Driving County Roads

An on line journal sharing my views. The content reflects my background as a rural person employed in agriculture and as a retired elected official of local government.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Need to Know

Recently I was at a program and heard a presentation by Keith Stover, the head man at South Central Technical. They are doing some very innovative things to help put people back to work. The unemployment rate is high in south central Minnesota, but not has high as it is nationwide.

We all want to see people have a good job and see the unemployment figures down in the 1 or 2 or 3% range. This will probably never happen unless there are huge changes. Why? Stover gave the answer. He said that the one bit of information that is never stated when the national unemployment data is given is the fact that a huge percentage of the unemployed (over 50%) of those people looking for jobs have not graduated from high school.

Until we correct this, we will have high unemployment and well as many other social problems. One thing I learned from 16 years in county government is that we can decrease case loads in law enforcement, probation, and social services by getting more young people to stay in school and graduate.end

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Caucus Stuff

While the caucuses in Iowa are somewhat different than we have in Minnesota, it was enlightening to watch some of the news coverage during the early evening yesterday. We saw the national media interview some of our Iowa neighbors who were planning on attending the caucus last night. The questions ranged from nuts to bolts, but one question stood out.  "Mr. Smith, you are from a different state and you attended a previous caucus; why are you going back?" (Name and state withheld from this narrative.) His answer was enlightening. To paraphrase, he said, I like the fact that I can go and openly discuss my views about the candidates with my neighbors. We can have a debate about what we like or do not like about the candidates and about what we feel are their good qualities and why we feel they would be good representatives of our views and why they would be good leaders. We did not have that where I came from.   We do not realize and value the openness we have in our process here in the Midwest. end