Letters to the Editor for Dec. 17, 2013

Quality public education benefits all

The dust has settled since the November election and as we head into a new year, I am thankful to the citizens of Camas who voted for me. Although I didn’t win a director seat on the Camas School Board, I did appreciate the opportunity to seek the position representing the Camas community. My husband Ryan has been so supportive and patient and our three daughters have learned so much from my experience including the notion that in life we do the right thing, even if it is the hard thing.

During the campaign, I met so many of you who shared your passion for the future of our Camas schools and took the time to understand my reasons for running, recognizing that a fresh perspective is very healthy to a representative body of a growing community such as Camas. I am thankful for friendships that developed with those who helped my campaign and friendships that were strengthened with those who chose to endorse me.

It was a risk to challenge an incumbent, but I wanted to serve at the next level with the same enthusiasm, organization and thoughtfulness I have exhibited for the past eight years as a parent volunteer, PTA president and chair of the Citizen Advisory Committee.

To all the citizens of Camas, please know I will continue to advocate for our students, for programs and for our teachers. I encourage you to join me as advocates because Camas School District is full of opportunities for every student that wants them, our teachers are the best professionals in the business and the programs offered are our dreams put into action.

During the election, my platform included fully funding all-day kindergarten and universal pre-k. I will continue to support these programs because early success is important to a child’s later success and that’s important to all of us. When children are in full-day kindergarten, their chances of reading grade level by grade three, increases. Studies show that when children are reading at grade level by grade three, they’re successful during the rest of their school years. Graduation rates would be higher (than they already are which is higher than the Washington state average), and higher graduation rates would draw more businesses and families to Camas, thereby affecting the quality of citizenry as well as economics of our community.

Supporting and investing in our public education benefits us all. Being an advocate for public education funding has a direct affect on our community.

The Washington State Legislative session starts back up on Jan. 13. Our senators and representatives need us to stay in touch so they are accurately representing our adamancy about public education funding.

I encourage you to join me by staying in touch with our elected officials and sharing with them the direct effect public education funding has on our community.

I also invite you to join me on Jan. 11 in Tacoma in attending the Stand University for Advocates, an opportunity to learn how to make real change in our schools. Education advocates across Washington are invited to learn about upcoming education issues and to get the training we need to help improve our schools. http://stand.org/washington.

Erika Cox, Chairwoman of the Camas School District, Citizens Advisory Committee

Oil terminal project is a bad idea

Tesoro Savage has proposed building an oil terminal in Vancouver, in addition to earlier coal industry proposals to build two coal export terminals in Washington, all possibly serviced by one rail line. That BNSF line passes through Spokane, Tri-City, Vancouver, many small towns in between and the Columbia Gorge, home to an important food supply, source of electricity, water and recreation.

It is projected, by Sightline, that 47 mile-long trains each day would be required to serve all the proposed coal export and oil-by-rail terminals.

The potential for disastrous oil spills through derailment or explosion cannot be underestimated, given recent events in Canada and the U.S. In a recent “routine transfer” of oil from a storage container to a tanker in

Nigeria (Shell Oil) 1.68 million gallons of oil were spilled, creating an environmental disaster that will take decades to mitigate. To expose the Columbia to that possibility is unthinkable.

Clearly this project is a bad idea, putting at risk the health and well being of the environment and the people who rely on it for life.

Please let EFSEC know you oppose this terminal. Send your comments to: EFSEC@UTC.WA.GOV by Dec. 18.

Dianne Kocer, Brush Prairie

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