“What I hope to do is to really bring about some genuine reform in our education system—in K-12 and higher education,” said Carlyle. “I have four young children, and that’s the heart and soul of who I am and why I ran for office.”
Carlyle has worked on the committee during the last two sessions, but this is his first in a leadership position.
The state’s education system is moving in a troubling direction that warrants immediate and profound action, according to Carlyle. He said this area of state government distresses him the most and characterizes the shift of funding from the state to the students as “a disaster waiting to happen.”
“The state is retreating from its obligation to open the doors of access to higher education, and it’s going to become more and more elite and privatized,” Carlyle said. “But there’s many of us giving it all we have fighting tooth and nail to try to educate the public about the value of changing course and really being much more aggressive about allowing everybody to access higher education, not just a small segment of society.”
Photo from Carlyle’s Facebook page.
Carlyle will also serve as a member of the budget-writing Ways and Means Committee. This is his first time serving on the committee, which is especially critical given the state’s current economic woes.
“Our economy is going through the most extraordinary structural change in generations,” Carlyle said. “This is a time to break down old clichés and old stereotypes about state government and about taxes and services and to really honor the will of the public to rebuild our state.”
In the December special session, $588 million of the $1.6 billion budget deficit for the current budget cycle was addressed. How to address the remaining amount is the Ways and Means Committee’s first problem, before moving onto the projected $4.6 billion shortfall in the two-year budget starting in July.
“It’s time we thoughtfully lay out our state’s priorities and do our best to fund them,” Carlyle said. “I’ll be challenging colleagues to start fresh with our budgeting, and put dollars where we can unleash opportunity and the entrepreneurial spirit in our state.”
Also serving on the Ways and Means Committee are Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles and Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson, both representing the 36th district.
Carlyle will continue to serve on the Technology, Energy and Communications Committee, and hopes to use his voice to bring technological efficiency to the state infrastructure. The current session will run from Jan 10 to April 24.