02/09/2017

Progressive school board candidates win big in New Mexico

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In one of the first elections since Donald Trump took office, progressive school board candidates scored big victories across New Mexico on Feb. 7.

Voters across the state elected school board candidates "who championed New Mexico's public schools and respect for working New Mexicans in a campaign marked by higher turnout amid interference from Gov. Susanna Martinez," says Stephanie Ly, president of AFT New Mexico.

In Albuquerque, where voter turnout was almost double what it was two years ago, two friendly incumbents were re-elected, along with two new progressive candidates. "We are confident that Lorenzo Garcia and Dave Peercy will continue to put students first, and Candy Patterson and Elizabeth Armijo will help continue the district's efforts to better serve its students, families and communities," Ly says.

Over the last month, more than 100 Albuquerque Teachers Federation members worked 400 different shifts, totaling more than 1,200 volunteer hours, in support of the union's endorsed candidates. And even in crowded fields with four or five candidates, the winners all got well over 50 percent of the vote.

Outside of Albuquerque, voters elected pro-public education candidates—some of them defeating very conservative opponents— in Gadsden, Gallup, Las Cruces and Los Alamos. AFT New Mexico members were key in these races as well, putting in many hours working for the endorsed candidates.

"These results are a clear rejection of Gov. Martinez and [state education] Secretary Hanna Skandera's failed educational reform policies and a return to strengthening our public schools, prioritizing teaching over testing, and working to empower the communities served by New Mexico's professional educators," Ly says.

[AFT New Mexico, ProgressNowNM]