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Friday, June 17, 2005

Time to Think -- and Act -- Big

In 1801, President Jefferson invested $15 million to acquire the Louisiana Territory. The act doubled the size of America and put this country on track to become a global superpower.

In 1865, President Lincoln created the land grant college system. Over the next century, those colleges graduated nearly 75 percent of this country's engineers.

During World War II, President Roosevelt created the GI bill. And after the war, President Eisenhower created the inter-state highway system.

In every case, the initial investments were expensive but, today, you would be hard pressed to find anyone who would say they haven't more then repaid themselves.

Why then do today's political leaders find it so hard to make big strategic investments? I don't know, but as a U.S. Senator I will not be afraid to do so.

Two areas where I will definitely intend to act are in the areas of energy and education -- specifically math and science.

First, energy. It boggles the mind why America isn't aggressively pursuing the development of new, clean alternatives energies like hybrid technology, wind power, solar cells and hydrogen. I have said it before and I'll say until I'm blue in the face: this is a win-win-win situation. Win #1: We lessen our reliance oon foreign fossl fuels. Win #2: We create new jobs here in America. Win #3: We begin addressing the leading causes of global warming. The time to act is now!

Second is education. Within the next decade, China and India will graduate 90 percent of the world's scientists. This is unaceeptable. Science and technology are what will drive future economic competitiveness. It is unacceptable for America to simply sit on the sideline and cede progress to foreign countries. We need to encourage more students to go into math and science and if that means making a sizeable investment in terms of the number of academic scholarships this coutnry provides -- so be it.

I remain a deficit hawk but I will never use that as an excuse not to make big strategic invetsments which I know to be in this country's best interests. It is a lesson that past leaders, including Jefferson, Linclon, FDR and Eisenhower, knew well.

Related Links:
Thinking Outside the Barrel