Jody Liss-Monteleone | Smith for Public Education

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As a retired educator, I am infuriated by the National Republican Congressional Committee’s disinformation about Christy Smith’s commitment to education, because I personally know how much she cares about children and public education. Christy has always been a champion of students, teachers, school employees, parents and communities. After graduating from Hart High School, she attended College of the Canyons and graduated with honors from UCLA, all local public schools. Then she began her career in public service by working as an analyst at the U.S. Department of Education, where she coordinated initiatives in school-to-work and parent involvement in education. Christy believes public education is essential and is the cornerstone of our democracy.

When she returned to the Santa Clarita Valley, she became active in education as a PTA and site council member at the public schools of her daughters. At that time, she also founded the Valencia Valley Technological Education Foundation. Later, Christy served two terms as a governing board member and was board president of the highly successful Newhall School District. She believes a great education levels the playing field and creates more opportunity for all children. She wants to invest in local public schools so we can hire more teachers, reduce class sizes and pay teachers a livable middle-class wage. Not many other people have done as much as she has for public education. 

We all know it takes a village to raise a child. All Americans need to understand they have a responsibility to every generation after them. We allocate billions of dollars to defense, but to build a strong America, we need to fund high-quality public education for every student in the U.S. Christy has worked tirelessly to ensure that local public schools are fully funded, but she also wants to ensure students have options after K-12, without going into a lifetime of debt. She wants to increase affordability and availability of options like job training, apprenticeships, technical school, and more affordable public colleges and universities. In her first year in office, she authored a law making it easier for college students to use ScholarShare savings accounts to pay for expenses like rent and textbooks.

Assemblywoman Christy Smith is a 40-year resident of Santa Clarita who was called “passionate about public safety, education” by this newspaper. Teacher and support personnel representatives and major education organizations, along with hundreds of teachers across this valley, support Christy because they are certain she will fight unwaveringly for students and educators nationwide. Christy will make the 25th District proud by working to invest in public school classrooms to improve educational opportunities for every child in this country.

What has Donald Trump done to support public education? Not much! He hired one of his biggest donors to be secretary of education. All Senate Democrats and two Republicans tried to block Betsy DeVos’ confirmation because they know her main goal is to allow students to attend private schools with public funding. According to the New York Times, it “is hard to find anyone more passionate about the idea of steering public dollars away from traditional public schools than Betsy DeVos.” 

What has Mike Garcia done to support public schools? I visited his website to find his position on education. Lo and behold, there is none. He has positions on national security, term limits, national debt, socialism, economy and jobs, and taxes, but not one word about education or America’s children. It seems that he supports DeVos’ agenda to dismantle the Department of Education from the inside out, which would result in the loss of millions in grants for California children.

Suburban women like me are a key demographic in this election. We care about the education of our children. Here we have a choice between a woman who understands this and has dedicated her entire life to it and a man who doesn’t even list it as a policy concern on his website. A vote for Christy is a vote for our children and grandchildren. If you don’t have children or grandchildren, consider that you are educating the future leaders of the U.S. in order to build a better future. Christy has the integrity to refuse the lobbyists, stand up to partisan politics and do right by the people of this district. She deserves your confidence and your vote.

There is a poem by Ina J. Hughs called “A Prayer for the Children.” It ends, “We pray for children who will grab the hand of anyone kind enough to offer it.” I encourage all Signal readers to look up this powerful poem to fully understand why it takes a village to raise a child. We are all in this together and we must make sure every child in America is fed, clothed and educated. Who will continue to fight for all children in the U.S.? The answer is clear: Christy Smith for Congress!

 In some countries, it is mandatory for all citizens to vote. In America, it’s our civic responsibility. Please make sure all eligible residents of your household are registered and vote. Oct. 19 is the last day to register at registertovote.ca.gov. If you are registering or re-registering after that, you need to complete the same-day voter registration process and request your ballot in person at your polling location. You should receive your ballots by Oct. 5. Follow all directions, including signing your envelope. Mail it immediately because we know that Trump is doing all he can to slow down the mail. If you’re concerned about that, you can always bring your ballot to your polling place. 

Vote Nov. 3. Just do it!

Jody Liss-Monteleone is a 41-year resident of the SCV and served as a teacher and counselor in the Hart district for 34 years. She retired in 2014 after 40 years in education.

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