A letter to my old D.A.R.E. officer

DARE and alcohol

I’d encourage anyone else I know who had Sgt. Stakoe as their DARE officer in elementary school to shoot him a letter — something short… it couldn’t hurt.

Dear Representative Stakoe,

Though I no longer live in your district, I grew up in Milford and had the privilege of having you as my DARE officer at Kurtz Elementary School, years ago. It always was exciting to talk to a real police officer as a young kid, and you related well to each student. I gave the speech at the DARE graduation ceremony — it was exciting, and something to remember. As I’ve talked to my classmates after graduating high school, many remember the excitement of holding the DARE bear in class, and nearly all remember you vividly. Clearly, you cared a great deal for education and for working with students then, and I imagine you feel the same way now.

That is why I am asking that through the negotiations on the budget mess in Lansing now, you don’t forget about the students of Michigan. While there is waste in government, and there are clearly ways Michigan could save money, it should not do so by cutting funding to K-12 schools and higher education, or by forgoing the recommended 2.5% increase in funding to K-12, higher ed, and community colleges proposed in the Governor’s budget recommendations. The Cherry Commission found that expanding access to education in our state was critical, especially as we transition away from a manufacturing-based economy. Over the last ten years, Michigan ranks 47th among all states in terms of increases in per student appropriations for education, and consequently fewer and fewer of our state’s students are able to afford college compared to other states. I’m fortunate to be able to attend Michigan State University, but others just as qualified do not have the same privilege. Cutting funding to higher education, community colleges, and K-12 education in this state would only make things worse, and would in effect be taxing those students who are scraping by to afford college by the inevitable tuition increases that would follow. Don’t balance the budget on the backs of Michigan’s students; to do so would be counterproductive to the long-term goal of making our state a place for people to invest in and an attractive place to move to.

I know these must be incredibly difficult times to be a state legislator, with criticism coming from all sides for seemingly everything you guys do. However, I’m confident that you won’t forget Michigan’s students in the negotiations. We haven’t forgotten you.

Thank you very much,

Graham Davis
East Lansing, MI


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Graham Davis lives in Lansing, Michigan.

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