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West Virginia Education Association gives primary endorsement for governor to Justice

CHARLESTON, WV— The WVEA Political Action Committee has endorsed Jim Justice for Governor of West Virginia in the May primary.
“Jim Justice expressed a vision for our state and an assurance that West Virginia’s education professionals would help shape public education for the future,” WVEA-PAC Chairman Dale Lee said.
Justice, a businessman, said he understands the need to get the politics out of the classroom, and he trusts our teachers. He promises to surround himself with experts, including West Virginia teachers, to advise him on standardized testing, the school calendar, K-12 standards and other key policy matters.

In response to the endorsement, Justice issues the following statement:  “I trust our teachers, and I will get the politicians out of their way,” said businessman Jim Justice. “I am fed up with our state being 50th in everything, and I want West Virginia to be known as an education powerhouse. We can do it if we’d just remove all the politics from the classroom, start listening to our teachers more and create new jobs. I am honored that so many teachers are as fired up as I am to turn around West Virginia.”
During an interview with the WVEA-PAC Steering Committee, Justice recognized that West Virginia needs revenue growth and we can’t cut our way to prosperity.
Justice expressed innovative ideas about how we can best utilize our energy-producing resources like coal and natural gas, but he also recognized the need to diversify our state’s economy. Education must be the centerpiece of our economic approach, he said.
Justice said we must address salaries and retirement to make them competitive with our surrounding states. Additionally, educators cannot continue to bear the burden of more PEIA benefit cuts. These are all tied to attracting highly qualified teachers to West Virginia.
We also believe Justice would be a formidable opponent in the 2016 general election.
WVEA-PAC’s Steering Committee interviewed all three gubernatorial candidates who completed a WVEA-PAC questionnaire. To receive an interview, candidates must complete a questionnaire. They were: Justice, Senate Minority Leader Jeff Kessler, D-Marshall, and former U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin.
“Each of these candidates made strong points and they care deeply about the future of our state,” Lee said. “They clearly have the interest of West Virginia’s working families at heart.” West Virginia is at a crossroads after two disastrous legislative sessions that will hurt working families, drive down wages, benefits and pensions and make the state a less attractive place to raise a family.
This election is very important for West Virginia’s future. We cannot afford to let the Koch brothers, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and similar right-wing interests buy the 2016 election and continue this horrible direction for our state.

WVEA-PAC is the independent, political arm of the WVEA, the state’s largest education employee organization. WVEA represents over 13,000 teachers, service professionals, college students preparing to become teachers and retirees.

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