A few years ago, in Juneau, as a member of a contingent advocating for early childhood education and a comprehensive system within the state, I had the privilege of meeting with state Rep. Bill Thomas. I appreciate the time that Mr. Thomas took to accommodate my visit, allowing me the opportunity to talk with him. This past legislative session, SB 182 was passed in both the House and Senate. As co-chairman of the House Finance Committee, Mr. Thomas was diligent in pursuing increased funding to state education by adding language to the pupil transportation bill for secondary vocational and technical instruction and establishing a “voluntary parent and early childhood education program for pre-elementary aged children.”
Last month, the Department of Education and Early Development announced three, three-year grants made to the Parents as Teachers program. A multi-year effort, willingness to work across party lines and experience on behalf of Mr. Thomas and others helped enable the department to do so.
Thank you, Bill, for your service to your communities, people and state. I look forward to working with you in the future to ensure the development of Alaska’s greatest natural resource – our children.