The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Local News

October 8, 2008

WVEA declines to endorse candidate for governor

Incumbent Democrat Joe Manchin shied from use of the term “disappointed” in failing to get the West Virginia Education Association’s endorsement, but his campaign coordinator reeled off a litany of advances in the classroom since he took office.

“The governor is proud of his record when it comes to education,” Sara Scarbro said Wednesday.

“In fact, he’s committed more money to education than any governor in the history of our state.”

No one was endorsed for governor by the state’s largest teacher union, the first one to jump on Manchin’s bandwagon four years ago when he eventually beat Republican Monty Warner in the race for governor.

Dale Lee, the WVEA’s president, suggested rank-and-file members simply weren’t happy with the progress achieved under Manchin.

“We saw that we had some philosophical differences,” he told The Register-Herald, without elaborating.

“While we appreciate the things that the governor has done in education, particularly in the retirement system, and recognized that we have had some pay raises, the membership felt like that there were things we couldn’t agree on at this time, and therefore there was no endorsement.”

Lee said the WVEA considered every candidate who filled out the questionnaire “and looked at those very closely.”

“We certainly think we can continue to have a working relationship with him,” he said of Manchin.

“When he’s re-elected, we will continue to sit down with him and discuss education because both of our goals is to provide the best quality education for the children of West Virginia.”

Lee pointed out the WVEA made no endorsement in the May primary, either.

“Again, it was just some things that we feel are very important in education,” he said. “We felt at this time it was better to make no endorsement”

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