In case you may have missed it… here in New Jersey we will be electing a new governor in 2 weeks. Being a "homer" this is really important. It is hard to give advice to other states and communities if you do not use it yourself. Much of what we do around the country is based on experiences and knowledge developed here in NJ.
When you consider Governor Huckbee's comment that "A seat in the statehouse is better than 100 people on the steps" we wondered what our gubernatorial candidates thought about arts education. The Star Ledger, one of our states leading papers, published lengthy interviews with both candidates. Here are the relevant questions and answers:

Jon Corzine, (D)

Q: Is government support of the arts essential?
A: Yes. I think the arts are some thing that bridge the differences in our society, and we are in New Jersey an extraordinarily diverse society. And we have the ability to pull ourselves together. Conservatives and liberals may very well enjoy the same art. It's a place where people can touch each others lives across racial, gender, political, all kinds of lines. It enlightens our lives. It's an extraordinary, positive ingredient.
Now, saying that government has a role to be involved? Every thing has to be done in a context of prioritization and balance. Do I believe we ought to teach and expose our children to arts? Yes. Do I think society ought to invest? Within our means, yes.
Q: Do you consider yourself artistic?
A: I'm hopeless. I can't carry a tune, can't brush a stroke. I enjoy music, dance and watching people who know what they’re doing.
Q: Did you ever try to play a musical instrument in school?
A: Oh, yeah. I had to take six years of piano lessons, and I can barely do a C scale. I took the clarinet for six years, from 6th grade on. I was the president of the band, and I sat last place among 21 clarinets.
Star Ledger Interview with Jon Corzine

Doug Forrester, (R)

Q: Do you consider government support of the arts a frill?
A: No.
Q: What level would you support it at?
A: At exactly the right level.
Q: Which is?
A: These follow-up questions are killing me.
No, I think the arts are very close to the purpose of life. I believe that it's important. Arts education is very important. I am a big advocate of arts education. And I believe the arts are economically helpful, and I think the best way for the state to be involved in the arts is actually through capital commitments. I am less enthused with support for specific artists, but I would like to relieve art organizations of capital expenditures.
Q: Museums, theatres …
A: That's right. The bricks and mortar of artistic enterprise is expensive. It's much better for art organizations to raise funds and use their own discretion and wisdom about how to facilitate particular performances and presentations.
Q: Do you consider yourself artistic?
A: I would hope that in retrospect my governance of New Jersey would be considered very creative in a positive way.
Star Ledger Interview with Doug Forrester

I think it is great to have a former high school band president running for office. I think it is even better that both candidates are even discussing their views on arts education.
This is progress.

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