On Friday, the Denver Post’s blog “The Spot” posted that Colorado Springs State Representative Mark Waller has applied for the JeffCo Superintendent position.
Waller currently represents Colorado State House District 15 which is the northeastern part of Colorado Springs. He defeated Doug Bruce, the extreme libertarian in the Republican 2008 primary and has since run unopposed. He could have run for another two-year term in the House, but decided instead to take a stab at the Republican nomination for Attorney General. That lasted until April 12th, when he came in a distant second at the Republican Assembly meeting to Cindy Coffman, current Attorney General John Suther’s deputy. By that time it was too late to file for re-election to his House seat, and two other Republicans had already entered the race for this highly Republican district. (In the 2012 General Election, he ran against a Libertarian candidate and an American Constitution Party candidate. No Democrat ran against him.) He formally pulled out of the Republican Primary for Attorney General on April 29th.
Since the deadline for applications was April 25th (although Ray & Associates said they would accept applications until April 27th), Waller must have applied for the JeffCo Superintendent position before he announced he was giving up on the Attorney General’s race. Since the GOP Assembly meeting was not until April 12th, it is apparent that this job has not been in the forefront of his mind for very long. Indeed, Waller seems to have thought little about education in any significant manner during his six years in the state legislature. His entry in Ballotpedia (a non-partisan on-line encyclopedia focused on American politics – click here for more information) shows his was the prime sponsor for only four bills, all of them in the 2009 session. Only one of them have anything to do with education, HB09-1270 “Enrollment Options Private Home Schools”. This bill would have made privately-schooled or home-schooled students eligible for concurrent enrollment in state-supported colleges and universities. According to the state legislatures staff report, this would have required five full-time CDE employees and cost the State almost $20 million by requiring those state colleges to create programs for non-public schools. It was postponed indefinitely only two weeks after he submitted it.
Waller is quoted as saying., “I don’t have a strong educational background…“, then continuing, “…but I have a very robust background in developing consensus and bringing parties together.” He apparently has submitted a generic letter of recommendation from Bruce Benson, the President of CU…who also does not have an educational background.
Benson’s letter reportedly praises Waller for his work on legislation involving education. Apparently Benson counts one failed bill in 2009 as significant. Benson’s letter of recommendation is only a generic one, not one written specifically for the JeffCo Superintendent job. Benson, when asked about this by Lynn Bartels, the Post reporter is quoted as saying, “This letter could be for dog catcher, or for your job at the paper — which could be one and the same — or for something higher up.” Not exactly a resounding endorsement.
This one, in some ways, has us shaking our heads even more than the Tom Tancredo report a week or so ago.
In this case, at least the applicant has confirmed that he has applied. But even WNW’s slanted requirements, Waller comes up dramatically short.
He has no actual experience in education. In fact, we are not even sure he has a passionate interest in the JeffCo job, other than he is looking for work!
Coming from one of the safest Republican districts in the state, Waller has never really had to to try to work with people with very different view points. His one effort at education policy (which would have gotten private schools state money) got shot down in almost record time. He only decided he want to apply for the position after his poor showing at the GOP Assembly meeting less than two weeks earlier. And of the one letter of recommendation he has, even the author of the letter (Benson) says could also have been for the position of “dog catcher“!
If anyone other than WNW were involved, then another ‘dog‘ phrase would pop to mind, this one from Texas, “That dog won’t hunt.”
But, this will be in front of WNW. And they are highly suspected of wanting to follow DougCo’s fake charter school to redirect public tax dollars to private schools efforts (see our post here.). Given that, Waller’s own efforts to squeeze out tax-payer dollars to help private schools could very well appeal to them. While he did hold the position of Minority Leader in 2013, he apparently did not impress anyone enough to get more than a ‘dog catcher‘s endorsement. We wish we could say that Waller hasn’t got a snowballs chance, but…he did try to get public money for private schools. Other than that he is something of a cipher who is needing a job.
It could be that WNW, instead of looking for a strong-willed leader who might disagree with them from time to time, would prefer a puppet whose strings they could pull on to their hearts content.
Scary times are ahead. Stay strong, and…