Republican congressional candidate Chris Gibson took a minute prior to a veterans rally in Fort Edward on Monday to speak about his views on education and “Race to the Top” program funding.
Q: The U.S. secretary of education was in Albany today talking about the “Race to the Top” funding. How do you feel about that program and how does that fit with earlier in the campaign when you talked about ideas about restructuring the Department of Education?
A: “I think the strength of our education approach is right here in our communities. And remember that every dollar that we send to Washington, D.C. to the Department of Education -- when some of it comes back it comes less than whole because you’ve got to pay for that entire bureaucracy down in Washington D.C.. So for every dollar we send to Washington D.C. we get about 80 cents back.
“We’re better having that money right here in the community supporting our schools. That’s really the best approach to our education process.
“Now keep in mind, too, that the GI Bill, arguably is among the most significant bills of the 20th Century to help create the middle class. That was passed 30 years before we ever had a (federal) Department of Education.
“So if there’s a moment of national consensus on how we should go forward with regard to education, we can do so with a new piece of legislation. What we don’t need is a huge bureaucracy in Washington D.C. to make that kind of difference.”
Q: The “Race to the Top” program, in particular -- do you have any thoughts about that?
A: “Given where we are right now -- I mean -- where we are in 2010, is we do have a bureaucracy in Washington D.C. And given the fact that we do have a bureaucracy I think programs like these are some of the more helpful programs.
“And I’m excited by the fact that New York state has done well and we are a recipient. But I would argue that what we really need to do as we look towards the coming years and throughout the 21st Century, is I think we should look towards restructuring our Republic so that we empower individuals, families and communities -- and less power down in Washington D.C.”
Gibson later elaborated on his remarks, stating that he supports the concept of the “Race to the Top” program but thinks in the future this type of initiative could be better handled at the state level.
“The idea of competition and verifying excellence, you can have that same concept at the state level,” he said.
Gibson, a retired Army colonel from Kinderhook, in Columbia County, is the Republican challenger to U.S. Rep. Scott Murphy, D-Glens Falls.
Murphy has been vocal about his support for New York receiving “Race to the Top” program funding.