I’ll bet for some of you, the title got you to click through!
We had a Democratic Senator abruptly resigned a few weeks ago, which triggered a special election for that district. Our Republican governor set the date for the election during spring break at the local university (that’s a whole different blog, one that someone with political moxie can write), so both parties fired up their various campaign machines and away we went.
I tend to lean to the left because of my profession, but at the outset the Democratic candidate, Eric Gidddens, projected a more positive campaign. His first TV ad talked about his background, his love of education, and just gave him a much more positive light. The Iowa Democratic Party ran one attack ad on the Republican candidate, talking about how his cuts to universities were necessary. While I’m not big on any attack ads, this one hit home how this man damaged our education system while in office.
The Republican candidate, Walt Rodgers, is not a nice person (opinion). He was a state senator who gutted our collective bargaining rights, made cuts to our state university system, and had he remained in office, his fingerprints would have been on the other ultra conservative bills under consideration. Like I said, I tend to lean to the Democratic party, but this man is no friend of public education! His ads featured two attacks on Giddens for being an “extremist” and “socialist”, two GOP code words for “not believing what we believe in”. Again, not a big fan of attack ads, but this one was done to get the GOP voters fired up, nothing more. His positive ad showed him as the savior to public education, voting for “record funding” (even though that funding didn’t keep up with inflation, and one penny more than last year would be a new record).
Anyway, last night, Eric Giddens won the seat, rather handily with an unofficial 57% – 43% spread. This over performed when Clinton carried the district by a 48% – 45% in 2016. This to me is a giant inappropriate hand gesture to the Republican tactics of the last two plus years (you were wondering how I was going to get that title in here, weren’t you??) from privatization to Betsy DeVos to bargaining rights. ‘
My hope (as small as it may be) is that people are waking up a bit and see the destruction that these policies are beginning to reap on our great state. Again, another blog post by someone more politically minded, but needless to say, it’s nice to see one in the win column.
I’ve written about this before, we as teachers MUST get more political, taking the politics AT the those in office. If we don’t, we allow our profession to be dominated by those who have NO CLUE what education is even about, other than there’s a lot of money in it. Not the kids, not the relationships, not the things we do, but money, plain and simple.
Get into the game. We need you, all of you.
And congratulation to Eric Giddens. Do go work for your district and the great state of Iowa!