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NEA Sends Thank You Note to Governor Raimondo—and a State Mourns

It’s never a good sign for students or taxpayers when the Executive Director of NEA RI is sending thank you notes to the Governor—on Twitter. Perhaps a moment of silence is in order. There was a time that Governor Gina Raimondo was a champion of reform, that rare Democrat willing to ignore and even clap back at unions if it meant doing right by taxpayers. And students. And parents. And the state’s economy. There was a time she knew that evergreen contracts could bankrupt the state.

Those days are over. Governor Raimondo signed an evergreen contracts bill today—a bill she rightly vetoed last time it landed on her desk. But the NEA didn’t own her then. And now they do. And everything is different.

From the Providence Journal:

There is one principle explanation for her turnaround—she gave the NEA her word.

And now it all makes sense. I have virtually been begging her office to consider broadening the Governor’s school safety campaign beyond guns to include educator sexual abuse—all of my emails have gone unanswered. But if she felt it appropriate to pull the “maybe it’s the mom in me” card to defend her misguided decision to cancel school despite no snow, surely her mother gene should be kicking in at the thought of teachers and school bus drivers sexually touching their middle and high school students, right?

Wrong. Combatting sexual abuse— in the school buildings that we mandate parents send their children—isn’t on the party agenda.

Raimondo is convinced that despite our already strong gun laws, school safety is only possible if we pass more gun laws. Ok, fine. Getting our gun laws from a B+ to an A is one potential strategy to increase school safety. But it is currently the Raimondo administration’s only strategy. Gina has governed a state for more than 4 years with such antiquated consent laws that we literally allow teachers and other school employees to fondle 14 year olds and have sex with 16 year olds. As a mother, she has not said a single word about it. Snowstorms are dangerous. Sexual abuse at the hands of school employees? Not worth even a mention.

If I had known that Gina Raimondo was turning into a shell of her former self, now bought and bossed by the NEA, I would have better understood her silence on an issue that is far more prevalent than school shootings and 100x bigger than the clergy sexual abuse scandal. You see, the NEA adamantly opposed a bill this year that would have finally made it a crime for teachers and other school employees to have sex with students. And how could Governor Raimondo stand up for students—and speak out on the the quintessential school safety issue of educator sexual abuse—when the NEA had so generously endorsed her in the last election?

I thought too highly of her to ever imagine she’d sign a continuing contracts bill, a bill that could potentially bankrupt our most distressed communities. I thought she at least had minimal respect for city and town leaders and those who provide municipal services and run school districts. I thought she was concerned about billions of dollars in unfunded pension obligations. I thought she cared about young employees who are are less senior and now likely to be laid off across the state. I thought she cared about the state more than she cares about her party and her own national aspirations.

My bad.

I proudly voted for Gina Raimondo—the reformer that the Wall Street Journal aptly describes as “once hailed as a champion for fiscal sanity.” That same publication, sensing a shift in the Rhode Island Governor’s priorities and allegiances, smartly went on to write last week that Democratic lawmakers “may be betting that Ms. Raimondo, as leader of the Democratic Governors Association, will have a hard time spiking legislation backed by the party’s biggest donors—public-sector unions. Ms. Raimondo, who has been hailed as presidential material, may also be hoping for a spot on the 2020 ticket or cabinet position in a Democratic White House.”

I just didn’t get it. And admittedly, it’s not the first time I’ve been fooled so shame on me. But what I have learned, and seen confirmed today, is that public sector unions own the legislature and the Governor in Rhode Island. This is the danger of being a one party state, in our case, a blue one. The Democratic party owns the Ocean State.

Maybe it’s the mom in me but that is terrifying.

What do you think?

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