By: Sid Riley
The meeting room at Jim’s Buffet and Grill was buzzing with high spirits as the overflow crowd of attendees at the monthly meeting of the Jackson County Republicans came to order. There was one name that was repeatedly mentioned throughout the meeting and during personal conversations…..Sarah Palin.
The young lady governor from Alaska that has suddenly been thrust upon our nation’s political scene as John McCain’s running mate has certainly created a new vein of excitement throughout the National Republican Party. She has had the same exact impact on our local group of Republicans. Local party officials gave reports of the high number of offers to provide volunteer services for local party functions, and the amazing numbers of requests for candidate signs and bumper stickers.
The primary speaker for the regular meeting was State Representative Marti Coley. She also exuded an air of excitement as she began her presentation with a discussion about Sarah Palin. Then she moved the subject to State politics.
She began by stating that there was going to be a $3.5 Billion dollar shortfall in the state budget this year. She warned that all areas of state funding and services will endure continuing cuts. She expounded the philosophy that larger government and new programs will not solve the problems…instead that action will make them worse.
A significant portion of her presentation was on the subject of education. She related that in order to reduce the strain on our major state universities, and in order to make four year degrees more affordable and attainable, we can expect continuing emphasis on expansion of community colleges. "And you can be assured that Chipola College will be one of the state leaders in this growth", she emphasized.
She also discussed the need for aligning community college skills development programs with the needs of area industries. She also spoke of the need for increased tax incentives for emerging industries in the renewable energy sector.
She related that the property tax referendum (Amendment 5) will not be on the ballot, and the legislature must now go to work to design a more suitable bill for consideration. However, she urged everyone to vote "Yes" for Amendment 2, which makes marriage a term used only for the union of one man to one woman. "This is a community values issue, not a partisan issue, and we should all vote for it", Coley explained.