A Virginia Democrat has asserted that Republicans are on a “vicious campaign” to turn the state’s public schools into “another pawn in their grand partisan games,” in a video that urges voters to hold Republicans accountable.
Betsy Ferguson, a former Virginia state delegate and a candidate for Virginia attorney general, uses the video to accuse two of her Republican rivals of undermining the state’s schools and warned the Republican state chairman of “great potential for our state” to be erased.
Ferguson’s criticisms come after legislators voted to limit teacher raises, adding that “you have a job to do to pass this budget, and that job includes sticking it to public schools.” A spokesman for Ferguson said the message included a tough talk against public schools but was “being taken out of context.”
The video was posted on Ferguson’s website Thursday. It warns of Republicans’ efforts to close the state’s public schools, even as it cuts education funding in Virginia.
“You see, elected leaders like Attorney General Mark Herring and Senator Mark Warner have committed to make Virginia Public Schools the best in the nation,” the video says. “But look around: our schools are crumbling and showing it. Mr. Turner is a committed anti-public education, anti-prayer attorney. Let’s hold Mr. Turner and every other anti-public education candidate accountable for destroying our public schools.”
It further accuses Herring and Warner of “keeping the majority in a Republican controlled legislature.” It cites as evidence Turner’s vote for legislation that limits teachers’ right to strike, a right the video says is directly opposed to efforts to improve the state’s schools.
A spokesman for the Republican Party of Virginia did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Ferguson, a Democrat, is among two female candidates in the crowded race for Virginia attorney general. They are running against three other Democratic candidates and two Republicans.