Sen. Mark Pryor’s campaign has announced he’ll join teachers and leaders of the Arkansas Education Association at Central High Saturday to receive the AEA endorsement in his Senate race against Tom Cotton.
The AEA endorsement is hardly a surprise. Tom Cotton’s extreme conservativsm naturally encompasses enmity toward labor organizations and spending money on teachers. What’s a tiny bit surprising is Pryor’s full embrace of the labor group’s endorsement. But it’s rooted in policy issues that go beyond labor relations, as the Pryor release noted.
Pryor will emphasize his record of supporting Arkansas students, parents and educators.
Pryor and leaders of the AEA will highlight the stark contrast in this race for Arkansans, given Rep. Tom Cotton’s irresponsible record of voting against Arkansas students and teachers. Cotton voted to cut $145 Billion in education funding, voted to end Pell Grants for 12,000 Arkansas students and eliminate 3,000 Head Start slots in our state. Cotton was also the only member of Arkansas’ congressional delegation to against affordable student loans, the same federal loans he used to finance his Ivy League education.
Pryor has championed legislation to improve public school infrastructure, increase Title I funding and special education programs, and improve trade and job-based educational opportunities.
Organized teachers are poison to Republicans and, undoubtedly, to many voters. Student loans? Another matter.
UPDATE: And an entirely other matter is the linked issue of Medicare and Social Security. They are ripe because of Cotton’s attacks on the programs as evidenced by his support of Paul Ryan’s government-strangling budget.
The Hill covered Pryor in full flower on this at a speech to Arkansas optometrists, who responded warmly to his depiction of himself as a bipartisan type.
“Ever since I’ve been up there, I’ve tried to work in a very bipartisan way. In fact, some of my colleagues, they call me Mr. Bipartisanship,” he said before invoking the Bible to knock the “my way or the highway” approach he said many in both parties followed.
“That’s not going to get us anywhere,” he said. “I’m not in that camp. I’m in the Isiah camp: ‘Come, let us reason together.’ Let’s sit down, let’s work through this, let’s try to work things out.”
Pryor received a standing ovation from the nonpartisan group.