Polis represents the future | VailDaily.com

Polis represents the future

Jared Polis, the Democratic candidate for Eagle County’s U.S. House seat, may symbolize the future of the Democratic Party, and perhaps even U.S. politics.

Polis wants to the United States’ future to be about technology and a rejuvenated public school system that can accommodate the brightest students and the most troubled ones.

A lot of politicians can call themselves an “education candidate,” but Polis truly fits the bill, having chaired the Colorado board of education and used the fortune he made as an Internet entrepreneur to start a series of charter schools for immigrants trying to learn English.

Polis has been insightful about the failings of No Child Left Behind and the priority the program places on standardized test scores. He says that policy punishes schools where students struggle even though those are the schools that need the most help. Because of its limited focus, No Child Left Behind stifles innovation, Polis says.

He also believes the policy is narrow because students’ progress is not measured in important subjects like art, government, history and vocational education.

Finally, and with a bit of insight, he told the Vail Daily earlier this year that the nation’s snowballing mortgage crisis could have been avoided with better financial literacy in schools.

But Polis is not a one-note candidate. He says that along with ending a war in Iraq that jeopardizes U.S. global warming is the most critical global issue. He has advocated surcharges on consumer products that are less energy efficient than the norm and using the revenue to give rebates to Americans who buy energy efficient appliances.

He says he also supports increasing the tax credit for families who install solar panels and also setting up government-backed loans to help people fund the one-time expenditure of installing solar improvements on their home. He also says the federal government should help solve the traffic on the mountain stretch of Interstate 70.

We have heard little from his Republican opponent, engineer Scott Starin. As usual, the Republican candidate in the heavily Democratic 2nd Congressional District isn’t running a very intense campaign, which is a shame in a way because it gives voters only a shallow alternative to the Democratic Party philosophy.

Still, Polis will be an exciting candidate to send to the House. He may be relatively untested in the legislative arena and may be stigmatized by the record amount of money he spent to win the Democratic primary, but he makes up for his lack of experience ” and his deep pockets ” with energy, innovation and some new ideas.

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