Editorial: Senator stepped a bit too far

Nov. 23, 2013 @ 01:15 AM

You have to feel for people who say things that make themselves sound like heartless buffoons and don’t even realize it.

For instance, state Sen. Dan Soucek, who lives in Watauga County but represents a district that encompasses Caldwell County. Soucek organized a town hall meeting Thursday night at Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute to talk about education and the changes that the General Assembly has been making to it.

Soucek, like Rep. Edgar Starnes before him, gets high marks for being willing to come to town and look people in the eye and defend things that he voted for that teachers feel are undermining them and hurting schools.

Also like Starnes, Soucek owned up to backing some mistakes.

But when it came to the legislature’s decision to cut funding for teacher assistants, Soucek stuck to his party’s guns – and shot himself in the foot by suggesting that teachers should really be upset with the Caldwell County Board of Commissioners for not providing funding the assistants.

“We don’t say, 'You can’t have them in those grades,’” Soucek said. “We say, ‘You’re going to have to find the funds elsewhere.’”

And where exactly would that money be? The giant, magic pot of money that the commissioners have been hoarding? Or does Soucek think that this county’s Republican commissioners have so larded up their own budget with unneeded spending that it should be easy to find plenty of things to cut in order to repurpose the money for teacher assistants?

Sorry, Senator. You’re not getting a passing grade on this particular test.