State teachers union endorses Sen. Royce West for U.S. Senate Race

April 21, 2020, 11:30 a.m.

Rob D’Amico, 512-627-1343

State senator West has a long history of supporting public education in Texas

The Texas chapter of the American Federation of Teachers endorsed Sen. Royce West of Dallas for U.S. Senate at a Tuesday news conference. West is vying for the Democratic nomination in a July 14 primary runoff to face Sen. John Cornyn in November.

“Sen. Royce West comes equipped with a deep understanding of what our students need to achieve,” said Zeph Capo, Texas AFT president. “As a member of the Texas Senate Education Committee for years, he has the experience to lead on influencing national education policy.”

Capo noted that Sen. West also realizes that the current administration’s zeal for funding privatization of our schools with massive grants for more charter schools is a path that endangers our true public schools. As a state senator, West fought efforts to allow charter schools to take over district buildings and pushed for legislation that would mandate a detailed assessment of whether charters schools would fulfill a need in a given area before they are approved by the commissioner of education. And in the last legislative session, he sponsored a bill to prohibit charter schools from denying admission to students based on their disciplinary history.

“We’re hoping Betsy DeVos isn’t in her post as U.S. Secretary of Education by next year pushing her privatization efforts, but regardless of who is at the helm, we need a strong leader in the Senate to ensure our real public schools are the top priority,” Capo said.

The president of Texas AFT’s affiliate for Dallas ISD—Alliance-AFT President Rena Honea—said Sen. West has been a consistent supporter of teachers through the years. “Having a state senator who serves on committees for both K-12 and higher education and who has been ready to fight for higher pay and respect for our teachers has been a gift, and our state senator has been there with an open door ready to listen to us.”

Senator West said he is honored to have the endorsement and reiterated his support for public educators and students. “The American Federation of Teachers works tirelessly to improve public education, improve working conditions for our teachers, and protect their rights,” he said. “When I am in the United States Senate, I will continue to be a strong advocate for public education and Texas teachers. For 27 years, I’ve worked hand and hand with AFT to improve public education in our state, and I look forward to doing the same when I’m in the U.S. Senate.”

Texas American Federation of Teachers represents some 65,000 teachers, paraprofessionals, support personnel, and higher-education employees across the state. Texas AFT is affiliated with the 1.7-million-member American Federation of Teachers and AFL-CIO.