Eventually I will finish my blog post and tell you all about my wonderful February. (For it being a month that I generally dislike--mostly because it's cold--it was a very good February 2019). One of the best things about February was making connections. I took a leap of faith in January and left the safety of a full-time job to explore what it was like to be an #authorpreneur. At one event I attended, I met a staffer for John Delaney's campaign and we connected that day, met again later, and have had a few conversations face-to-face and several more via email to discuss what makes John K. Delaney a fabulous candidate for president.
In a nation where we are living with hyper-partisan politics, the biggest challenge is not whether we elect the next Democrat or Republican, but whether or not we can elect the person who will work in the most bipartisan way to get legislation passed. The upcoming generation, Gen Z; the current younger generation, the Millennials; and a host of other people in the country are tired of the divisive way our country is running. I can't begin to recount the number of people that told me one of the following, "I think I just voted for a headache," "I'm going to plug my nose and vote," or "I'm not going to vote - I can't stand either candidate." The latter is the worst action, in my opinion. If we're not voting, it's because there is something innately wrong with always seeking the Democratic answer or the Republican answer, instead of the right answer.
The views that John K. Delaney lays out in his book, The Right Answer: How We Can Unify Our Divided Nation are ones that make sense for the future of the United States--if we want to see our country continue to be successful for future generations.
My children are young, only 6 and 8. Before having them, despite being around children, I didn't think a whole lot about what our future will look like. But, couple being a parent with being a digital native and I began to wonder what skills I needed to give my children for them to be successful in the workforce--two decades from now. From my research, many leading economists agree: we need to double-down on infrastructure, promote education, and encourage entrepreneurship. Guess what? John K. Delaney agrees.
We just took a short trip over spring break. It was about seven and a half hours in the car, each way. Road construction season hadn't quite began when we left last Tuesday, but it had definitely started by the time we drove home on Saturday and one of the main access roads by our house was closed! This is an example of infrastructure being repaired, but there's more to do. In the Midwest, the harsh winters eat up our roads. The urbanization has pushed people toward cities and the stretch of interstate between two major industrious areas near me desperately needs expanded--or there needs to be an innovative way to transport all those people from either direction, which is slowly happening with the 380 Express. It will not eliminate the need for one to drive from place to place occasionally, but it will eliminate the need for one to drive from place to place daily--as someone else can do it for you.
The second way to ensure that there will still be jobs in the future (maybe not in manufacturing, or in jobs that once were the backbone of the U.S. economy), will be to promote education. Mr. Delaney discusses working toward a PreK-14 education for all as a right of citizens in the U.S. As an educator, I think this a fabulous idea. I'm thrilled that he wants to work toward this--and one of the best things that he says is he wants to encourage mid-skilled training. University is not for everyone, but Iowa is working toward a #FutureReady mindset with most students (70% by 2025) receiving some post-secondary training after high school. But, I am also scared. Educators are faced with impossible challenges on a daily basis--with very little support. Most people in the U.S. have received some sort of formal schooling, which means that most people think they know how a school operates or how a school should operate, but many do not realize that the budget for schools is inadequate, the teachers and support staff are constantly fighting an uphill battle for funding--and contrary to what anyone thinks, teachers are not in it for the money. Teachers, administrators, paraprofessional, school office personnel, cafeteria workers, or other building workers have passion. They have passion to help students learn--not just reading, writing, and math; but, also how to be good citizens, care for one another, and to show respect for one another (even when you're not being respected).
Finally, entrepreneurship links right into people being ready for jobs of the future. A few jobs that are common today: virtual assistants, social media marketers, and data analyst, were not available two decades ago when I was deciding what I wanted my major to be in college. Someone had to come up with an idea for business and tell others that they needed their services, but our country's retirement and health care systems no longer make sense to encourage this. We're not entering the workforce, having one job for most of our life, and retiring with a pension. We're changing jobs more frequently than ever before and we also want to be earning more credentials than ever before past high school. All of those job changes, all of that extra training, require us to be thinking differently about how to solve ensuring every U.S. citizen has access to health care for life and financial security past their retirement age. Mr. Delaney discusses this in his book too.
The Right Answer: How We Can Unify Our Divided Nation is a well thought-out detail of taking our country from one where the emphasis has been on telling half of the country they're wrong to working towards a compromise for ALL THE CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES, because ultimately that is the right answer.