I'm Jade Thompson and my husband, Andy Thompson, is running for the Ohio House of Representatives. I am a teacher at Marietta High School. Imagine my chagrin when my friends and colleagues began showing me the awful attack ads against my husband which they had received in the mail. Now imagine my dismay when I saw that those defamatory mailers were paid for by the Ohio Education Association - my teachers' union. In effect, they are using my union dues to attack my husband! This is a new low, even for the OEA.
There was a recent letter to the editor about AEP withdrawing its support from the Ohio Chamber of Commerce because the chamber made a political endorsement. The writer found it "inappropriate and shameful" for that organization to ignore its members. I wonder if she would say the same for the OEA, an organization that endorses the most liberal candidates in the field and which month after month promotes progressive causes and programs in its member newsletter. Are Ohio's teachers that unanimously liberal or does our union simply not represent our views at all? If teachers are representative of the larger voting public then you would expect that our political views would be just as diverse.
Teachers should be free to spend their hard-earned dollars to contribute to the candidates and causes they actually support. The OEA and its parent organization, the NEA, refuse to acquiesce because they have an obvious agenda. After all, as the general counsel for the NEA once said in federal court, "if you take away payroll deduction, you won't collect a penny from these people, and it has nothing to do with voluntary or involuntary. I think it has to do with the nature of the beast, and the beasts who are our teachers ... (They) simply don't come up with the money regardless of the purpose." Teachers, this is what your union thinks of you.
Andy will support a paycheck protection law that prevents teachers' union dues from being used for political propaganda without written permission. The Ohio legislature passed this legislation twice before but the previously liberal Ohio Supreme Court overturned the will of the people. I am hopeful that Andy and a newly elected Conservative majority in the Ohio House can protect the rights of teachers in this state to keep their money from funding the political agenda of any organization without their approval.