Editorial voices from elsewhere

May 2, 2014

Excerpts from recent editorials in newspapers in the United States as compiled by The Associated Press:

York Dispatch

No, Pennsylvania legislators convicted of abusing the public’s trust don’t deserve to have their portraits hanging in the Capitol building. Still, we’re surprised that was our new – and, for now, temporary – state senator’s first order of business in Harrisburg.

State Sen. Scott Wagner, R-Spring Garden Township, this week introduced his inaugural legislation – a resolution calling for an end to the hanging of portraits in the Capitol that honor former legislative leaders who have been convicted of felonies related to abuse of their public offices.

Wagner campaigned as a government reformer, so, yes, this is consistent. However, we kind of expected something with more texture and less symbolism.

If he really wants to change the way things work in the Legislature, he should be swinging for the fences while he can. No one can argue with the portrait resolution, but even if it’s successful, so what? How does that change the way things are done in Harrisburg?

The Herald-Dispatch, Huntington, W.Va.

In the fall of 2013, total college enrollment at public institutions in West Virginia was down about 4.3 percent from 2009.

For a state with the some of the lowest educational attainment levels in the country, that is a big problem.

About 18 percent of West Virginians 25 and older have a bachelor’s degree or higher, the U.S. Census reports. That is significantly lower that the national average of 28.5 percent and the lowest rate in the country – a point or two lower than Mississippi and Arkansas.

Certainly, the decline in enrollment is affected by demographic changes, including fewer high school graduates in some areas of the state. But West Virginia still has plenty of room to grow its college enrollment among those who need it most.

About 40 percent of high school graduates in the state do not go on to community college or four-year college, and that’s not counting the 20-25 percent of high school students who drop out before graduation.

So, how much of the decline is about affordability and the cost of a college education?

With another round of tuition increases this spring, that is something state leaders need to be watching very closely.

It is time for lawmakers to tackle this issue and make sure the state is investing in schools and programs that are going to grow the number of graduates ... Standing by and watching enrollment decline is not an option.

The Times, Gainesville, Ga.

Each election year, we use this space to encourage everyone to register, vote and take part in our marvelous American democratic process.

It’s no secret that the political climate in our nation has turned off many voters and potential voters, including many of the younger generation who have so much to gain or lose. After all, they will be the ones paying taxes, earning benefits and feeling the impact of government decisions long after their parents and grandparents. Yet year after year, older Americans take part in greater numbers while others tune out.

On Election Day, a handful of voters show up to vote and one candidate trumps the field. The winners celebrate victory in a room full of balloons and bunting, acting as if they have won an Academy Award rather than taking on the difficult task of governance.

The rituals, characters and scripts play out the same, leading many to tire of the process and assume, perhaps correctly, their participation is a waste of time.

To get them involved again, and to make our election process work better, we need to break this repetitive cycle of frivolous nonsense.

We hold out hope, as always, that this election year will be different. However many voters do end up taking part, we trust them to make their best efforts to get us to the better candidates and campaigns we would all like to see.



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