August 7, 2017 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WVEA Communications Staff
WVEA Statement on Justice Party Switch
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- WVEA was surprised by the recent announcement of the switch to the Republican party by Governor Jim Justice. Governor Justice was endorsed by WVEA-PAC in the primary and general election.
“Our support of Governor Justice during the election process was not based upon party affiliation but his response to a series of questions on his support for public education, competitive pay for our education employees, reducing the burden of PEIA costs to employees, supporting West Virginia’s working families, etc.,” states WVEA President Dale Lee. “Justices’ responses indicated his support for public education and education employees; in addition, his actions throughout the past legislative session supported his statements.”
After hearing of the governor’s decision to switch parties, WVEA leadership requested a meeting with Governor Justice to discuss how his new party affiliation affects the positions he had previously outlined.
In our meeting, we specifically asked him if his positions regarding our issues had changed. The governor adamantly stated they had not changed. He reiterated his commitment to increase funding for public education, increase salaries of education employees and support working families.
“While I am perplexed by the Governor’s decision to join the Republican Party, I left our meeting confident that the governor has not wavered from his previously stated positions,” said Lee. “I look forward to continuing to work with Governor Justice to advance our issues.”
WVEA is the largest teacher organization in the state and is the state affiliate of the 3 million member National Education Association (NEA). WVEA represents teachers, education support professionals, higher education professionals and classified staff, retirees and college students pursuing a career in education.