democrats.

On Friday, Attorney General Thurbert Baker and David Poythress, a former commander of the Georgia Army and Air National Guard, spoke to area Democrats about their political platforms.

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