For months now Mr. Coleman’s fourth grade students at Hillcrest Elementary and Mr. Hayman’s Advanced Placement Government class have been meeting and working together to develop questions to ask gubernatorial candidate Jay Inslee who answered the questions in front of a packed house at LSHS on Tuesday, October 23.
The format of the forum had 12th grade students providing the question topic and the fourth grade student stating or reading the question.
The first question asked Mr. Inslee what he would like students to take away from this meeting. Inslee replied that he wanted the students in the Lake Stevens School District to take away one thing from this question and answer session above all else: that politicians are real people too, with families and hopes and dreams.
Many questions were raised about Inslee’s views on energy, pollution, education, environment and especially the creation of jobs in Washington State.
When asked by fourth grader Colby about hydroelectricity and other sources of energy and his ideas, Inslee responded that we needed to come up with alternative ways to fuel our cars and homes. He proposed that maybe in the future students like Colby would be able to invent products that will help to cut pollution and as a result create jobs.
One of the points that Inslee stressed most while answering all of his questions was the importance of creating jobs for the unemployed in Washington.
With the unemployment rate being 8.5 percent, fourth grader Drake asked, how can you draw more companies such as Boeing into the state to create more jobs?
Inslee responded by pointing the audience to his website where he has laid out his plan to create jobs for the unemployed. He made clear that it is important for citizens to have skills and training so that new airplanes and energy sources can be invented. These industries will create an opportunity for unemployed citizens to find jobs.
Finding a job after graduation and college was another hot topic because most of the high school students who attended were juniors and seniors getting ready to go to college or join the workforce. Emma, a high school student who is also a first time voter, asked what Inslee would do as Governor to help recent college graduates find jobs and pay for their student loans. He explained his plan to create jobs and his goal for all young people to have health insurance. This is why he worked with President Barack Obama to pass the new health care act.
Going along with his priority of creating jobs, Inslee answered fourth grader Abbey’s question about what he plans to do to help the economy in Washington and how he plans to increase cash flow. Inslee explained that with 300,000 people out of work there is a deficit of $4.2 billion to our economy. Part of this money would be used to hire teachers and help fund public schools. His plan includes making our state more attractive for industries in the areas of aerospace, biotech and software. By creating jobs, money will go back into the economy therefore creating more cash flow.
In closing he commented that he wanted to come to see and meet the students at Lake Stevens; he knew great learning was taking place in this district. He congratulated Hillcrest Elementary for achieving the status of a Reward School - top 10 percent in the state among Title 1 schools, and Lake Stevens High School for ranking among the top in the state for its graduation rate.