Dear Editor:

Norsemen, rejoice! Thy brother’s hammer yet soundeth fury! Glad to hear from Mo Husen, a well-known, high-quality builder from a few years back who has since been through a lot of hell.

Many readers are glad he wrote in to The Mail. While today his construction bids would be close to $300 per square foot, many like Mo, whose blood and sweat built this community, are living on low and fixed incomes compared to corporate retirement incomes that create a kind of economic altered reality in (almost) 2020.

Mo is right: There are many problems in education and government. One problem I would love to help correct is the lack of diversity on our government boards, councils and staff. We desperately need more people with a culturally working-class background to balance the white-collar people who, seems to me, get appointed/hired to run almost everything.

“Blue-collar” kids need strong voices to advocate for the support and training that will mean success to them. We need them to feel successful as students and confident to handle career training as a nurse, plumber, welder, hairstylist, etc. or to go on to college.

Mo Husen has a huge skill set from years in the building industry. Right now we need people like Mo on the advisory board being formed to guide CMC and Salida schools collaboratively forward. Without you, what might happen is more AP classes and support for advanced students taught by staff of relative privilege instead of desperately needed trades and technical classes taught by people from working-class families and culture. We do have many great teachers, but our schools and government are white-collar biased. We have lost our balance.

One hundred years ago, many kids could participate in school only when they had time away from duties on the farm/business. My stepmother, 90 years old, was helping milk cows and hoe fields at 8 years with her brothers; they felt very important to the family’s survival in rural Iowa.

Reverse that today. Working-class kids must stay in school until 17 doing too much paperwork and problems biased toward success in college, feeling often unvalued and unimportant. They shine outside of school working at the hardware store, hunting, hauling out an elk, ranching, training horses, welding and repairing equipment. Awesome kids.

Please, if you are from working-class culture, if you know what lack of privilege feels like, find out how to be part of a local board or council. Our young people need you to speak your values and create/maintain a community supportive of their goals and what they love to do.

Some are kids a lot like Mo and my stepmom, who today do very little in classes they will barely pass taught by someone who unwittingly invalidates their dreams. We need people like Mo to demand, “Let’s try a different way.” Simple, but not easy. Keep Salida inclusive of everyone.

Thanks, Mo.

Mike Pollock,

Salida city councilman,

Ward 2