By guest blogger Andrew Ujifusa. Crossposted from State Ed Watch.
Former U.S. Sen. Jim Webb has declared that he will seek the presidency in 2016 as a Democrat.
Webb, who also served as the Secretary of the Navy, was a Democratic senator from Virginia from 2007 to 2013. He doesn’t have the kind of thick record on K-12 issues that Hillary Clinton does. But in his 2007 response to the State of the Union speech delivered by then-President George W. Bush, Webb stated near the start of his speech that “we in the Democratic Party hope that this administration is serious about improving education and healthcare for all Americans.”
He’s paid some attention to higher education issues—in the same speech, when discussing the troubles facing the country’s middle class, he said that “College tuition rates are off the charts.” And in 2010, Webb received the “Award for Strengthening U.S. Workforce through Education” from the Educational Policy Institute for providing veterans of conflicts after the Sept. 11, 2011 terrorist attack educational benefits similar to those received by World War II veterans.
In a 2008 interview with Esquire magazine, Webb also touched on education beyond K-12 as an area of interest:
“We tend to label kids early on and we’ve gotten worse at it rather than better over the years. And not just kids. One of the things that I’m going to try to get into over the next year or so is adult education. Where we continue to focus on early childhood education, but there’s a lot of people in this country who got off track when they’re sixteen, seventeen years old. Maybe somebody had a baby and then left school and weren’t able to go, or whatever. That’s an overlooked group, the young to middle-aged adult, who’s gotten off track and still could do some great things if they could just find an on-ramp.”
In 2007, Webb, along with Republican Sen. John Warner, introduced a bill that would have delayed sanctions under No Child Left Behind for Virginia school districts based on how they tested English-language learners.
Webb joins Clinton, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley as contenders for the Democratic nomination for president.