Friday, June 12, 2020

Teacher Defeats AntiEd State Senator in WV Republican Primary

The Republican primary election in West Virginia which resulted in an upset of a state leader by a teacher who had the support of the state teacher union even though she is not a member of either the AFT or NEA.

We know that the teacher revolt in WV was the beginning of a revived labor movement and sparked similar revolts in other red states where education has been severely shortchanged. From a distance the movements seemed to come from all political sectors in the teaching corps though people on the left claimed that there were small cadres of left organizers that played a major role. The big unions tailed the movement at every stage but wrestled to get control of them.

One outcome of the red state teacher rebellion has been a cross state group called National Educators United - https://www.nationaleducatorsunited.org/
I spoke to one of the leaders and will be reporting on them soon - they are across a dozen states, mostly red and seem to have some left leadership but are open to a broad range of teachers unlike left-only groups.

Here are two reports on Amy Nicole Grady's victory over the Republican State senate leader. She still faces off against a Democrat in the general election and it will be interesting to see if the unions back her or the Dem.

http://wvmetronews.com/2020/06/11/teacher-unions-now-throwing-support-behind-more-republicans/
 
Carmichael backed teacher pay raises and additional funding for educational improvements but earned the wrath of teachers for his support of charter schools.  He was the target of teacher and service worker anger during two strikes, prompting opponents to push a “Ditch Mitch” movement.

Grady is a schoolteacher, but she does not currently belong to either of the state’s teacher unions—the West Virginia Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers West Virginia.  However, she garnered considerable teacher support during her campaign and credits their backing with contributing to her victory.

The teachers’ support of Grady is the most significant example thus far of the current political strategy by the unions.  Historically, the teacher organizations have backed Democratic candidates, especially when Democrats were in the majority.

However, Republicans now control both chambers of the Legislature, which has caused the teacher organizations to seek out candidates who are supportive of their education issues, even if they are Republican.
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https://www.wvgazettemail.com/news/politics/jackson-county-voters-ditch-senate-president-mitch-carmichael/article_760220ac-cc37-59c1-b66c-8572275f1830.html

Jackson County voters ditch Senate President Mitch Carmichael


Amy Nichole Grady, a teacher from Leon, defeated incumbent Senate President Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson, in Tuesday’s primary election.
Grady, a teacher at Leon Elementary School in Mason County, totaled 6,402 votes to Carmichael’s 5,762 votes. Delegate Jim Butler, R-Mason, finished last in the Republican primary with 4,265 total votes.
Inspired by the West Virginia teacher strike, Grady first ran for state Senate in 2018 as an independent, according to 100 Days in Appalachia. She picked up just 4,000 votes in that race.
On Tuesday, however, Grady unseated West Virginia’s lieutenant governor.
Carmichael congratulated Grady in a tweet late Tuesday night.
“Congratulations to my opponent, Amy Nichole Grady, on winning the 2020 GOP nomination for State Senate in WV’s 4th District. I look forward to supporting your campaign this fall to ensure our district continues to have a leader who will always fight for conservative values,” Carmichael wrote.
Carmichael grew up in Ripley and worked in technology before coming into politics. He graduated from Marshall University.
He was first elected to the state Senate in 2012, and won reelection in 2016. That same year, Carmichael was named the first Republican Senate Majority Leader in more than 83 years when the GOP took over control of the Statehouse. In 2017, he was named Senate President-Lieutenant Governor.
In 2018 and 2019, Carmichael drew heavy criticism from educators and school service personnel across the state during teacher strikes. He was a proponent of establishing charter schools in the state, and protesters — regularly chanting “Ditch Mitch” outside chamber doors — accused him of not listening to educators when it came to the legislation.
During the 2020 legislative session, Carmichael failed to rally his party behind three pieces of key legislation for Republicans: forming an Intermediate Court of Appeals, eliminating the tax on manufacturing equipment and ending greyhound racing in the state. All bills failed to pass the Legislature, with Republicans crossing party lines for all three.
In November’s general election, Grady will face off against Bruce Ashworth, who won the Democratic nomination unopposed Tuesday.

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