DENVER – In recent weeks, the union-backed slate of candidates have come under fire from opposition groups claiming the AFL-CIO backed slate are actually closeted Democrats under the guise of an opposition grassroots wave.
In the hotly contested races, window-painting the names of the four challengers on supporter’s vehicles has become a rallying point of defiance for union forces. But critics of the union slate say the cars aren’t painting the whole picture.
“Instead of the four union candidates’ names, they should paint the words AFL-CIO, ACLU, and liberal partisans instead, because that is who will be running the school district if they win,” said outspoken DougCo resident Franceen Thompson.
“Douglas County voters shouldn’t be fooled – these four are union-backed, left-wing extremists who could reverse the positive strides that pro-reformers have made,” said Kelly Maher, executive director of Compass Colorado.
In fact, a brief review of voter registration records of those publishing photos of their painted union slate cars on Facebook found a majority are Democrats. One car even has an old Obama-Biden sticker adorning the windows alongside the names of candidates Chase, Hodges, Scholting, and Keim.
The politicization of the race has been heightened with the candidacies of Ronda Scholting and Bill Hodges especially.
Scholting, a former journalist and liberal activist, mounted a brief and failed bid against Republican Congressman Mike Coffman in 2008, according to liberal blog ColoradoPols. She has been exceedingly outspoken in support of teacher’s and their union rights.
Hodges history as the person previously responsible for negotiating the controversial agreement to allow union staff salaries to be paid with school district funds has added to the notion that this race has high stakes politically.
Doug Benevento, a current board member who is up for reelection this November, believes the unions are fighting his reforms because of power, not educational excellence.
“They want to have the power to negotiate a union-approved wage scale that doesn’t differentiate based upon excellence but upon time in a seat. For the labor union, it is about their power. Having a single, union-approved wage scale gives them power…,” said Benevento in an editorial.
“Our graduation rate is higher than it was four years ago, and our test scores are higher than four years ago all because we have attracted great teachers, engaged parents and energized students,” Benevento concluded.