In the wake of the epidemic of school shootings in the United States I wonder how pro-gun, NRA-backed elected officials – particularly a Congressman – could also be endorsed by the Illinois Education Association.
There is Rodney Davis, a down state Republican Congressman who is the IEA’s poster boy for their bipartisan endorsements and their requirement of electability as a criteria for receiving IEA and NEA PAC dollars.
In 2016 Davis won the NRA endorsement “for his consistently standing strong against President Obama’s and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s gun control agenda.”
That agenda included banning assault rifles like the one used to murder students and teachers at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
Davis votes with Trump 95% of the time.
He is an anti-choice, anti-immigrant, anti-Affordable Care Act, pro-corporate tax cuts, Republican.
But all that aside, he is a pro-gun Republican that gets blood money from the National Rifle Association to vote against gun regulations that protect school children and teachers, like those at Stoneman Douglas High School – and the rest of us.
Amazingly he also receives money from the Illinois Education Association.
And a A+ rating.
Illinois’ junior Senator, Mark Kirk, like fellow Republican Rep. Rodney Davis, was a strong supporter of the “Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA),” which replaced the “No Child Left Behind Act.” In addition, though it was not included in the final bill, Kirk and Davis fought hard to get the NEA-backed “Accountability Dashboard” included in ESSA.
Without going into the weaknesses of ESSA, it is enough to say it was no great shakes.
It was certainly not enough to ignore Davis’ pro-gun record.
The Illinois Education Association, like The News-Gazette editorial board, supports the re-election of Rep. Rodney Davis.
However, your endorsement editorial may have given your readers a false impression regarding how and why IEA also came to recommend Rep. Davis.
The principle that, “Every student deserves a quality education” is cherished by the 130,000 IEA members. It guides the recommendations of IPACE, the IEA political action committee.
In order to be recommended by IEA, candidates must complete a questionnaire and meet with rank-and-file members for a question-and-answer session. The answers received, along with a review of the candidate’s views and voting record, play a huge role in the recommendation decision.
IEA is recommending Rep. Davis based on his exemplary record in office. He is a friend to public education and to the students who attend public schools.
For example, Rep. Davis showed leadership by working hard to get the Every Student Succeeds Act passed by Congress. He fought to have NEA-supported changes included in ESSA. We support Rep. Davis because he shares our members’ values.
IEA’s bipartisan political philosophy is longstanding and has resulted in the organization routinely recommending, regardless of party affiliation, the candidates our members consider the best advocates for students and public education.
Illinois Education Association
“Congressman Rodney Davis has the right values and vision to continue to speak up in Congress for educators and students,” said Cinda Klickna, president of the Illinois Education Association. “As a lawmaker who puts Illinoisans first, he understands the pressing issues facing our schools. He knows the important role education plays in preparing students for the jobs of tomorrow so that America can compete in the global marketplace. We look forward to continuing to work with Rep. Davis in Washington.”
“Representative Rodney Davis shares our values and the values of the working families of Illinois’ 13th Congressional District,” said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel. “A proud product of Illinois’ public schools, he is a relentless advocate for students and educators and understands that the road to economic prosperity and security starts in our nation’s public schools. He’s a champion of working families, and if reelected, he will continue to work hard to make our economy work for all of us. That’s why we are proud to endorse Rep. Davis’ reelection to Congress.”
Rodney Davis received the endorsement of the National Rifle Association’s Political Victory Fund for the November election. “Rodney Davis has a proven record of defending the Second Amendment,” said the chairman of the NRA-PVF. “Because of his strong support of our rights, Davis has earned an ‘A’ rating and endorsement from the NRA-PVF.”
“I am an unabashed supporter of our Second Amendment rights,” said Davis. “In Congress, I will be a fierce supporter of the rights of gun owners and sportsmen.”
There is only one way to stop the flow of money from IPACE to NRA-backed candidates.
The IEA will be holding its Representative Assembly in April.
Elected delegates can make it stop. No teacher union dollars should go to pro-gun elected officials.