AFT President Randi Weingarten went to El Paso Monday morning to join Texas activists in their efforts to get out the vote in the lead-up to the local school board elections this Saturday, May 1.
At a press conference Monday afternoon held at the Socorro AFT office, Weingarten spoke to the threats to public education in the El Paso and Socorro school districts. Weingarten—who has seen the damage privatization of our schools causes nationwide—described why school board races in El Paso and Socorro are crucial for keeping our schools truly public. Weingarten also highlighted the fight to unlock federal dollars from the American Rescue Plan in Texas since millions are at stake for El Paso and Socorro school districts.
“All of us believe in preserving and improving the bedrock of our democracy–public education, especially after the tumultuous year we’ve had,” Weingarten said. “It is what sustains our participatory democracy, helps fuel a fairer and more just economy, and makes our communities safe and welcoming places where our children can grow and thrive. This isn’t the time to play around with funding to support our kids and our schools, or to be expanding charters. Now is the time to double down on investment and to refocus our efforts on making our public schools safe, welcoming, and equitable.”
“Every child in Texas, and throughout America, deserves the freedom to thrive, which is why it’s so important that we elect the right people to help see this community through its renaissance, rebuilding, and recovery,” she said. “That starts with the local school board. Schools need to be run by locally elected officials who represent and know their communities. People who regularly engage with educators, school staff and parents, and believe in collaboration and giving everyone a voice in our schools and our kids’ future. The eight candidates we endorsed are the leaders our students and community need and deserve.”
Afterward, Weingarten led an Early Vote Member March to a polling place with local union members to rally support for the candidates. “This is a fight for democracy,” she said. Monday was the day before the end of early voting for the upcoming election.
In the evening after the march, Weingarten met with local candidate Leah Hanany running for El Paso ISD School Board of Trustees to discuss organizing efforts and door-knocked to speak with voters in the area.
El Paso AFT has endorsed the following candidates: Leah Hanany (District 1), Joshua Acevedo (District 3), Betty Ann Halliburton (District 4), and Vanessa Betts (District 5).
Socorro AFT has endorsed the following candidates: Cindy Najera (District 2), Angelica Rodriguez (District 3), Paul Guerra (District 4), and Gary Gandara (District 5).
Early voting in the upcoming El Paso elections ends Tuesday, April 27. Election Day, the last day to vote, is Saturday, May 1. If you live in the area, you can find your ballot and voting information on the El Paso County Elections Department website.
Socorro AFT and El Paso AFT are both trying to elect or re-elect educator allies to school boards in the El Paso area. You can help them make phone calls, send texts, or drop literature to eligible voters by signing up as a political volunteer.