Kansas First Lady Mary Brownback says it’s important to promote literacy. “If you can’t read, it’s awfully hard to get a job, and you can’t develop to your full potential,” she opined wisely in an interview which appears in today’s Lawrence Journal-World.
And so the governor’s wife is launching the Kansas Book Festival, an annual event which will open next Saturday at the Kansas Historical Society in Topeka. In attendance will be more than 30 writers from Kansas or who have strong Kansas connections.
It isn’t clear who’s going to pay for all this. According to the Journal-World, Mrs. Brownback established the festival as a nonprofit organization, with the goal of it becoming a self-sufficient organization within a few years. She believes it will also enable the organization to give out grants to school and public libraries around the state.
And what does her husband think of all this? That isn’t clear either, but here’s a quick look at how Kansas Governor Sam Brownback voted in Congress on various matters with regard to education.
Gov. Brownback voted NO on spending $338B of tax cut on education & debt reduction (4 April 2001).
Gov. Brownback voted NO on funding smaller classes instead of private tutors (15 May 2001).
Gov. Brownback voted NO on shifting $11B from corporate tax loopholes to education (17 March 2005).
Gov. Brownback voted NO on $5B for grants to local educational agencies (26 October 2005).
Gov. Brownback voted NO on $52M for “21st century community learning centers (27 October 2005).
Gov. Brownback voted NO on additional $10.2B for federal education & HHS projects (23 October 2006).
Gov. Brownback voted NO on the College Cost Reduction and Access Act (27 September 2007).
And, of course, Gov. Brownback does not believe in evolution, nor in global warming.
I think Mary Brownback has her job cut out for her. If she wants the Kansas Book Festival to be properly funded, she’ll need Sam’s support. She needs to get him to read her lips. To that end, she should herself begin by reading Lysistrata, the ancient Greek comedy by Aristophanes, which shows women how best to get their husbands to give them what they want, by getting off their backs.
Good luck, and good night.