by Brian Washington
Take Action ›
Pledge to stand up for students in Election 2018. Click here ›
Education Votes continues its look at those gubernatorial candidates in key target states with ties to Betsy DeVos, a women students, parents, and educators believe is the most unqualified education secretary in the nation’s history.
Through their support of DeVos and/or her destructive agenda, these candidates are giving voters some insight into the tools they would use to wipe out public schools. If a candidate supports Devos, you can bet they also support many of her destructive policies—including private school vouchers. Voucher schemes syphon away critical dollars from public schools and the overwhelming majority of the nation’s students who depend on them. Voucher schemes use your tax dollars to pay the private school tuition of a select few and are DeVos‘ weapon of choice for dismantling public education.
Below you‘ll find a rundown of some of the states with gubernatorial contests featuring candidates who are linked to DeVos and her privatization agenda.
Last year, we told you about how hundreds of Coloradans rallied in dowtown Denver outside the hotel where the American Legislative Exchange Council, better known as ALEC, was holding its annual policy meeting. DeVos attended the conference as a guest speaker. So did State Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, who is seeking Colorado’s Republican nomination for governor. Even though there’s nothing on her campaign website about education, if Coffman is attending ALEC meetings and sharing the stage with DeVos, it’s likely she’s supports the DeVos agenda, which includes private school vouchers.
Like DeVos, Republican gubernatorial nominee Mike DeWine, who currently serves as Ohio Attorney General, supports voucher schemes. He voted in favor of voucher legislation several times while he served in the U.S. Senate.
Many in the state want DeWine to be more aggressive in collecting the $5 million in campaign violations owed to the state by political action committees linked to the national group entitled All Children Matter and its Ohio affiliate. DeVos worked as a director with the group at the national level. All Children Matter and All Children Matter Ohio racked up about $5.3 million in campaign violations stemming from political activity dating back to 2006. The group’s Ohio affiliate shut down shortly after it was slapped with the violations and, at the national level, the group says it doesn’t have any money. The state eventually turned the debt over to DeWine’s AG’s office to collect. Ohio is still waiting on its money.
Meanwhile, DeWine’s Lt. Governor pick, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, took about $10,000 from All Children Matter while serving as Ohio’s Speaker of the House in 2006. He also publicly expressed support for DeVos as she sought confirmation from the Senate as education secretary. State Democrats charge his support for her stems from the campaign money he got from All Children Matter.
“Husted is choosing to stand with his campaign donors and billionaire Betsy (DeVos) and ignore her election law violations. Apparently, the D.C. swamp reaches all the way to Columbus, and Jon Husted is down in the muck with Betsy DeVos and Donald Trump,“ said Democratic Chairman David Pepper.
In 2016, GOP gubernatorial hopeful State Senator Scott Wagner met DeVos during a Republican Governors Association meeting in Washington, DC, where she joined his table for lunch. After the lunch, he said this about DeVos, who educators know is totally in over her head as education secretary, “Very simply put, Betsy DeVos is one sharp woman. She is exceptionally knowledgeable on public education and she is full of cutting edge ideas.“
Wagner also hired as his campaign chair a man connected to a group that got money from DeVos. John Kennedy served as chair of Citizens Alliance of PA—a group with very deep ties to DeVos money. Citizens Alliance of PA supports voucher schemes.
Wagner’s website touts his education plan, including merit pay for teachers and legislation to dismantle unions and rob educators of their voice in the workplace. The language on his website appears to hint at support for voucher schemes as well. We suspect, if pressed on the issue, Wagner would describe voucher schemes as one of those “cutting edge ideas“ from DeVos that make her a “sharp woman.“
Governor Scott Walker often brags that he and DeVos are good friends. How good? DeVos’ husband gave Walker $250,000 to use in his 2012 recall election fight. In addition, the DeVos family has donated heavily to Wisconsin GOP races. Walker and the Republican-controlled legislature have drained hundreds of millions of dollars away from public schools by expanding private school vouchers in the state.
More to come…
You’ll hear more about these and other politicians with DeVos connections running for governor througout this campaign season. It’s our way of helping you stay informed so you can help your neighbors, family members, friends, and coworkers make the best choices for students and public schools.