The Republican defeat last November might actually prove better for both Washington state and WSU, but not in the way everyone assumes.
Rob McKenna’s editorial on how Republicans in Washington state need to change, featured in The Seattle Times this past Saturday, discussed several areas of reflection for GOP politicians and activists. The GOP party needs to build stronger governing coalitions and add to the ranks by improving Republican outreach in minority and college communities, and re-envisioning party goals.
This new constructive mentality, if implemented over the next few years, could not only lead to a 2016 GOP victory, but help motivate Republican leaders to provide better leadership.
Luckily, this attitude is gaining momentum on the national stage as well. Reince Priebus, the Republican National Committee chairman, presented the RNC’s Growth and Opportunity Project, according to The Hill.
The project, which will focus on community outreach and the communication of a more positive and voter-friendly message, is extraordinarily expensive. Regardless, the approach will overhaul everything from “technology, data sharing, demographic issues, voter outreach and inclusion to our primary system and the debate calendar,” said Priebus.
Nothing says dedication quite like a $10 million initial investment, according to the RNC’s Growth and Opportunity Project.
The Republican image has reached an all-time low, and hopefully this venture will not only add members to the Party, but help clear up common misconceptions about Republican beliefs.
Republicans are often bashed because voters do not believe the party will support additional funding for higher education. This is a large misunderstanding needing clarification.
In the past month alone, Michael Baumgartner, R-Spokane, and other senate GOP leaders unveiled a plan to give $300 million in additional funding to higher education in Washington state, according to Q13 Fox. Under former D-Gov. Christine Gregoire and Gary Locke, support for higher education was cut by more than 40 percent since 2007.
You learn something new every day. This plan is representative of McKenna’s editorial, defining strong leadership and improving relationships with young voters.
The plan would primarily benefit University of Washington and WSU by increasing financial aid and adding a $50 million fund awarded to higher performing schools. This award will be given out if schools achieve certain benchmarks, like higher freshmen retention rates for both Caucasian and minority students.
Darn those evil Republicans.
The proposal is going to need some work, but the plan to increase state’s higher education budget to $3 billion by 2015 would feed off of the seven percent more revenue coming into the state. Most WSU students are trying to deal with higher tuition with fewer scholarships. This type of legislation is going drive the changing attitudes towards the GOP with the current academic atmosphere.
Assembly Bill 479 in California is working toward the same purpose. This bill would remove the sales tax on textbooks purchased at college bookstores, according to the Santa Barbara Independent.
Politicians cannot always make fairy-tale promises of lower tuition a reality. Full-ride scholarships are few and far between and for anyone whose parents live above poverty level, financial aid does not offset growing student loans. Even small things, like eliminating sales tax on textbooks or a three percent decrease in tuition, would help college students.
These steps stay true to the Republican aesthetic by offering realistic and fiscally responsible solutions to looming problems, in addition to working towards bipartisan efforts and sustained voter support.
McKenna’s editorial has a real possibility of becoming reality. If this is how Republicans respond to electoral losses, maybe we should lose more often.
-Corrine Harris is a junior animal science major from Edmonds. She can be contacted at 335-2290 or by firstname.lastname@example.org. The opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of the staff of The Daily Evergreen or those of Student Publications.