If Only the Governor Could Fix the Problem on My Leaky Sink

May 28, 2019

I have a leaky sink. As a matter of fact, I have two sinks that leak.

I called the plumber.

He didn’t return my call. He rarely does. He is a man of mystery, like the electrician.

You must track the plumber down. If you’re lucky you can grab him at the Market Basket parking lot or in a neighbor’s driveway. But you must proceed with caution and collar him fast before he speeds away.

I can get Gov. Charlie Baker to return my calls, but I can’t get the plumber. He doesn’t call me back. He doesn’t answer texts or emails, either. He’s too busy or playing golf in Florida.

Gov. Baker is busy, too. Yet I can get him on the phone and I can talk to him. But I can’t reach Joe the plumber.

That, of course, is not his real name. Out of an abundance of caution, I am withholding it. Otherwise leaking it would mean that he would shun me forever.

Even though the governor is available, he does not fix leaks, except when they come out of his office. Those leaks he can fix.

But dripping sinks are not his bag. He is a Harvard graduate and that distinguished institution is not known for graduating plumbers. Nobel prize winning physicists yes, plumbers, no. Poets, yes, plumbers — forget about it.

Being a college graduate with a liberal arts degree, I am educated enough to know how to turn the water off, but I don’t even own a monkey wrench, if they are still called that these days, or even if plumbers still use them.

Where have all the plumbers gone? They are still here but not enough of them to go around, like the other trades and technicians. So maybe it’s time to produce more plumbers.

Ordinarily you could rely on the Legislature to do something about it. But there are no plumbers in the Legislature, only lawyers, who do a different kind of fixing.

More plumbers are one of the aims of the Alliance for Vocational Technical Education which, along with the Massachusetts Competitive Partnership, is calling for an increase in funding for vocational and technical education.

The two organizations, which are made up of business, educational and civic groups, recently called for expansion of the vocational education programs to accommodate a growing number of students seeking enrollment.

The Alliance , at an underreported State House event, said 20% of high school students in Massachusetts are enrolled in a career and technical (CTE) program but that there is a waiting list of 3,200 additional students.

Sen. Eric Lesser, chairman of the Economic Development Committee, said a vocational education was a pathway to middle class jobs like precision manufacturing, carpentry and plumbing.

He said the state had an enviable vocational education system. But there was a massive waitlist of thousands of students who “are desperate to get into these programs.”

So, make as many plumbers as there are lawyers.

And Joe, call me back. All is forgiven.

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