Pro-voucher group targets freshman Republican in online ads

A national pro-voucher group is going on the attack against at least one lawmaker who voted against Gov. Bill Lee’s signature “education savings account” legislation, the AP’s Jonathan Mattise and Kimberlee Kruesi report.

The American Federation for Children, which is once chaired by U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, has run online ads targeting freshman Rep. Mark Cochran (R-Englewood) as having “turned his back on President Trump” by voting against the bill.

An American Federation for Children ad targeting Rep. Mark Cochran.

Cochran was hardly alone in opposing the voucher measure. The roll call was 49-49 on the House floor in May, but then-Speaker Glen Casada (R-Franklin) kept the voting board open for 40 minutes in an effort to get one member to flip to the ‘yes’ column.

Among the other Republican opponents of the bill: Newly-elected House Speaker Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville).

A spokesman for the Tennessee chapter of the American Federation for Children refused to comment about the ad or whether other lawmakers might be targeted. The group spent about $6,400 in direct mailers supporting Cochran in last year’s election.

“This type of activity obviously doesn’t have an impact on me and is just part of politics,” Cochran said in a statement to the AP. “At this point, I’m looking ahead at our next session and am excited about the progress we’ll continue to make for Tennesseans.”

The Tennessee Education Association, the state’s largest teachers’ union, was critical of the attack ads.

“They not only attack pro-public school legislators, they’ve sent positive mail into districts of pro-voucher legislators,” said Jim Wrye, the organization’s spokesman and lobbyist. “They hide vouchers as well as they can on the mailer. Yet as any Tennessee teacher knows, when you’re afraid to explain what you’ve done, you know it’s wrong.”

25 Responses to Pro-voucher group targets freshman Republican in online ads

  • Silence Dogood says:

    If the TEA is against it I am for it.

  • Bob M says:

    Mark Cochran is a good conservative Representative and will be a great one as the years go by. He is definitely one of the nicest ones I’ve ever met.

    • Susan says:

      No, he’s not. Either that or he doesn’t have enough back bone to fight for Republican causes. A nice guy who thinks he’s a “good conservative” but acts like a pile of mush when it’s time to step up is worse than worthless.

    • Stuart I. Anderson says:

      Come on Bob, don’t be such an easy grader. May I suggest you seek the guidance of the Club For Growth Foundation, an educational arm of the venerable Club For Growth conservative political action organization which ranks Cochran as the 59th most conservative legislator in the House out of 99. There’s another session to go at the end of which we will have the American Conservative Union chime in evaluating Cochran. So far, if you’re interested in conservative representation, Cochran has not exactly overwhelmed.

  • Susan says:

    Well good, I hope there’s more where that’s coming form. The bedrock of the Republican party’s position on K-12 education is School Choice. I’m sick and tired of these arrogant legislators getting elected by putting an R after their name then turning right around and abandoning the very values that R stands for.

    • Lenny says:

      How did Sexton get elected Speaker by the Republican Party if he also voted against the party’s “bedrock?”

    • Sandra Clark says:

      Susan (if, in fact, that’s really your name): I’m perplexed by your comment that “choice” is a GOP bedrock when you’re talking about schools but not when you’re talking about women’s health. What gives?

      • Stuart I. Anderson says:

        Sandra, (a fine feminine name, sort of like “Susan”) I think its best if we didn’t take a word from one issue and apply it to a totally unrelated issue and proclaim some sort of forensic victory. Abortion rarely has anything to do with a women’s health. What it mostly has to do with is that some couple was too stupid/negligent/uncaring to choose one of a dozen birth control possibilities and when the consequences of their substandard behavior becomes clear they want to “choose” to snuff out the resulting innocent fetus. A majority of Republicans and citizens of Tennessee think that this is hardly a satisfactory outcome. On the other hand, what conservative Republicans want to do is to allow parents to “choose” to take their tax money and spend it on the school services that best meet the needs of their children. Surely, even the most strident abortion enthusiast can see the difference.

        • Lenny says:

          Since when has the Republican Party been for government handouts to poor people in the inner cities (and illegals once the ACLU gets their way) so that they can “choose” which home school online service to subscribe to?

          • Susan says:

            Since when has the Republican Party been for huge, expensive, inefficient, government institutions whose performance is poor to mediocre, and that have beed designed for the collective at the expense of the individual? Since when are Republicans against the basic economic concept that competition increases quality and reduces costs? K-12 education is not a “handout” as parents are required by law to educate their children, so shouldn’t we look for ways that improve outcome and reduce costs?

          • Lenny says:

            It’s a government handout for poor people and eventually illegals. The people who qualify are not paying $7,300 in sales taxes a year, and even if they were, 100% of that isn’t going to K-12 education spending. Where does the difference come from? The rest of us. That’s more tax and spend, big government Republican policy.

          • Lenny says:

            It’s sh*t law that barely passed. No wonder the FBI is investigating.

  • David Reaves says:

    The reason the voucher bill passed and applied to Shelby is because public municipal schools are putting a bunch of private schools out of business. This voucher bill for the past 3 years has been propped up to bail out failing private schools, not failing public schools. Almost 0 elite private schools will take this money, it is the ones that cant compete.

    Its funny that we want to free enterprise in public education but when it is time for a private school to go out of business, they go to legislators and find bail out money.

    I would hope as good Republicans that we would be against bailouts with our tax dollars.

  • Phil Lassiter says:

    The Gestapo-like tactics of the pro voucher group is one of the main reasons the issue is stalling and why the FBI is investigating

    • Stuart I. Anderson says:

      Now that you mention it Phil, I thought the American Federation for Children reminded me of some organization from history. You’ve stumbled upon it! How well I remember Heinrich Himmler becoming famous by using the Gestapo that he ran to run those thirty second adds all over Germany against his political opponents thus convincing the Germans to support the National Socialist Party during the 1930’s and 40’s. It’s the ability of liberals to draw those types of historical analogies that helped make me the conservative that I am today.

      • MARLE says:

        You don’t need Himmler or the Gestapo or 30 second ads to endlessly rail against your political enemies …..that’s what Twitter is for.

  • James White says:

    Parents are ultimately the ones responsible for the education of their children. Let them spend THEIR tax money how they seem fit, and keep the government out of it as much as possible.

    • Eddie White says:

      James, in an ideal world you would be right. But we don’t live in an ideal world. Some parents could care less about their child’s education. Many unfortunately live in a one parent home and the parent cannot or will not help provide the educational support for their children. Giving these parents a voucher will not pay for a private education. Public education is the only chance they have. God bless those teachers who are trying to help them.

      • Stuart I. Anderson says:

        If we gave parents vouchers many more students could be enrolled in private schools so the cost of private schools would surely go down making them available to more parents who would choose to send their child to such an institution. It’s elementary economics that as you spread fixed costs that so characterizes operating a school over more students the cost per student declines.

        For those parents who through ideology, abject poverty or indifference did not choose or were not able to send their children to private schools, government schools would still exist as they did before. I am so confident that replacing our present sclerotic government monopoly with a free market competitive school system would work wonders in educating our children that I am prepared to support rational arguments that government schools should receive more per student than the vouchers given to parents if, in fact, government schools are left with students more difficult to educate after the smoke clears and parents as well as private schools have exercised their free choice.

  • Donna Locke says:

    Stand your ground, Cochran. Unlike my boiled-noodle rep and senator.

    • Donna Locke says:

      I forgot to add, follow the money. OUR money.

    • Susan says:

      Right, because sucking up to the teachers’ union and and caving to the Tn School Board Assoc. and every other lefty educational voice is such great ground for a so-called conservative to stand on. Donna do you ever bother to look around to see who your’re standing with then wonder why you’re doing so much to help progressive causes?

      • Donna Locke says:

        Susan, the positions I usually take on various issues are what I call truly conservative and preservative. As for liberals-progressives with whom I share common ground and understanding on some issues, well, I’m open-minded and independent and doing what I feel is right regardless of any or no allies. I find many liberals-progressives insufferable because of their intolerance, willful ignorance, immaturity, and closed minds. The same can be said of many who identify as conservative. I’ve seen more bad behavior from so-called liberals and progressives, however, at the national level and in Tennessee (mostly from transplants); I got along well with and saw a lot more openness to ideas among the liberals in Atlanta. That may have changed.

        I see many good reasons to oppose the school vouchers, regardless of how one identifies politically. The proposed execution of this scheme is simply crazy and irresponsible, but the whole idea is bad.

        I admire and am grateful for all who get involved and speak up and who allow others to do the same. I get annoyed, however, when people are destroying my children’s future. So, I have to regard quite a number of people as menaces. I’m sure they feel the same about me.

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