Democratic gubernatorial candidate Clay Pell has won the endorsement of the political action committee of the National Education Association Rhode Island, whose leadership has enthusiastically supported Pell's campaign.
In a statement, NEARI president Larry Purtill says, “This race for governor is critical to the state of Rhode Island and public education. We need a candidate who will listen to educators, stop the testing craze and make sure that every Rhode Island student has the opportunity for a great public school education."
NEARI executive director Robert Walsh says Pell "exceeded the standard" in an interview with the teachers' union. Asked if the NEARI conducted interviews with fellow Democratic candidates Angel Taveras and Gins Raimondo said, "We're aware of their records."
Walsh says the endorsement was determined by NEARI's PAC, although he declined to say how many people took part in the endorsement vote.
NEARI says it represents 11,000 workers, including teachers, education support professionals, state workers, municipal employees and retirees.
In a statement, Pell says, “Education is the fundamental building block of our society: an engaged citizenry, a workforce prepared to compete in the global economy, and Rhode Islanders with the critical thinking skills and creative energy necessary to meet the challenges of the future all depend upon a quality public education system. That’s why teachers, as leaders and mentors in our classrooms, are critical to our collective success. I’m deeply honored to have earned their support, and look forward to engaging with young people, educators, parents, administrators, and community stakeholders to develop an educational system that meets our highest aspirations.”
Pell is competing in the Democratic side of the race for governor with Taveras, Raimondo, and Todd Giroux.
The NEARI PAC also endorsed for re-election Senator Jack Reed and Congressmen David Cicilline and Jim Langevin, all Democrats.
This post has been updated.