The first month of Superintendent Of Public Instruction Arntzen has been odd and disappointing, to say the least. But really, if you know and pay attention to who Elsie is, did you expect anything less?
The office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction touches literally hundreds of thousands of lives in Montana: students, teachers, administrators, parents, custodians, tax payers, advocates, lunch room ladies, grandparents and school secretaries to name a few. You would think that anyone interested in the job would have both the concern and character for the job. Then you would need to take a closer look at Elsie Arntzen to find the truth: she’s not fit for the job on either of those levels. A voting record speaks volumes and former Representative, and now, Superintendent Arntzen has volumes of votes. Beyond the typical educational policy advocacy groups such as MEA-MFT who have made no bones about publishing that deplorable record, the Billings Gazette clearly pointed out that Arntzen has already had the opportunity to positively affect public education when they endorsed Melissa Romano. Those are undeniable facts.
During the 2007 legislative session, Arntzen found herself splashed across the daily papers in Montana after having been a passenger with then Representative Scott Baggio when he was arrested for driving under the influence. Two ironies played out in this arrest: the pure and pious Elsie was a member of the Yellowstone County DUI Taskforce and Baggio was driving a vehicle owned by Harry Klock, a former bar owner. Both Arntzen and Klock claimed to have no idea that Boggio was ready to blow a whopping .14 into the breathalyzer. Understandable, it’s tough to recognize a drunk driver when you’re probably drunk yourself. Again, all tangible facts.
Now for the less ‘tangibles’. Within days of the embarrassing arrest which left the then would be OPI chief guilty by association, her mother showed up in Helena and stayed for the rest of the legislative session. Momma’s entrance on the stage of debauchery was the end of baby girls’ nights out with her new found friend Boggio. It was rumored and hushly spoken in the Capital halls that the kindred republicans had a bit more at play than bumping up on a curb within eyesight of the Helena Police. Arntzen managed to stay out of trouble for the rest of that session and her mother kept a tight grip.
The 2009 legislative session brought a new Red Lodge legislator who didn’t favor Arntzen’s type so all was safe. It was confusing then to see Arntzen’s husband show up each Friday and escort the apparently ‘fallen flower’ off the house floor and whisk her away for the weekend and avoid any flashing lights. Rumors never cease though. Uncomfortable exchanges continued and those who found themselves to be the object of Arntzen’s attention passed along stories of hugs from Arntzen that lasted just a little too long and eye contact that made them want to run home and shower with a fresh bar of LAVA. People don’t always see things as they may be, it’s entirely possible Arntzen is just a nice, loving and caring school teacher. Then again….
‘Maybe all men got one big soul ever’body’s a part of.’