Michigan Democrat Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s re-election campaign received at least $2.25 million in donations from two of the nation’s largest teachers unions.
According to a Fox News report, the pro-Whitmer group “Put Michigan First,” which aligns itself with the Democratic Governors Association, took $1 million in campaign contributions from the National Education Association (NEA), while the American Federation of Teachers Solidarity, a group affiliated with American Federation of Teachers, gave $1.25 million this year to the group.
Whitmer has not responded to media requests for comment.
However, it is no surprise that the nation’s most powerful teachers unions have bankrolled Whitmer, considering she has been one of the most unwavering governors in the country regarding her response to the COVID pandemic, particularly in the education sector.
According to Burbio’s K-12 School Opening Tracker, Whitmer recommended returning to in-person learning in March 2021, which set the state 33rd in the nation for allowing in-person learning during the 2020-21 school year.
Michigan lifted its recommended school mask mandate in February 2022.
During a debate against her Republican challenger Tudor Dixon last week, Whitmer downplayed her draconian orders for educational institutes during the pandemic by claiming “kids were out for three months” after Dixon said Whitmer kept students out of school longer than any other state.
Yet, Whitmer’s argument fell on deaf ears.
“Perhaps she wasn’t paying attention to what was actually happening,” Dixon said. “Maybe she thinks she can convince you that schools were only closed for three months, but you know better because your students are the ones that are desperately behind.”
Dixon told Fox News Digital that Whitmer “blatantly lied” during the debate regarding her claim, adding that she continues to take cues directly from her “union bosses that shut schools down” and “kept our kids locked down at home longer than necessary.”
The gubernatorial candidate said such measures created an education crisis in the state.
“Her running-mate Garlin Gilchrist even had the audacity to say we must first take care of the adults in our education system — total disregard for kids and parents,” Dixon said. “Gretchen is gaslighting the people of Michigan and is attempting to rewrite history to save face for her disastrous lockdown policies.”
The Washington Examiner reports Whitmer said her claims referred only to school closures directly ordered by her rather than what state health officials and individual school districts chose, which she argues were out of her control.
Dixon, who is an advocate for school choice, said parents would feel empowered “every step of the way” by prioritizing students over school systems.
The Republican candidate’s school choice stance has gained the support of some of the most prominent activists for the movement in the country, like former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and her family. According to Fox News, they have given a combined $2.9 million to the Michigan Families United Super PAC that’s backing Dixon.
Dixon has also received $1 million in support from MAGA Inc.
Taylor Budowich, the head of the Trump-connected political committee, told Fox News that the teachers union backing Whitmer has “done more to destroy the future of children … and no bigger rubber stamp for their anti-child agenda than Gretchen Whitmer.”
“Their flashy ads won’t give children years of their lives and education back, it won’t make Michigan families forget about their draconian lockdowns and closures, and it won’t stop voters from electing Tudor Dixon on Nov. 8th,” Budowich said.