Throughout my 40 years of teaching, I have known many people who professed to be advocates for children, education, and the public good. Many of them sincere in their efforts who contributed mightily to the educational system and political discourse we share in Montana. The list is far too lengthy to acknowledge each of them now – perhaps in a later tome’. For now, I want to acknowledge a person who I believe to have contributed as much or more than anyone to our educational system, a person who has been a tireless advocate for children, a person who is of the highest of integrity: Ms. Denise Juneau. Let me briefly explain why I have such profound respect for this woman.
Denise is the daughter of two highly respected parents, Stan and Carol – advocates for education in their own right. And because of the respect she has for her parents, as such, she has followed in their footsteps. And as any educator knows, you can “talk the talk, but you must walk the walk.” The only way you teach respect is by modeling it. Denise is a prime example of the adage that “knowledge is power.” She is a graduate of Harvard School of Education and the University of Montana School of Law. She has used her education to become one of the most valued public servants the state of Montana has had in its history by becoming the first Native American elected to a state executive office in the United States. She has empowered teachers throughout the state by helping to shepherd the groundbreaking Indian Education For All law. She has helped to increase Montana’s graduation rate by initiating the Graduation Matters program. As a public servant, Juneau stands as a model for others. She is selfless in her motivation yet ambitious to accomplish meaningful progress for our state.
Denise Juneau has stood for all people, young and old, rich or poor throughout her career. It is time that the people of Montana send Ms. Juneau, a person of integrity, to represent us in Congress.
David R. James
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