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Port Orange Observer Thursday, May 16, 2019 2 months ago

Q+A: While leaving teaching, City Councilman Chase Tramont advocates for arming teachers

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Port Orange official also says individuals, not government, have obligation to help homeless.
by: Brian McMillan Executive Editor

Chase Tramont started teaching as a single man and now is a family man with four children, so he decided to make a change. He will now work for DME with his good friend Mike Panaggio. He will no longer teach at Spruce Creek High School or be the basketball coach there (see Page 17 for a story on the new coach). Tramont will continue to serve as a member of the City Council. The following is an edited transcript of an interview on May 9.

 

Q: What will you miss most about teaching?

A: Bringing the Vietnam veterans in. I teach all year for that one week. I’ve always wanted my students to have an appreciation and a respect for the men and women who have created and made our history.

Hearing a student tell me about staying welcome home to another veteran, shaking their hand, at the store or out somewhere, was a reward far greater than any test score could provide.

 

Q: What will you miss most about coaching?

A: The competition. Knowing that every night we step food on the floor, we were always outmatched. I played my entire career being the underdog, so I enjoyed having that opportunity to compete under those circumstances again, trying to figure out how to beat a team that you shouldn’t even be on the floor with, and then maybe not winning the game but putting up a heck of a fight, putting yourself in a position to win the game. 

 

Q: What’s different about coaching today from when you were a state champion with Mainland High School?

A: I may be the right guy for this generation of players, but this I the wrong generation of players for me. Kids want to be told how great they are; they don’t want to be told how much better they need to become. 

 

Q: If you’d had the opportunity, would you have wanted to be armed as a teacher?

A: Yes. When you’re out in a portable, you have no measure of safety if somebody brings a deadly weapon into your classroom. All protocol says go to the back of the room and press a button, and then a kid will answer it from the front desk, and then they would in turn have to call the guardian. That 60-year-old guardian is going to have to make his way out on our 25-acre campus to my classroom. It’s a joke. So, yes, we’re called to be educators, but while those student are in our care, we’re their protector as well, like it or not, and my No. 1 job every single day is to come home to my family. That is one situation where I don’t like to be at a disadvantage.

I understand the argument as to why teachers should not be armed. When I mentioned it at a joint workshop, one of the School Board members commented, “There’s a lot of teachers I know who I would never want to have a gun.” My response to that is, “If you wouldn’t trust them with that, why are you trusting them with the education of our kids?” 

It’s also the most cost effective way to maximize the protection. It’s expensive to hire officers. We just saw the School Board asking all the cities for hundreds of thousands of dollars; they don’t have the money to do that. 

 

Q: Do you consider yourself to be business friendly? Why?

A: That’s one way to look at it. I prefer to look at it as I’m siding with the consumer and the worker. Because you can pass all the mandates, all the fees that you want onto business, and you can think to yourself, “Good I’m making them pay their fair share,” when the reality is, anytime you pass a fee or a cost goes up from a mandate to a business, that cost will always be passed on to the consumer, in higher prices and lower wages.

I prefer to let the free market determine the successes and failures and procedures and policies of the companies.

We also have an issue with affordable housing here in Volusia County. Every time you raise an impact fee, or mandate other requirements to cause their cost to go up, they don’t eat that cost. The future buyer does. I think that’s just basic economics.

 

Q: What should be the next step for the board to address homelessness? 

A: From a government’s position, there shouldn’t be any steps. This is not government’s role. We shouldn’t be in the homeless business. Period.

But as a city government, we do need to be compliant with the law. So in order to maintain Pottinger compliancy, we have elected to participate with the First Step Shelter. This will give us the ability to make sure that our parks are clean and safe because we will have an alternate place for the homeless population.

I serve on the board to represent the city and evaluate whether or not we are getting a good return on our investment. We won’t really have that answer until after the shelter is operating.

 

Q: If it’s not government’s issue, whose issue is it?

A: We have a moral obligation as individuals, churches, charitable organizations to take the lead on this issue.  

You cannot help those people that won’t help themselves, and, frankly, while serving my role, I will do all that I can, but when it comes down to how to spend my time and resources, I’m going to opt to help those that cannot help themselves. I’m speaking of the special needs population. Massive reform needs to be had in that issue. That will be my focus with our state legislators.

 

Q: What role does faith play in your public life?

A: It plays a massive role. The biggest I can possibly make it. If it didn’t, it wouldn’t be real faith. 

There are people that take issue with that, I’m sure. But I don’t apologize for who I am, and nowhere in the word of God, or in our Constitution, for that matter, does it say that I have to check my faith at the door when I enter the council chambers. We demonstrate and prove our faith not by word but by action and deed. And it’s no secret to people that I’m a person of faith, but I don’t force it on anybody, and I respect and appreciate people of all faiths. I acknowledge the Lord in all areas of my life. It would be very hypocritical of me to deny his impact in my public life as well.

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