Ohio Federation of Teachers endorses Tim Ryan for U.S. Senate

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 15, 2021
Contact: Neil Bhaerman, nbhaerman@oft-aft.org, 412-266-4899

Ohio Federation of Teachers endorses Tim Ryan for U.S. Senate

Columbus, Ohio — Earlier this week, the statewide Executive Council for the Ohio Federation of Teachers (OFT) voted to endorse U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan for the U.S. Senate. The Executive Council is composed of educators, school support staff, and public employees who are members of OFT’s 54 local unions. 

“We’ve seen Tim Ryan be a leader in his community by fighting to protect good jobs when GM closed their Lordstown factory, a leader in Congress on workers’ rights and education, and a leader by example when he supported and recognized his campaign staff’s right to form a union,” said Melissa Cropper, OFT President. “We’re proud to support his campaign because he has spent his career supporting students, educators, and working people.”

“I couldn’t be more proud to have the support of the Ohio Federation of Teachers. As a dad and the husband of a first-grade teacher, I’ve seen up close how our educators and school support staff show up every day to make sure our children are prepared to compete and thrive in a rapidly changing world,” said Tim Ryan. “In the Senate, I’ll continue working alongside our teachers and parents to get our schools the resources they need so that every kid, in every corner of Ohio, can get a great education.”

According to the AFL-CIO, Tim Ryan has a lifetime 97% voting record in his nine terms in the U.S. House in support of workers’ rights and quality jobs. In the current Congressional session, Ryan was an early co-sponsor of the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, which strengthens federal laws that protect workers' right to join a union. He also voted to pass the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which was signed by President Biden, and the Build Back Better Act, which is pending in the Senate. Both bills would provide historic investments in Ohio communities, including broadband, roads and bridges, clean water, and public transportation. 

Ryan has also been a leader on educational issues and has successfully brought more attention to the urgent need for social emotional learning by discussing it during his presidential campaign and introducing the Social Emotional Learning for Families (SELF) Act. The SELF Act would authorize a competitive grant program to help educators and families develop and support the social and emotional skills and habits of students. 

“As a constituent, an educator, and a local union leader, I’ve seen Tim Ryan in action for the last twenty years, consistently working for a stronger middle class and good paying union jobs,” said Jason McConnell, a Cortland resident, special education teacher, and President of the Grand Valley Education Association (OFT-AFT Local 4910). “His work engaging the communities he serves and promoting social emotional learning in our schools shows that he understands the challenges that working families face and the importance of investing in education strategies that help students succeed.”

In contrast to Ryan, leading candidates in the Republican primary for Senate have stated their opposition to investments in Ohio infrastructure and public education, with some candidates explicitly calling for abolition of the U.S. Department of Education and even the closure of every single public school. 

“We need a Senator who will work alongside educators and parents in addressing the obstacles that prevent students from reaching their potential,” said Cropper. “We do not need a Senator who creates fake problems to create divisiveness in our communities or who believes we’d be better off without public schools.” 

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The Ohio Federation of Teachers (OFT) is composed of 54 local unions representing 20,000 members who are active and retired public school teachers, charter school teachers, school support staff, higher education faculty and staff, and public employees.