Monday, February 28, 2005

Cheri Yecke announces bid for Congress

Posted by Craig Westover | 5:46 AM |  

The following press release information was provided by the "Yecke for Congress" committee.

Former Education Commissioner Cheri Yecke announces bid for Congress

Yecke pledges to take her conservative record of “getting things done” to Washington for the people of the Sixth Congressional District

Anoka, MN – Surrounded by over 100 supporters at the Anoka American Legion, former Education Commissioner Cheri Pierson Yecke announced today that she is running for Congress in the Sixth Congressional District where the seat is being vacated by Congressman Mark Kennedy.

“When one door closes, another one always opens,” said Yecke. “I still have the desire to serve the people of Minnesota as a public servant. My conservative record of accomplishments and experience in both state and federal government will help me make an immediate impact in Washington for the families and taxpayers of the Sixth District.”

“I want to go to Washington to help hold the line on taxes and spending, work to defend life and traditional marriage, and stand with President Bush as he leads the War on Terror. My husband spent 20 years in the Marine Corps, and my son-in-law is a Marine who was recently deployed overseas to play his part in the war effort. I know firsthand the sacrifices our soldiers and military families make to keep our country safe and free. I will work to ensure that our troops receive all of the support they need to make the world a safer place for generations to come. And I will work to ensure that our veterans receive the help that a grateful nation should provide.”

Yecke is best known for her bold leadership on the issue of education reform. Before returning home to Minnesota, Yecke served under Governor George Allen on the State Board of Education in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and then under Governor Jim Gilmore as Deputy Secretary and then Secretary of Education for Virginia. She was then tapped by the Bush administration to serve in the U.S. Department of Education.

In each of her roles, Yecke has been a tireless advocate for citizen control of education policy, parental choice, and accountability to the taxpayers.

Although her tenure as Governor Tim Pawlenty’s point person on education lasted only 16 months, Yecke spearheaded some of the most sweeping education reforms in recent memory, including:

Scrapping the Profile of Learning and implementing new standards that are rigorous, knowledge-based, and that establish high academic expectations for our children.

Requiring public accountability from our schools through such things as annual school performance report cards that include an objective rating system for our schools.

Reorganizing the “Department of Children, Family and Learning” by shrinking bureaucracy, imposing efficiency, and leading the charge to rename the agency the Minnesota Department of Education.

Yecke, a Republican, is strongly committed to seeking and abiding by the endorsement of the delegates to the Sixth District Convention, which takes place in the spring of 2006.

Yecke was born and raised in St. Paul and attended grade school at St. Mark’s. She graduated from St. Agnes High School in 1973. She met her husband Dennis in high school and married shortly after he joined the U.S. Marine Corps. They have been married for 31 years.

Over the course of his 20-year career in the military, they were stationed in Hawaii, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Virginia, and Minnesota. During his overseas deployments, Yecke remained behind and raised their two daughters: Anastasia (28) and Tiffany (25). Tiffany was married last year to Captain Aaron Brooks, U.S.M.C.

Dr. Yecke currently serves as the Distinguished Senior Fellow for Education and Social Policy at Center of the American Experiment.

Minnesota’s Sixth Congressional District covers all of Benton, Sherburne and Wright Counties, and most of Anoka, Stearns and Washington Counties.


Cheri Pierson Yecke, Ph.D.

An award-winning middle school teacher, Dr. Yecke received a bachelor's degree in history from the University of Hawaii; a master's of science degree in teaching from the University of Wisconsin; and a Ph.D. in educational psychology from the University of Virginia.

Dr. Yecke is a noted author, researcher, and presenter whose works have appeared across the country in newspapers, magazines, and peer-reviewed journals. As a Senior Fellow with American Experiment, she has authored numerous commentary pieces and three studies. Her study on the misuse of tax dollars for political purposes, Kids Schools and Politics, has resulted in the introduction of a bill in the Minnesota legislature aimed at curbing such abuses.

In July 2004, Cheri Pierson Yecke was named the Distinguished Senior Fellow for Education and Social Policy at the Center of the American Experiment. In this position, she is furthering the Center’s nationally recognized leadership with hard-hitting and provocative analyses of education and contemporary social issues.

Dr. Yecke served on the Virginia State Board of Education under Governor George Allen (1995-1998) and then was Virginia’s Deputy Secretary of Education (1998-2001) and Secretary of Education (2001-2002) under Governor Jim Gilmore. She also served as the Director of Teacher Quality and Public School Choice at the U.S. Department of Education for the Bush administration (2002-2003), during which time she was detailed to the White House as a senior advisor for USA Freedom Corps. Dr. Yecke then became the Commissioner of Education for the State of Minnesota for Governor Tim Pawlenty (2003-2004). In all of these positions, she played a key role in establishing rigorous standards and meaningful statewide accountability systems.

Dr. Yecke’s new book, The War Against Excellence: The Rising Tide of Mediocrity in America's Middle Schools, was published in 2003 and will be released in paperback in the spring of 2005 (see Former Secretary of Education Bill Bennett wrote the foreword for this book.

She and her husband Dennis have two grown daughters and reside in Blaine, Minnesota. She is currently seeking the Republican endorsement for the 6th District Congressional seat.