WASHINGTON—Statement of American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten on the midterm elections:
“In a sharply divided electorate, the American people sent two very important messages. First, on a federal level, they voted for a check and balance on President Trump and were inspired by the women on the ballot. Our values and aspirations as a nation were on the ballot, and, in district after district, the American people chose decency over cruelty, fairness over prejudice, and democracy over demagoguery, by electing a new majority in Congress.
“Second, on a state level, people voted for problem solvers as governors and in their statehouses—governors committed to finding solutions that make life better for children and families, and who believe in public education, good healthcare and rebuilding roads and bridges and water systems. Voters flipped statehouse after statehouse by electing new Democratic governors in Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico and Wisconsin, and they maintained Democratic governors in every state Democrats already held. And the wins were even more impressive in state legislatures, from New York to Colorado to Oregon to pro-worker, pro-civil rights, pro-public education ballot initiatives.
“Working people in many of these states have faced years of attacks on their rights, disinvestment of public schools to fund tax breaks for the rich, and attacks on healthcare and voting rights. When public education was on the ballot, voters overwhelmingly chose to invest in public schools and stand with teachers, even electing AFT members as governors in Michigan and Minnesota. And while the safe staffing initiative narrowly lost in Massachusetts, we will continue to fight for affordable healthcare and safe staffing across the country.
“Trump spent this campaign doubling down on hate, division and lies. And in a divided country, it’s disappointing that this demagoguery helped some of Trump’s acolytes narrowly win in places like Florida and Ohio. But even with this divisiveness, voters in Florida also restored voting rights for felons, which is not just a win for democracy but shows what is possible when lies, racist attacks and misrepresentations aren’t front and center.
“On balance, it was a night in which a majority of Americans voted for a check on Trump’s cruel and inhumane agenda, and for leaders who will find solutions to make life better for people.”