Teachers union makes endorsement for attorney general: Donovan

The Vermont chapter of the National Education Association threw its support behind TJ Donovan’s bid for attorney general on Wednesday, a boost to a candidate who, so far, is running unopposed.

Donovan, the Chittenden County state’s attorney, was pleased.

“Our educators are the backbone of our society, and every day they see firsthand the impacts of government policies and social pressures on Vermont’s children and families,” Donovan said. “I greatly value our educators’ trust and confidence in my candidacy and as attorney general would look forward to their partnership and input.”

The backing of Donovan by Vermont’s largest union represents its first endorsement of a candidate for the AG’s office in more than a decade.

“TJ brings a refreshing commitment to the state’s children and working people,” said Martha Allen, president of the Vermont-NEA. “Whether it’s his successful restorative justice programs, his work to help people reinstate their driving privileges or his unabashed support of the right of workers to form unions, we are confident he will be an attorney general who puts the interests of working families first.”

Donovan asked for the endorsement, and made his case in front of the union’s 18-member board in early March. In the meeting, Donovan stressed the importance of education in maintaining public safety and promised to intervene and reach out to children on the verge of entering the criminal justice system, Allen said.

Besides his thoughts on restorative justice, Donovan pledged to work to curb the state’s drug epidemic and confront poverty.

The board was nearly unanimous in its support for Donovan, Allen said.

The NEA endorsement will bring some money into Donovan’s campaign, and perhaps some other organizing help, Allen said. He will also be highlighted in the Vermont NEA’s fall election publication, which is distributed to members.

Although no one else is seeking the attorney general’s post at this time, Allen said she is confident no other potential candidate would be as strong as Donovan.

“It’s not just his words, it’s his deeds,” Allen said. “He’s proven himself already.”

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