Disgraced Arizona State Senator Touts Phony Award From ‘Eduction’ Group
Russell Pearce, the recalled Arizona senator responsible for the state’s xenophobic SB 1070 law, is trying to stage a political comeback in his old district by hoping voters forget his actual record on the issues in favor of misleading — and poorly spelled — lawn signs.
An Arizona New Times reporter snapped a picture of one such sign reminding voters about his “Golden Apple Award for Eduction [sic].” The award is handed out by the organization “Arizona Parents for Education,” a deceptively named organization that is in fact run by the president of the Arizona Virtual Academy, a loosely accredited, online-only, for profit home schooling program.
Another campaign sign touted his endorsement by the “Arizona Teacher’s [sic] Association,” a group with no website, no official state documentation, and as far as anyone can tell, no members. Education officials in the state contacted by a local TV news station say they have never heard of the organization and believe it to be a phantom group created by the Pearce campaign solely to endorse his candidacy:
One of those officials is Sam Politio, who has lobbied on education issues at the state Capitol for nearly 30 years.
He said he has no idea what the group is, but fears it’s a political ploy by Pearce to win votes in next month’s primary election.
“It’s deplorable to give the impression that the state’s 100,000 teachers are supporting him,” Polito said in a telephone interview.
As the spelling and grammar errors might suggest, Pearce’s relationship with “eduction” could be generously described as spotty. While a senator, he fought for deep cuts to education programs, and staunchly opposed a temporary penny sales tax increase designed to support public schools that have been forced to cut back on extracurriculars and other programming.
Pearce is best known as the chief architect and sponsor of the state’s unconstitutional SB 1070 law and its controversial “papers please” provision. Opponents
Last year, he became the first Arizona lawmaker in the state’s history to be thrown out of office in a recall election.