Dozens of teachers and educators are closer to becoming state lawmakers after Tuesday night's primary election.
A group called Oklahoma Parents and Educators for public education has been circulating a list of what they call “pro-education” candidates. Tuesday night, 44 candidates on the list either won their race or will move onto a runoff in August.
“I didn’t want to be a politician, what I want is for teachers to feel respected again,” said Judy Mullen Hopper a retired special Education teacher. She won the democratic primary for Senate District 47.
Don Wentroth the former principal at Putnam City High and Bethany was also on the winning side of Tuesday’s primary. He won the democratic primary for House district 100.
“I think there’s been a message sent,” he said.
“I’m so happy for all the teachers who won, it’s a big motivator,” added Mickey Dollens.
Dollens, was an English teacher at US Grant High School before he was laid off because of budget cuts. He also won Tuesday night.
All three said they believe they passed the first test.
“I think the public realizes there is just a great need for a voice in the legislature for our kids and our schools,” said Wentroth.
“I thought we got to get back to the root cause,” said Angela Little.
Little formed the Facebook group Oklahoma Parents and Educators for public Education. “The root cause is we need the right people in office.”
The group has now grown to over 24,000 members, many who actively campaigned for pro-education candidates. Both Republican and Democrat.
“I think people are really realizing our kids are way more important than our political party,” said Little.
And they are hoping that voters agree as many of these educators will take on incumbents in November.
“I think it’s a wake-up call,” said Hopper. “I truly believe now the incumbents are going to be looking at us ‘Humm, perhaps they know what they are doing.”
Three incumbents lost Tuesday night. One: Dennis Johnson from Duncan lost to a candidate listed as pro-education on the list.