Julie is my Senator. I live in her district. I did what every voter is supposed to do when they have concerns about how their House and Senate representatives are doing. I requested a meeting.
Phil Moffett was my House Rep at the time. I also requested a meeting with him, which I got in January.
Peyton was able to join me for the meeting with Julie.
Julie and I talked about how she was disrespected and had meetings canceled on her by Donna Hargens, the district’s current superintendent. I told about the times Hargens and her team would treat us like the enemy and how she seemed to be in complete denial about the state of the district when she responded to our open letter campaign with the claim that made the next day’s headlines, “We are not in crisis.”
We were getting along famously! My Senator really “got it,” and cared, or so I thought.
When I contacted her about why she voted for the charter school bill, she claimed that the bill had changed after we last talked and she thought we’d be okay with it. She was dead wrong and she knew it, but I had no way to prove it. I could only try to find someone to run against her and the other lawmakers who sold us out. And that became our next priority. Her seat was up for reelection in 2018. When I and others who championed the movement to recruit educators and other pro-public education candidates to run for public office, and no one with any meaningful experience or understanding of the dire challenges public schools were facing, I decided to throw my hat into the ring.
Strangely, another democrat’s name started being whispered about who was thinking about filing to run. She and I ran into one another at the Secretary of State’s office and I asked her if she would consider waiting to file until she and I could meet for coffee. She declined and filed that day, so I did as well. We still met for coffee and the meeting was cordial, but my fears for the future of public education were not assuaged. The teachers union leadership and the angry mob they managed to conjure up against me got behind my opponent, even though she had absolutely zero experience advocating for public schools and holding those who had set out to destroy us accountable. Every time I opened my mouth I ended up losing the primary to her, so I was never able to run against the Senator who sold us out. Curiously, the person who beat me in the primary stayed relatively quiet after that, and, not surprisingly, lost to Julie in the general. I can’t help but wonder if she wasn’t encouraged or boosted behind the scenes by someone loyal to or dependent upon Julie because I would have been a much bigger threat.
And despite voting for charter schools in 2017, Julie continued to receive the teachers union endorsement. And despite continuing to receive their endorsement, she continued selling out public schools. There was the time she sold us out in the Senate, when knew her vote was going to make or break the confirmation of Gary Houchens, but she did it anyway. There were several other times bills passed by just one vote, and for some reason, the corrupt teachers union leaders* who endorsed her didn’t seem to care.
* I support the teachers union. I have concerns that certain members of current leadership have achieved and stayed in power due to their ability to circumvent the democratic process.