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American Federation for Children Endorses Broad Slate of Bipartisan Legislative Candidates

Posted on Friday October 26, 2012 | National

Extensive list of education reformers poised to make strong electoral gains in November

WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 26, 2012)—The American Federation for Children—the nation’s voice for educational choice—today announced its endorsement of nearly 100 legislative candidates across the country, signaling the organization’s strong commitment to supporting a bipartisan roster of candidates who stand up for children and who advocate for meaningful education reform, including educational choice.

The Federation and its affiliated political organizations are involved in races for state House, Senate, governor, state school superintendent, and ballot measures in nine states through direct contributions, independent expenditures, issue advocacy or in-kind contributions, working to build robust bipartisan majorities that will make educational choice a leading priority in upcoming legislative sessions.

To see a full list of all the candidates supported by the Federation and its affiliated organizations, click here.

Among those supported by the Federation is Indiana State School Superintendent Tony Bennett (R), who was instrumental in last year’s creation of a statewide voucher program. In Arizona, the Federation is backing Rep. Barbara McGuire (D), a candidate for State Senate who has represented the state’s 8th District in the House since 2007.  In Georgia, where the Federation supports a ballot measure that would restore the state’s charter school commission, nearly 40 Democratic and Republican candidates were endorsed, including Senate Candidate Hunter Hill (R), who is waging a tough fight to unseat an opponent of educational choice.

This year’s political involvement by the Federation and its affiliated organizations represents one of their largest investments ever, reinforcing their pledge to ensuring that strong, highly accountable school choice legislation is enacted for the children most in need. The Federation and its affiliated organizations will invest approximately $7.5 million in 2012.  While spending figures are not yet finalized yet for 2012, 40 percent of the Federation’s state-level political investments in 2010—the most recent comparable election year—defended or benefited Democrats, who have become increasingly supportive of private school choice in recent years.

“Next month, voters in states across the country have a chance to choose leaders who put children, not special interests or systems, first,” said Kevin P. Chavous, senior advisor to the American Federation for Children.  “We stand strongly with the hundreds of legislative candidates from both sides of the aisle who are unapologetic supporters of giving families access to the high-quality educational options they deserve.”

Additional noteworthy candidates receiving endorsements today include:

  • Ohio State Sen. Nina Turner (D), the chamber’s minority whip and an outspoken voice for school reform in her hometown of Cleveland
  • Wisconsin Senate candidate Rick Gudex (R), who is locked in a fierce fight with a state Senate incumbent who repeatedly speaks against giving low-income kids access to better schools
  • North Carolina Sen. Malcolm Graham (D), a member of the Senate Education Committee who has advocated for scholarship tax credit legislation in the Tar Heel State and helped to lift the state’s cap on charter schools
  • Tennessee Rep. Joey Hensley (R), who is running for a south central Tennessee Senate district and has fought to give vouchers a fair hearing in the legislature

Although the Federation does not endorse candidates in Florida, its affiliated committee in the state informs voters about key issues through electioneering communications. A bipartisan slate of school choice candidates is running in the Sunshine State, including Darren Soto (D), a three-term representative currently seeking election to the State Senate.

“These elections are pivotal to the future of America’s children,” Chavous said, “and we feel confident that voters will make a strong statement by supporting candidates who stand with children.”

There are 32 publicly-funded private school choice programs in 16 states and Washington, D.C., five of which were created by legislators in 2012. This year, it is anticipated that approximately 250,000 children will participate in private school choice programs. Forty-one states are also home to charter school laws.

To see the full list of Federation-endorsed candidates, click here.

Paid for by the American Federation for Children Action Fund. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate committee.