by Keith T. Barber and Jordan Green

Items from across the Triad and beyond’­

Guilford educators back Robinson for NC Senate

The politically formidable Guilford County Association of Educators, which represents 3,300 education professionals, has made its endorsement picks. The endorsements are helpful to Democrats in the general election, and critical to Democrats in the primary.

Gladys Robinson has received association’s nod over Evelyn Robinson in the Democratic primary for NC Senate District 28. Association President Tijuana B. Hayes said Miller did not return the association’s questionnaire. Robinson — who is the favored candidate of the seat’s current occupant, Katie Dorsett — boasts on her campaign website of endorsements from the State Employees Association of North Carolina, NC Trial Lawyers and Lillian’s List.

The Guilford County Association of Educators endorsement slate strongly favors Democratic incumbents or candidates who have previously held office.

Democrats Alma Adams and Earl Jones, who each have contested primaries for state House seats, received the educators’ endorsement, as did Pricey Harrison and Maggie Jeffus. The Republican primary victor in NC House District 57 will face Harrison in November, while Jeffus will go toe to toe with Republican Theresa Yon.

“Maggie and Alma are our A-plus legislators,” Hayes said. “They voted with the educators on issues that we felt were important. They voted for the Healthy Youth Act, the reinstatement of sick leave, the state health plan blue ribbon task force…. One that we’re particularly proud of is the School Violence Prevention Act. We appreciate the probationary teachers’ appeals [legislation]. It assures that our probationary teachers are provided reasons for nonrenewal in their fourth year. Now, they can appeal to the local school board if their contracts are not renewed.”

The educators endorsed Georgia Nixon- Roney in the Republican primary for NC House District 61. With no Democrats in the race, the candidate who prevails in the May 4 primary is all but certain to win the seat.

The endorsement for Guilford County School Board at-large went to incumbent Nancy Routh, and the District 2 endorsement went to incumbent Garth Hebert.

The association endorsed Bill Bencini in the Republican primary for Guilford County Commission District 2, but is remaining neutral in the District 3 race. Hayes said none of the three candidates in District 3 returned questionnaires.

The educators are endorsing Democratic incumbent Don Vaughan in the NC Senate District 27 race. Vaughan faces Republican Jeff Hyde in November.

In the Democratic primary for US Senate, the educators threw their clout behind Cal Cunningham, who is considered by many in the party as the most viable contender against Republican incumbent Richard Burr. — JG

Union stands behind its endorsement of Cunningham

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters defended its endorsement of US Senate candidate Cal Cunningham after an Associated Press report published last week quoted Cunningham as saying he was opposed to card-check legislation.

The Associated Press article reported, “Pressed on whether he would push to allow card check, Cunningham responded: ‘No, no, not the card check.’” Rob Black, a spokesman for the Teamsters, said the union remains confident in Cunningham’s support for card check legislation, which would allow workers to sign cards petitioning the National Labor Relations Board for a union. “The Teamsters have endorsed Cal Cunningham not only for his endorsement of the principle of card check but also his job creation plan and his position on fair trade,” Black said. “We look forward to working with him on the Employee Free Choice Act and other bills for working families.”

Democratic candidate Ken Lewis’ campaign called on the union to withdraw its endorsement in light of Cunningham’s statement to the AP. “It seems clear from the news reports that Cal Cunningham said one thing to the Teamsters behind closed doors and another thing to everyone else outside the room,” said Bruce Clark, Lewis’ campaign manager. “What is worse is that Cal, when caught mid flip-flop, showed us a window into how he would lead in Washington.”

Angela Guyadeen, a spokesperson for the Cunningham campaign, issued a rebuttal on April 9: “Cal is a steadfast supporter for [Employee Free Choice Act] and will work to pass labor reform in the Senate that would protect workers and improve their ability to organize.” — KTB

NC GOP chair calls on Steele to resign

NC Republican Party Chairman Tom Fetzer called on Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele to resign in an April 8 letter. Steele is under fire because of an expenditure of party money to entertain prospective donors at a sex-themed Los Angeles nightclub. “I believe that the best service you can render to your party at this critical juncture is to graciously step aside and allow the party to move from this current quagmire,” Fetzer wrote. Later in the letter, the North Carolina chairman added, “I can attest that many grassroots leaders I’ve talked to in the last few weeks are very aware of the recurring drama that is playing out at the RNC — allegations of fiscal irresponsibility, management and questionable activities — and they are disgruntled and concerned that the RNC under your direction, is setting a poor example of the kind of leadership voters can expect if Republicans are elected.” — JG

Guilford education outfit calls for full funding of schools

The Guilford Education Alliance issued a call last week for the Guilford County Commission to fully fund the budget prepared by Guilford County Schools Superintendent Mo Green, which calls for a local funding increase of $6 million. “The way to address and alleviate our economic woes is to invest in public education and to provide the opportunity for our future workforce and community leadership to have an excellent foundation to be prepared to meet the serious challenges ahead,” said Guilford Education Alliance Executive Director Margaret Arbuckle in a prepared statement. Arbuckle is a former county commissioner. — JG