(Chuck Muth) – While running for governor, Joe Lombardo championed school choice as a way out of the government’s public school “failure factories” for low-income Nevadans, especially for minority children. His campaign website stated plainly…
“Joe will increase school choice options by expanding access to charter schools, Opportunity Scholarships, and Education Saving Accounts (ESAs).”
Opportunity Scholarships award low-income families with funding to help offset the cost of private school tuition. ESAs would provide similar funding for all students, regardless of income.
After his election and during his State of the State address, Lombardo declared…
“Traditional public schools are not – and should not – be the only option. … I look forward to…expanding Opportunity Scholarships…(and) fully expect Opportunity Scholarships to receive a record amount of funding this session. In total, my executive budget…introduces more student and parental choices than any budget in Nevada history.”
In introducing his comprehensive education reform bill (AB400) last month, Lombardo wrote that it “delivers school choice to Nevada families” and “increases Opportunity Scholarships.”
Indeed, the proposal boosts funding for Opportunity Scholarships to $50 million this biennium and increases it steadily to $500 million down the road. It also increases the number of students who will be eligible for the program.
And on Monday, the governor took his fight out of Carson City and on the road.
He held a roundtable discussion, in front of reporters, with students and parents at Mountain View Christian School in Las Vegas who are currently receiving the very limited number of current Opportunity Scholarships.
KTNV reported that Opportunity Scholarship parent Claudia Lomeli “said her kids attended a public school for a time, but that they felt ‘safer’ and received more attention at Mountain View.”
Ironically, while Ms. Lomeli and others were testifying in support of the program that allows them to send their kids to a safe private school, a breaking news alert popped up on the Internet advising that a security monitor at a North Las Vegas public middle school had been shot on campus.
“No students were injured in the shooting,” the Review-Journal reported this morning, “but the middle school and two nearby elementary schools were locked down for about an hour while police searched for the shooter.”
Gov. Lombardo isn’t just giving school choice lip service. He’s actually fighting for it, while understanding the challenges he faces from modern-day “Bull Connor” Democrats who control the Legislature and are standing in the schoolhouse doors refusing to let minority children out.
Following the roundtable, Lombardo did something not seen throughout ex-Gov. Sisolak’s Reign of Error during the COVID crisis: He met with reporters without handpicking who could ask him pe-scripted questions. Took all comers.
And in response to one question about the prospect of his bill getting passed in its entirety, the governor acknowledged he might not get all he was asking for…
“If it has to be incremental, it needs to be incremental, and we will continue to address it as years come.”
Indeed, half a loaf is better than no loaf at all. But that nod to political reality didn’t sit well with Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist Victor Joecks.
On Twitter after the roundtable, Victor called on supporters to “pressure” Lombardo to “play hardball” with that Democrats by threatening them with his “veto pen.”
Lombardo “needs to lead now,” Victor continued, while acknowledging that “Maybe this is happening behind the scenes, and I hope it is. But it sure doesn’t look that way.”
In other words, Victor has no idea what the governor and his team is or isn’t doing “behind the scenes,” but felt it necessary in this difficult situation to criticize Lombardo because it doesn’t “look” like he’s doing what Victor thinks he should be.
Maybe Victor is planning to run against Lombardo in 2026?
To be sure, Victor is a solid conservative policy guy. Heck, Citizen Outreach gave him our “Rising Conservative Star” award a dozen years ago. But when he steps into the political arena, he’s out of his area of expertise.
Anyone who’s spent any time in Carson City knows you don’t show all your cards until the final days of the session….especially when faced with entrenched obstruction by a hostile opposing party that’s in control of the legislative agenda.
And to be clear, Victor is an outlier here. School choice supporters are united behind Gov. Lombardo’s efforts. We don’t need to “pressure” him. He’s already on our side. And we’re backing him up in trying to “get sh*t done.”
Instead of constantly chirping at the governor from the cheap seats in the peanut gallery, Victor would better serve the conservative agenda by knocking off the potshots…at least until he sees what Lombardo actually does rather than what it “looks” like he’s doing.
As the great philosopher Yogi Bera famously said, “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.”
7 Worst Habits of Highly Unelectable People
- Picking the wrong race
- Picking the wrong district
- Picking the wrong issues
- Picking the wrong time
- Picking the wrong consultants
- Picking unnecessary fights with the media
- Picking door-knocking over fundraising
FAMOUS LAST WORDS
“While #Nvdems are putzing around with gender issues and trying to grasp election laws, real men #getshitdone! Let’s go Governor, school them and make em’ cry!” – Nevada Republican National Committeewoman Sigal Chattah
Mr. Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, publisher of Nevada News & Views, and founder of CampaignDoctor.com. You can sign up for his conservative, Nevada-focused e-newsletter at MuthsTruths.com. His views are his own.