Larry Purtill, elected president of NEARI, the state’s largest teachers’ union, says Gina Raimondo would have won a two-way race, but he isn’t ready to throw his support behind her just yet.
“First, the Treasurer probably would have won if there was only one other candidate so except for a few in the media who like to beat up on us, it is a moot point,” Purtill told me.
He made clear he would not support Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, who won the GOP primary for governor. “Obviously, Allan’s position on right to work pretty much eliminates him,” he said.
But said that doesn’t mean he will support Raimondo. “The pension issue aside, Gina’s positions on mayoral academies and funding, teacher evaluation, high stakes testing, how she handles a Dept. Of Ed that teachers remain very skeptical of, her support for collective bargaining need to be out there for us. As of now, we certainly are very non committal.”
He added, “This is where I am and believe NEARI members are. I would hope that anyone who has followed the pension issue or the primary would know we would not just jump in because someone is a Democrat.”
Mark Gray, president of the Young Democrats, posted yesterday pointing out Raimondo’s progressive credentials.
He wrote: “For Rhode Island liberals, it’s taken as an article of faith that Raimondo is a conservative wolf in Democratic sheep’s clothing, based only on her (successful? we’ll see) attempt to stop the state’s runaway public employees’ pension train. The fact that this notion is so pervasive among progressives is a testament to how much unions—especially public sector unions—dominate the Liberal/Progressive scene here in Rhody Land.”