Farewell to Friends in Ohio’s 128th General Assembly; Indiana’s Education Reform Agenda Unveiled
Rabbi A.D. Motzen – Ohio Regional Director
Serving Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, Georgia
As the 128th General Assembly winds down, sessions have been mostly filled with the traditional member farewells. With nearly 50 members leaving the legislature, we will lose many friends. However, one member’s farewell stood out as both speakers mentioned the member’s Jewish religion. Senator David Goodman (R- New Albany), who attended Columbus Torah Academy as a child, has been a good friend and a proud Jew throughout his 12 years of service in the legislature. Senator Carey specifically mentioned how Senator Goodman’s Jewish values shaped his principled decisions. Senator Goodman, who was honored by Agudath Israel’s Midwest Region with our Public Service Award in 2006, has much to be proud of after his long and impressive legislative career.
On a personal note, Senator Goodman’s office, which has a mezuzah on the door, served as my Statehouse “synagogue.” Whenever I needed a place to say my afternoon prayers, Senator Goodman made his personal office available. We thank Senator Goodman for his service and friendship.
On Wednesday, Governor Mitch Daniels and State Superintendent Dr. Tony Bennett announced their education reform agenda titled “Putting Students First”. The agenda will identify and reward great teachers and principals, demand real accountability, provide flexibility, and offer equal educational opportunities to all children. While the specific legislative language has not been publicly released yet, we look forward to working closely with Dr. Bennett in the upcoming session.
Chanukah Party with Governor O’Malley; Gearing Up for Session in Virginia
Rabbi Ariel Sadwin – Director
This week began with the annual Chanukah party at the Maryland Government House, home of Governor Martin O’Malley. The event was graced by a handful of Jewish legislators and Jewish community leaders from across the state. A special guest joining in the Chanukah celebration was Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren.
Ambassador Oren shared with the assembled that the first day of last week’s tragic forest fire on Mount Carmel coincided with the White House Chanukah celebration.
Upon informing President Obama of the gravity of the situation, the President pledged to the ambassador that he would avail full U.S. support to Israel and commented afterwards, “that’s what friends are for”.
On Tuesday, the school choice coalition of the Commonwealth of Virginia had their first policy meeting in anticipation of the upcoming start of the Virginia General Assembly. The group of parochial and independent school representatives and advocates met with House sponsor, Delegate Jimmie Massie (R-72) and Senate sponsor Mark Obenshain (R-26), to discuss various legislative and grassroots strategies in the hope of passing the School Choice Tax Credit Legislation by the end of the 2011 session.