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Ralph Reed's strategies

Ralph Reed, the man who built the Christian Coalition into a national political force, may soon be running school board races throughout the country.

Mr. Reed announced late last month that he will start his own political-consulting firm to advise candidates for local office when he leaves his job as the coalition's executive director on Sept. 1.

The new firm, called Century Strategies, will help "pro-family, pro-life, and pro-free enterprise candidates at every level of government," he said April 23 in announcing his departure from the 1.9 million-member coalition.

"Century Strategies' primary focus will be on building a 'farm team' of hundreds of state legislative, school board, and local candidates across the country," he added.

Mr. Reed's role in school board politics will not be new. For years, the Christian Coalition has trained members on organizing school board campaigns.

On the national level, the 8-year-old group has actively supported publicly funded vouchers for parents to redeem at the private and religious schools of their choice.

Partisan parenting

Assaulting the opposing party's education proposals is a common practice on Capitol Hill. But one ranking Democrat recently found that even playing the role of a proud parent meant taking heat from the Republican leadership.

Rep. Dale Kildee, D-Mich., could not help bragging about his son, Paul, when the president of Paul's alma mater, Michigan State University, testified at a recent House hearing on higher education costs.

But Rep. Bill Goodling, R-Pa., who chairs the House Education and the Workforce Committee, could not resist some teasing. He told the audience that the panel's next higher education hearing would probe whether Mr. Kildee pulled strings to help his son earn a diploma.

Mr. Kildee responded that his son graduated with a B-plus average and was commissioned in the Army upon graduation.

Mr. Goodling shot back: "Well, I have met his mother."

After a few seconds, Mr. Kildee laughed along with the standing-room-only audience.

--DAVID J. HOFF & JOETTA L. SACK [email protected]

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