September 12, 2000

Lazio Speaks at Elmira

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Cornell Leaders for Lazio traveled to Elmira College yesterday to show their support for Congressman Rick Lazio, New York State Senate candidate, who delivered a speech highlighting his plans for education in New York State.

Cornell Leaders for Lazio is a diverse group of Republicans, Democrats, Independents and Greens who share a general interest in having a “New York born and bred candidate,” rather than focusing on issues specifically affiliated with political parties, said Amy Gershkoff ’02, chair of the Cornell College Republicans.

“We had registered Democrats there, and they just wanted to show their support for Lazio,” she said.

“We were there to greet him and share our enthusiasm,” Gershkoff said. “We held our signs and chanted ‘Rick, Rick, Rick.'”

Lazio outlined his support of school vouchers and merit-based pay for teachers, according to Gershkoff.

Among his detailed plans and proposals for education reform in New York State, Lazio emphasized flexibility and accountability, she said.

Lazio called for an end to excessive regulation by the federal government yesterday, in an effort to give local school districts more flexibility in handling their own affairs.

“He would like school districts to have the flexibility to decide how they can best spend federal funds,” she added. “But he also added the idea of accountability, in terms of making sure school districts that receive federal funds are improving in the areas they targeted.”

Lazio also touched on the affordability of higher education, according to The Elmira Octagon.

“The cost of college is high and getting higher pushing the chance of the American dream beyond the reach of too many talented young people,” Lazio told the crowd of 200 students, administrators and community members.

The congressman advocates a $1,500-a-year tax credit toward the cost of higher education as well as allowing families to make Individual Retirement Account withdrawals to cover the costs of college.

Lazio supports a ‘two strikes and teachers are out’ plan, giving teachers only two chances to pass their certification tests. If a prospective teacher fails the certification tests twice, they will be disqualified from taking it again. Lazio also favors a system where teachers are tested regularly for competency and not just at the beginning of their careers, according to The Elmira Octagon.

According to The Octagon, aside from The Star-Gazette, The Corning Leader and the local TV affiliates, the college also hosted reporters from The Associated Press, The New York Times, The Dallas Morning News, The New York Post and The New York Daily News.

Archived article by Tanvi Chheda