That great enemy of public schools and teachers, Sen. Jane Cunningham, R-Chesterfield, won't be back next January, but another steadfast opponent of public education is poised to take her place.
Former State Rep. Ed Emery, R-Lamar, has made no secret of his disdain for public education. It can be seen in the accompanying video where he likens public education in Kansas City and St. Louis as a "pipeline to prison." He also makes it clear in the issues section of his website. that public education is a form of slavery:
Vouchers are one way of providing the power of competition to state-run schools, but they are not the only way. Nevertheless, vouchers have worked where used, and all schools, both government and private, improved scores — some significantly. In addition, dropout rates always declined when competition was introduced via vouchers.
However, big-government advocates fear competition and individual freedom. They argue that the use of vouchers will enslave private and parochial schools by “accepting government money and the strings that go with it.” They don’t trust private and Christian schools to read the law and make their own decisions about the risks and benefits. Yet, I believe it is a question of personal liberty, of choice. Why should big-government politicians decide whether or not parents and school administrators can make that decision? Non-government schools are capable of choosing whether or not they will accept vouchers; that is freedom.
Freedom is about choice. The absence of choice is slavery — a form of imprisonment. It is freedom, not slavery, that produces opportunity, and it is opportunity that produces the prosperity and exceptionalism of theUnited States. In education, we have removed all of that choice.
Emery has little dealing with public schools, other than railing against them, since he homeschooled his children, which, of course, is his right.
It is not just Emery's positions on education that make his candidacy troublesome. Emery drew national attention six years ago for the final report issued by a special committee he headed studying the problems of illegal immigration in Missouri.
Emery's committee discovered that illegal immigration problems are caused by abortion and "liberal social welfare policies." The following is taken from a November 2006 Associated Press article:
"We hear a lot of arguments today that the reason that we can't get serious about our borders is that we are desperate for all these workers," Emery said. "You don't have to think too long. If you kill 44 million of your potential workers, it's not too surprising we would be desperate for workers
The AP article also featured Emery saying that the abortion claim had come up during testimony during the committee hearings. What Emery did not say was that he was the one who came up with that idea and gave the following quote to a now-defunct southwest Missouri blog in 2006:
"Twenty million potential workers have been needlessly killed. We would not need any immigrant workers at all if those twenty million aborted fetuses were contributing to the economy."
And if that isn't enough, Emery is also aligned with the birther movement.
In July 2009, he attended a birther meeting with lawyer Orly Taitz. The following passage comes from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
Emery said he questions Obama's citizenship and he believes his alleged lack of a legitimate birth certificate ignores the Constitution.
Emery is also an advocate of the so-called Fair Tax, which, coupled with his anti-public education beliefs, has made him a magnet for the millionaires who are trying to remake Missouri into their image.
Quarterly financial reports filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission show that Emery has raised more than twice as much money as his primary opponent, Rep. Scott Largent, R-Clinton. Emery has received $150,039.16 in contributions, compared to $67,030 for Largent.
That fundraising advantage, however, only exists because of Missouri's wild-west campaign laws which put no limits on the amount one person or PAC can contribute to a candidate. Of Emery's $150K, $140,000 comes from two sources- $100,000 from the Humphreys family of Joplin ($50,000 contributions from mother and son Ethelmae and David Humphreys) and $40,000 from the Missouri Club for Growth, which has received nearly all of its funding from retired billionaire Rex Sinquefield.
This is just one state senate race, but it could be a sign of things to come across the country if we keep moving in this dangerous direction that equates financial contributions with free speech. Certainly a system where the free speech rights of Americans depend solely on how much they have in their checkbooks is not what our founding fathers intended.