Hayworth Education Land Grant Act

J.D. Hayworth describes his work as a congressman on the Hayworth Education Land Grant Act of 2000 (HELGA) and it's national impact on K-12 education. He talks about the law continuing the land-grant mission in education.

Interview on 2015-07-11

Transcript

00:00:00.000 In 1860 one of the chief planks in Abraham Lincoln's run for the presidency was the Land Grant Act.
00:00:11.075 Justin Smith Morrill, the congressman from Vermont, had come to him saying, "Look, we have all these railroad rights of way that we're not using.
00:00:23.191 Let's grant it back to the states so that land can be sold and the proceeds can be used for institutions of higher learning, or portions of the land itself can be used for the campuses."
00:00:33.547 That's how North Carolina State University was born, and the University of Arizona and other institutions, and that unique land grant mission.
00:00:42.440 So I got thinking there needed to be a land grant for the twenty-first century, not for colleges but for K-12 education.
00:00:55.419 . So what we were able to do was put together a uniform act and I announced it, that my intention [was] to develop the new Education Land Grant Act.
00:01:06.332 What we did was we amended, I believe, the Town Site Act, and I won't get into all the legislative arcana, but suffice it to say we set up a uniform way for these school districts with no tax base
00:01:20.333 base to apply for conveyances of federal land up to ten acres, as long as it was not environmentally sensitive,
00:01:28.390 and it would be devoted to educational purposes, and it made a big difference in a lot of places. The most curious visitor I had
00:01:37.237 was a lady from outside Philadelphia who showed up in a hat kind of like Bella Abzug would wear in the day. She says, "Congressman, do you realize what you're doing?"
00:01:46.478 I said, "Yeah," and she said, "Well, it's not only for the rural areas, but there are plenty of districts in urban and suburban areas who can get help from this."
00:01:55.951 But, boy; it attracted-. Suddenly, you fast forward a couple of years, and my staff, perhaps knowing their boss and his vanity,
00:02:05.796 But, boy; it attracted-. Suddenly, you fast forward a couple of years, and my staff, perhaps knowing their boss and his vanity,
00:02:11.694 [Laughs] It's not the name, but it sounded good to me and it was an easy acronym to use.
00:02:15.176 But HELGA actually has created quite a few schools and, what was really interesting, up-.
00:02:21.243 In western North Carolina, as you know, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia kind of converge up there.
00:02:27.768 . I got a call. They were having a big ceremony in a rural mountain county in Georgia because a HELGA school, they were doing a groundbreaking
00:02:40.445 and I said, "Look, that's nice, but I'm in my own campaign. I can't get back." But it was kind of interesting because the Democratic governor and the Republican congressional contingent came together saying,
00:02:52.449 "Look, the power of J. D.'s idea."
00:02:54.655 And that's the example of HELGA, and it came directly from my experience here, from all those days coming down Morrill Drive
00:03:03.501 from the College Inn to the Case Athletic Center, from knowing that this institution did not turn its back on its land grant heritage,
00:03:29.762 not exactly the same way but, as Twain might point out, it rhymes.