I just finished listening to the archived second installment of the new Progressive Voice radio show here in Idaho. Del Bunce and Ralph Smith, candidates for the Idaho state legislature, shared personal stories about how none of their grown children was able to find decent-paying work in Idaho. Bunce lays the blame on a state legislature that fails to recognize that good jobs only come when the education system is world-class and producing graduates who are ready to fill such jobs, which Idaho's is not.
Bunce talked about how since 2000, Idaho has lost more than 8,000 manufacturing jobs with an average wage of nearly $41,000. In their place, we have 22,000 new service jobs, two-thirds of which pay an average of $19,278. Idaho has attracted its share of good companies, but it needs more. To do that, we need to be able to offer employers a highly educated workforce. And to do that, we must fully fund public education and be sure our teachers are the best and our students have the tools they need to learn, including safe buildings and uncrowded classrooms.
The Progressive Voice will air every Thursday night from 8 to 9 Mountain on KGEM radio 1140 AM in southwestern Idaho, as well as online. The show's first two installments can be accessed here; look for the Alpine 04-10-07 and 04-9-29 files. The Oct. 7 show starts at about the one-hour mark, while the Sept. 29 debut starts near the two-hour mark.