Heading for Congress

first_imgThe campaign’s over. Time to govern.The differences between the black-and-white rigors of an election campaign and the nuanced work of being an effective lawmaker were brought home to two dozen incoming congressmen this week, in the biennial Bipartisan Program for Newly Elected Members of Congress, held at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.Sixteen Republicans and eight Democrats spent four days at Harvard, getting to know future colleagues and listening to authorities on a variety of key topics on which they’ll soon be drafting legislation, debating, and voting.Todd Young, a Republican who will represent Indiana’s 9th Congressional District, said he often attends conferences with the expectation that networking will be valuable but that little new will come from presentations. This time, he was pleasantly surprised not just at the quality of the discussions — often given by leaders in the fields — but also at the balance of perspectives, with conservative, moderate, and progressive viewpoints all in play.“I’ve been very impressed by the quality of our panelists,” Young said. “I’ve also been impressed by the diversity of opinions.”The conference, which began Tuesday (Nov. 30) and ran through Friday, was the 19th such session organized by Harvard’s Institute of Politics (IOP). Christian Flynn, one of the event’s organizers, said bipartisanship is a key element of the session, which provides a venue for cross-aisle relationships and communications that can be scarce in Washington, D.C.“This is the only place it happens,” Flynn said. “They don’t get that in Washington.”Flynn said the conference is intended to give incoming lawmakers some background on key subjects — the economy, education, and foreign policy among them — that they’ll be dealing with in the years ahead. The speakers included Eliot University Professor Lawrence Summers, the former Obama and Clinton administration economic adviser and Harvard president, who spoke about the fiscal issues, trade, and North Korea, and who also offered pointers on how to get along in Washington. Continuing on that theme were three former White House chiefs of staff, who discussed how to work with the White House; former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who discussed foreign policy; and an array of education experts, including former Bush Education Secretary Margaret Spellings, who talked about academic reform.The education reform discussion, which was the only session open to the media, featured a frank, lively airing of the problems facing elementary and secondary schools. The panel, led by Harvard Graduate School of Education Dean Kathleen McCartney, featured Spellings, who is an IOP fellow this fall, former Washington, D.C., schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee, who aggressively moved to install reforms, and New York University Professor Pedro Noguera.Much of the discussion centered on the national No Child Left Behind Act, passed in 2001. Despite the high-profile legislation’s emphasis on testing and improving underperforming schools, Rhee said that American education remains in crisis. U.S. students, she said, finish near the bottom of a list of 30 industrialized nations in academic achievement. Rhee identified the obstacles to getting rid of bad teachers as a key impediment to improving education.None of the speakers disagreed with Rhee’s harsh assessment, but Spellings cautioned against reopening debate on No Child Left Behind, saying it would put a wide array of topics on the table, not all of which would be helpful. Several panelists said that success stories are out there that could be used as examples on how to improve struggling schools.Billy Long, a Republican from Missouri’s 7th District, described the complexity of the problems highlighted in the sessions as “daunting.” He added that he wished more incoming legislators from his own party had attended. He said he has offered his services two years from now to spread the word among Republicans on the conference’s value.Harvard President Drew Faust also addressed the group, reaching back into the nation’s contentious early days for lessons from President Thomas Jefferson. At the time of Jefferson’s inauguration, his Democratic-Republican Party was at odds with Alexander Hamilton’s Federalists, but Jefferson made a point in his inaugural address to stress the importance of working together. Faust quoted Jefferson: “We have called by different names brethren of the same principle. We are all Republicans, we are all Federalists.”Faust said she hoped the legislators’ time at Harvard proves helpful as the new members seek common ground in addressing the major challenges the nation faces. Faust emphasized the role of higher education and university-based research in providing answers to many of the problems facing the world today, whether fighting illness, devising technological solutions for more efficient power, or providing expertise in dealing with other nations.“I am hard-pressed to think about a single challenge we face which scientific research and other university-based expertise can’t help address,” Faust said, “and I hope you will call on us, not only in these times of such extraordinary challenge and change, but throughout your career in public office.”Faust struck an optimistic note about the work of the incoming Congress, saying the new members’ presence at Harvard indicates their eagerness to learn, their openness to new ideas, and their willingness to listen to others.“Your presence here makes me optimistic about what the 112th Congress can accomplish, and I am grateful for your service,” Faust said.last_img read more

Ben & Jerry’s to go completely ‘Fair Trade’ by 2013

first_imgBen & Jerry’s Homemade, Inc,Ben & Jerry s announces its commitment to go fully Fair Trade across its entire global flavor portfolio. From Americone Dream to Chocolate Fudge Brownie, all of the flavors in all of the countries where Ben & Jerry s is sold will be converted to Fair Trade Certified ingredients by the end of 2013.Ben & Jerry s was the first ice cream company in the world to use Fair Trade Certified ¢ ingredients starting in 2005, and today it s racing ahead as the first ice cream company to make such a significant commitment to Fair Trade across its global portfolio.Company co-founder Jerry Greenfield said, Fair Trade is about making sure people get their fair share of the pie. The whole concept of Fair Trade goes to the heart of our values and sense of right and wrong. Nobody wants to buy something that was made by exploiting somebody else.Ben & Jerry s Fair Trade commitment means that every ingredient that can be sourced Fair Trade Certified, now or in the future, is Fair Trade Certified. Globally, this involves converting up to 121 different chunks and swirls, working across eleven different ingredients such as cocoa, banana, vanilla and other flavorings, fruits, and nuts. It also means working with Fair Trade cooperatives that total a combined membership of over 27,000 farmers.Rob Cameron, Chief Executive of Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International (FLO) said, Congratulations to Ben & Jerry s on the scale and the depth of this commitment to take their whole range Fair Trade. Tackling poverty and sustainable agriculture through trade may not be easy but it is always worth it, and Ben & Jerry s has demonstrated real leadership in laying out this long-term ambition to engage with smallholders, who grow nuts, bananas, vanilla, cocoa and other Fair Trade-certified ingredients. Ben & Jerry s, like all of us in the Fair Trade movement, believe that people can have fun standing up to injustice and campaigning against poverty while enjoying some of Ben & Jerry s best-selling favorites like Phish Food and Chocolate Fudge Brownie, how cool is that.Paul Rice, President and CEO of TransFair USA, says, Ben & Jerry s has been a model for socially responsible business for 32 years, proving that being responsible and sustainable are good for business. Their entry into Fair Trade in 2005 builds on that history and has had a real impact on the lives of family farmers around the world. By converting their ingredients to Fair Trade, Ben & Jerry s will help galvanize its suppliers to join the Fair Trade movement. That represents a huge leap forward for Fair Trade in the United States, and it s once again the kind of bold, pioneering move for which the company is known and admired.Farmers selling Fair Trade products earn a better income, which allows them to stay on their land. Fair Trade premiums also allow for reinvestment in their farms, their families, their communities and their future. Fair Trade means that certified farmers are using environmentally sound practices to grow and harvest their crops in a sustainable way.About Ben & Jerry sBen & Jerry s produces a wide variety of super-premium ice cream and ice cream novelties, using high-quality ingredients including milk and cream from family farmers who do not treat their cows with the synthetic hormone rBGH. The company states its position on rBGH on its labels. Ben and Jerry s products are distributed nationwide and in selected foreign countries in supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores, franchise Ben & Jerry s Scoop Shops, restaurants and other venues. Ben & Jerry s, a Vermont corporation and wholly-owned subsidiary of Unilever, operates its business on a three-part Mission Statement emphasizing product quality, economic reward and a commitment to the community. The goal of the social mission is to integrate a concern for the community into as many day to day business operations as possible while maintaining the product and economic missions. The move to Fair Trade ingredients is driven by that commitment. For more visit www.benjerry.com(link is external).Source: BURLINGTON, Vt.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Ben & Jerry s. 2.18.2010.last_img read more

Governor Wolf Discusses the Impact of Funding Increases in Delaware County during “Schools that Teach” Roundtable and Tour

first_img SHARE Email Facebook Twitter Press Release,  Schools That Teach Upper Darby, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today continued his “Schools That Teach” tour in Delaware County, where he heard from teachers and administrators in the Upper Darby School District about their plans to ensure that education funding from his 2015-16 budget goes directly into the classroom.“Pennsylvania ranks near the bottom in the country in state funding for K through 12 education and my proposed budget makes historic investments at all levels – early childhood education through higher education,” said Governor Wolf. “After years of funding cuts that resulted in the loss of educators, increased class sizes, and cuts to valuable programs, I want to ensure that the new funding in my budget reaches the classroom and directly impacts student achievement. Focusing on education will allow us to lay the foundation for long-term economic growth.”In a roundtable discussion at Stonehurst Hills Elementary School, Governor Wolf heard from school leaders and stakeholders about their plans to use increased funding for professional development and for the restoration of programs and personnel, particularly reading specialists and math coaches.“This is an important opportunity for districts to have comprehensive conversations about how to invest this funding on proven resources and programs that will improve student learning,” Governor Wolf said. “What is being proposed here in the Upper Darby School District is a prime example of a plan that will ensure this historic education investment reaches the classroom while providing clear benchmarks to measure the results of student achievement.”“When this district had the proper resources and funding, we were improving the academic standing of our students, which, in turn, had a positive impact on the morale of the district and community,” Upper Darby School District Superintendent Dr. Richard Dunlap said. “With proper funding and resources, we believe that we can achieve student success that would mirror, or even surpass, the success that we recognized prior to the state budget cuts.”In March, Department of Education Acting Secretary Pedro Rivera sent a letter to superintendents in all 500 districts detailing accountability measures to ensure the education funding proposed in Governor Wolf’s 2015-2016 budget is spent directly on students in the classroom to allow them to compete in a modern economy. In the letter, Acting Secretary Rivera called on districts to submit plans to ensure this new investment reaches the classroom and to measure results for Pennsylvania’s students.MEDIA CONTACT: Jeff Sheridan – 717.783.1116# # # May 21, 2015center_img Governor Wolf Discusses the Impact of Funding Increases in Delaware County during “Schools that Teach” Roundtable and Tourlast_img read more

New interim administrator Barry Harding is confident SRMC will survive

first_imgby James Jordan, Sumner Newscow — Barry Harding has seen it before, and he is confident the Sumner Regional Medical Center will survive its current difficulties. He started a week or so ago as the interim CEO and CFO, and is charged with turning the situation around. Harding is working for Community Hospital Corporation, the consulting firm that has taken on the turnaround plan for the hospital. The group, paid through the SRMC Foundation, a private organization, did a study and made recommendations in a report that has not been made public. Harding has been in the hospital field for about 30 years, and for the last eight years he has been self employed, taking on projects such as this one. This week, he said the situation the Wellington hospital is in, is not unusual for rural hospitals, and there are bigger ones with the same issues. He works on one project at a time, believing he can do his best by focusing on only one at a time. “I am confident,” Harding said. “I would not have taken on this project if I did not think it could be done.” While there are several changes in store for the hospital, Harding said he is confident there will not be any layoffs, and he said the hospital will not close. He also said the hospital will not be changing the services it offers. “Those things are not going to happen,” he said. He said there are a lot of positives to consider even though the hospital has had its struggles. “I like the people here,” he said. “There is good morale here, very dedicated and loyal employees. He is working closely with the board to implement the plan generated by CHC. “We want to identify opportunities to improve the financial position of the hospital in a variety of ways,” he said. He has worked with CHC in the past, as well as other consulting firms. He worked at Leavenworth, Kansas City and Washington, D.C., to name a few. Harding lives in Dallas and flies to Wichita each Monday morning, and back home Friday night. Compared to previous jobs, this is an easy commute, he said.. “Last year I flew more than 120,000 miles. This is easy,” he said of his weekly commute. He plans on getting an apartment for his stay in Wellington, which will likely be about six months or longer. Harding said he has been working with local physicians to find ways to increase volume. Billing and collecting are always a big issue for rural hospitals, and that is a major obstacle. They are planning on changing the coding system, which is what is created so bills can be created. He believes that will help with billing, which has been a struggle. Last year previous CEO Leonard Hernandez said the hospital was collecting only about 47 cents on the dollar for its services. Hernandez resigned in September and has taken on a similar role in another hospital. Harding said he did not want to comment on the past and wants to look to the future. “We have done some things already, some things are in place, but there are no quick fixes,” he said. “The things we put in place will not materialize tomorrow, but I think in three to six months people should see some real differences.” He said he did a similar project in a small town near Chattanooga, Tenn. There were a lot of similarities in the two projects, and it took about a year to turn the situation around. “When I left there it was on solid footing,” Harding said. The expansion of Medicaid, or the lack of it in Kansas, has been an issue for the hospital. Harding said that is something that is not in his control, so he does not worry much about it. He instead tried to focus on things he can change. Still he has a lot of confidence in SRMC’s future. “You cannot come into this type situation without a high degree of confidence. I am the eternal optimist,” he said. “I believe we can make a change here. There is a need for the hospital in the community, and there is a population to support the hospital. I have been in similar situations before,” he said. “I would not have taken the assignment if I did not believe it could be done. I wanted to go someplace where I can make a difference.”Follow us on Twitter. Close Forgot password? Please put in your email: Send me my password! Close message Login This blog post All blog posts Subscribe to this blog post’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Subscribe to this blog’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Follow the discussion Comments (9) Logging you in… Close Login to IntenseDebate Or create an account Username or Email: Password: Forgot login? Cancel Login Close WordPress.com Username or Email: Password: Lost your password? Cancel Login Dashboard | Edit profile | Logout Logged in as Admin Options Disable comments for this page Save Settings Sort by: Date Rating Last Activity Loading comments… You are about to flag this comment as being inappropriate. Please explain why you are flagging this comment in the text box below and submit your report. The blog admin will be notified. Thank you for your input. -2 Vote up Vote down Wes Smith · 249 weeks ago I’m looking forward to hearing what his plans are…but not paying $20 for it. Sorry, had to get that one last jab in over the Endowment Foundations Dec 5th shing ding. Report Reply 0 replies · active 249 weeks ago +15 Vote up Vote down Tracie · 249 weeks ago How about sending out the bills in a timely manner, instead of taking over a year to send them out. I’m stuck with a bill that I have to pay out of pocket because it took a year (not kidding) to get a bill. Now I can’t use my flexible spending account because the bill date is in a seperate year from the service date. Guess I’ll just take my sweet time paying it off. Report Reply 1 reply · active 248 weeks ago +3 Vote up Vote down Margie · 248 weeks ago I to got a bill from the hospital 21/2 years after I was seen in ER. I will be sending copies to the hospital board. Please bring back our business office. Report Reply +2 Vote up Vote down JustMe · 249 weeks ago I’m a bit confused about the relationship between the SRMC Foundation, the SRMC and the city. The hospital is city owned now, right? The Foundation, a private entity, hired the consulting firm to put together a plan to get the hospital financially stable. Harding works for the firm. So does the city have no hand in this? If not, why? And why is a private foundation controlling a city owned entity? Or am I way off? Report Reply 1 reply · active 248 weeks ago +1 Vote up Vote down robert zimmerman · 248 weeks ago The foundation does not run the hospital. it is more a fund raising type operation . the hospital board hired the consulting firm .. the foundation has nothing to do with the study directly except that they helped pay for it . . the city still owns the hospital and it is run by SCRM board of directors Report Reply +24 Vote up Vote down Nancy · 249 weeks ago Before the second guessing and back stabbing gets too deep: Let’s be thankful we have someone with a POSITIVE attitude and some expertise trying to help us work this out. Come on: Give him a chance. We need new ideas and enthusiasm. No matter where they come from! Report Reply 0 replies · active 249 weeks ago +9 Vote up Vote down Hmmm….. · 249 weeks ago I have also talked with the new CEO and find him very positive. I have personally seen changes already. Working managers, surgery picking up and helping out on the floor. Everyone is cautiously smiling again. I pray for this to work out, and am excited to see what he does. There is the underlying feeling of unease hanging on in the building. The way employees are treated and informed of information still has a ways to go. We will all just have to wait and see what happens. Things appear to be looking up from the inside, now it’s all about bringing in the money. Report Reply 0 replies · active 249 weeks ago +15 Vote up Vote down Alex · 249 weeks ago I am very hopeful that this gentleman will be able to turn it around! One suggestion would be to make changes with the ER and the primary doctor on call. It can be frustrating to go to the ER for a bona fide emergency, be charged a large amount of money, be treated rudely by the doctor and then later have a specialist tell you that the ER doctor handled it wrong and you’re lucky to be alive. That alone makes one want to avoid our local ER/hospital and head to Wichita. Report Reply 0 replies · active 249 weeks ago +5 Vote up Vote down Wanda K · 248 weeks ago I too have met Barry and I’m encouraged by his positive attitude and energy. I will be attending the SRMC Endowment Foundation event on Dec 5…showing my support for the Foundation, SRMC and the SRMC employees. Report Reply 0 replies · active 248 weeks ago Post a new comment Enter text right here! Comment as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments Comments by IntenseDebate Enter text right here! Reply as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Cancel Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new commentslast_img read more