Letter: Austin you’re my home — so I’m gonna vote Yes on April 9

Published 8:28 am Friday, April 5, 2019

For the last ten years my family and I have been fortunate to call Austin, Minnesota our home. We left Minnesota in 1995, traveling far and wide in pursuit of my scientific career. When we moved my laboratory from Notre Dame to the Hormel institute in 2009, we had just lost my mother to advanced stage ovarian cancer, and as a family we were all a bit worn out.

In January we arrived in Austin, and our twins began in the Banfield second grade classroom of Mrs. Davis. I remember this, because my wife Gretchen and I were holding on to one very important truth: everybody we talked to in Austin told us “We have great schools here, don’t worry about your kids.” And how right they were, because Austin has an outstanding school system. In the ten years we have lived here, we have witnessed how the people of Austin are committed to providing outstanding education for all children and their families. We have observed the unparalleled academics at all levels, and marveled at the commitment to the arts in our schools. And we have enjoyed cheering along with our friends and neighbors as the Packers (and the Shamrocks) have excelled during tournament time. As I look back, I could not envision my two children receiving a better educational experience anywhere in the country, and that is due to the hard work and sacrifice of all the people who built this community and made it such a great place to live and work.

Now, as our two children prepare to graduate from Austin High School, we are faced with an important decision: whether to vote yes on April 9th and support the building of a new Early Childhood Learning Center at Woodson. As my wife and I prepare to see our children leave the nest, we have thought a lot about how this community was there for us. Years before we arrived here, the people of Austin built an outstanding school system that gave my children everything they needed and allowed them to succeed. So there really is no choice for me and my family. All four of us will be voting yes, and in doing so, provide our support to the next generation of families that are fortunate enough to call Austin home.

Email newsletter signup

As a scientist, I would like to remind the reader about the experimental data supporting the idea that early childhood (before Kindergarten) is perhaps the most critical in a child’s neurodevelopment. By providing developmentally-appropriate programming and support for social-emotional development we are ensuring that all children are ready for kindergarten and beyond. And I hasten to point out that the new early childhood learning center will help alleviate a wait-list for the existing CLC facility, rather than effecting other daycare centers and home child care providers in our community, all of whom play crucial roles in providing for our children. Now more than ever our young families need us to support them by Voting Yes on April 9.

Thank you,

Edward “Ted” Hinchcliffe, Ph.D.

IJ Holton Professor, Hormel Institute

University of  Minnesota