Earlier this week Roll Call reported that Rep. Todd Platts (R-PA) would not be seeking a seventh term in the House of Representatives. Platts was elected to represent the 19th District of Pennsylvania in 2000, succeeding longtime Rep. William Goodling.
Rep. Goodling, a former chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, was the author of the federal Even Start Family Literacy program, and continues to be a strong proponent of family literacy.
Rep. Platts continued in the tradition left by his predecessor. In April of 2009, for example, Rep. Platts and Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY) wrote a letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Committee urging them to include $150 million for Even Start in the House FY 2012 appropriations bill. (Even Start’s funding had dropped to $66 million annually by this point.)
Even in 2011, when there was tremendous pressure on Republicans in the House to cut programs, Rep. Platts continued to fight for Even Start. In February, he wrote a letter to House Appropriations Committee Chairman Harold Rogers in support of retaining Even Start funding in the FY2011 Continuing Resolutions (CR) bill. (Unfortunately, Even Start funding was ultimately eliminated in the short-term CR that Congress passed in mid-March.) In May, when the House Education and the Workforce Committee met to consider the first of several ESEA reform bills, (HR 1891), Rep. Platts moved to strike the repeal of Even Start that was contained in the bill. Ultimately, his amendment failed, but it was encouraging to see a Republican on the commitee fighting for this program.