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Thursday, December 8, 2022
Editor’s NotebookEditor’s Notebook: A good idea from … a candidate?!?

Editor’s Notebook: A good idea from … a candidate?!?

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We’re not covering this fall’s race in the 10th Congressional District, as it’s been shifted out of Sun Gazette coverage area, and it seems like, barring a Republican wave, incumbent Democrat Jennifer “Steppy” Wexton is probably going to survive, having been lucky in the redistricting sweepstakes earlier this year and getting a reconfigured district that is more amenable to her party’s fortunes than it might have been.

When it comes to politics, always better to be lucky than successful. Wexton, and I will explain the nickname “Steppy” below, this year got lucky.

That said, there’s a new proposal from her challenger – Republican Hung Cao – that struck me as eminently sensible, even if not directly tied to the congressional race.


Cao has laid out some policy positions aiming at, among other things, improving educational outcomes. And one of those positions would be to require every school district in the country to provide at least one elementary, middle and high school to have a year-round academic calendar.

Though not a fan of government mandates from the congressional level, your faithful scribe is a devotee of year-round school. Students got summers of for a reason – so they could work the farms – and there haven’t been many students in the local area working the farms in recent days. Yet we maintain a school year that has to start in August or September with students re-learning everything they lost during their two or more months out of classrooms.

Another Cao proposal is interesting if not necessarily workable: Eliminate federal and state income taxes for teachers who agree to work in underperforming schools, which in most cases see a yearly exodus of educators in a cycle that repeats year after year.

Good to see some innovative thinking coming out of the Cao campaign. Whether it will resonate on Election Day remains to be seen.

SPEAKING OF ‘STEPPY’ … AS I JUST WAS: You have to go back a while and have a good memory to know why, among the nicknames we give politicians, Rep. Wexton has been bestowed with “Steppy.”

Ah, good times: We made a very valid, cogent comparison in an editorial about her on-camera appearances in campaign commercials a couple of cycles back – the details are unimportant – and the pubescent pit bull she borrowed to run her press operations during the campaign went into hyperventilating overdrive trying to prove that the reference was somehow inappropriate, sexist and the like. (Sexist? As if we haven’t said crabby things about male politicians? We’re equal-opportunity in that regard.)

If memory serves, Pitty (short for “pit bull”) made about three runs at trying to bludgeon us into apologizing and rescinding the reference.

In exasperation with the increasingly shrill if ultimately futile denunciations being hurled my way, I told him that if it was sooooooooooo important to Wexton, she could call me herself to discuss it. His response seemed to suggest he felt her far too important to be bothered with such mundane matters as phoning me.

As one who’s covered the comings and goings of politicians and their staffs in the local area since the sainted Ronnie Reagan was occupying the White House (good times!), I’m old, gray, bad-tempered and financially secure enough that attempts to push me around generally go nowhere, as was the case then.

In fact, a far more important local PR person than the one above gave it a similar go a couple of weeks ago, upset that the Sun Gazette threw some elbows, or so her perceived, in a news article.

He ran into a brick wall, too. But thanks for playing!

– Scott McCaffrey

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