With Joe Straus Retiring, It’s Time for Public Educators to Step Up

Two of our biggest champions in the Texas House of Representatives announced this week that they will not seek reelection: Texas House Speaker Joe Straus (R-San Antonio) and House State Affairs Committee Chairman Byron Cook (R-Corsicana).

The significance of these announcements cannot be overstated. Speaker Straus made public education the top priority of the Texas House. Under his leadership and with the hard work of his committee chairs like Rep. Cook, the House not only blocked the Senate’s reckless private school voucher bills, but protected educators from bills that would have taken away their rights and attempted to silence the voices of teachers who advocate for students as members of professional associations like ATPE. Unlike Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, the Speaker and his team in the House understood that most Texans do not support privatizing our schools, anti-teacher payroll deduction bills, or property tax gimmicks. Real Texans want strong public schools and true property tax relief through meaningful school finance solutions, which Straus and Cook prioritized.

The void that will be created by the absence of Speaker Straus and Chairman Cook makes your involvement in the 2018 primary and general elections more important than ever. Anti-education forces are already celebrating victory with the departure of these two leaders, predicting that voucher bills will sail through the House in the next legislative session. But you can still prevent that.

If every ATPE member shows a willingness to stand up for our kids and the education profession, our combined voices will carry the day in the 2018 elections. You can start by making a modest contribution today to the ATPE-PAC, which helps us support those candidates and officeholders who stand up for Texas public schools, students, and educators.

Your students and your fellow educators need you to use your teacher voice now to support them in the upcoming elections. Learn more about this week’s game-changing announcements on our blog, and watch for complete candidate profiles, survey responses, and updated voting records coming soon to our website at TeachtheVote.org.

Donate to ATPE-PAC today.

ATPE-PAC solicits contributions only from ATPE members, employees, and their families. Participation in ATPE-PAC is voluntary. Members can contribute any amount or nothing at all without affecting their ATPE membership status, rights, or benefits.

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