In 2010, when I was running for re-election to the state House of Representatives from Ahwatukee, Tempe and Chandler, I was so disappointed to see my Republican opponents resort to the dirtiest tactics – deliberately misleading voters about my position on important issues.
But today, I'm even more disappointed to see a Democrat use that same tactic against another Democrat in the race for Congress. I'm writing to you today because lies have no place in the Democratic Party.
Unfortunately, my former colleague, Kyrsten Sinema, sent an attack mail piece that falsely accused Andrei Cherny of supporting private school vouchers that hurt public schools. She has ridiculously charged that Andrei wants to "end public education as we know it."
Let’s get the facts straight:
- Sinema's attack is absolutely false. Andrei does not support vouchers, and is a strong supporter of our public schools. That's why he has the support of President Bill Clinton and former Attorney General Terry Goddard.
- I would never endorse a candidate who supports vouchers. For 12 years, I served on the Kyrene Elementary School Board – and I know the kind of damage vouchers can do.
- I've worked with all three candidates. I know them well, and I respect them all. I'm supporting Andrei Cherny because he is the best person to fight for our children and to improve our local public schools. He is a product of the public schools, his father has been a public school teacher for decades, his son attends a public school, and he has a record of working to improve our public schools.
Call me old-fashioned, but I think it's wrong for candidates to distort the views of their opponents. It is especially wrong for Democrats to falsely claim their opponents hold right-wing views.
Sinema's attack mail piece took a few words from a long passage in Andrei's book, The Next Deal, and twisted it out of context.
Just so you have it, I want to provide Andrei's full quote, so you can see for yourself the progressive leader he is – and judge the character of an opponent who would mislead voters in such a fundamental way just to try to win an election. More than 10 years ago, after leaving the Clinton White House, Andrei took the right wing to task for offering a "mirage promise of private school vouchers" –
"a cruel hoax to play on parents who lie awake at night wishing for a better life for their children. The biggest problem with vouchers is not that they are too radical, but that they are not radical enough. While draining funds from the public schools and giving them to private academies, these vouchers would, under most serious proposals, only go to a select small number of the poorest children and would not be nearly enough to get them out of deteriorating local schools. Under George W. Bush's plan, for instance, these vouchers would be worth only somewhere between $500 and $1,500 – nowhere near the tuition of most private schools. These vouchers would be a leaky lifeboat for a lucky few that would worsen the plight of all other children. They would sacrifice America's greatest unifying institution, put public money into private hands without any accountability, and have little impact on the vast majority of schools and school children."
Does that sound to you like someone who supports vouchers?
I've spent my whole life fighting for Arizona's kids – as a mom, an educator, school board member and state legislator.
I've already voted for Andrei Cherny. I hope you do too – to elect a true champion of our public schools and send the message that this kind of dirty politics must come to an end.
Former Arizona State Representative