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Former kindergarten teacher launches bid for first-time public office seat

Published: February 20, 2012 8:16 AM
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COLUMBUS Ohio Senate District 20 candidate and longtime teacher, Teresa McGraner Scarmack, turned student for a pair of intensive candidate training workshops held recently in Columbus.

Scarmack, who has taught school for over 20 years and is a kindergarten teacher at Chieftain Elementary School in Hocking County, is launching a first time bid for public office.

Not being a career politician is viewed by many as an asset in this years general election in which 14 teachers have declared their candidacy for statewide office in an apparent backlash to the overreaching aims of defeated Senate Bill 5, which was repealed as Issue 2 in last Novembers election.

The opportunity to network with other candidates was a timely and invigorating experience. I came away feeling connected and mobilized against an opposition that continues to push a destructive, divisive and disastrous agenda on the people of Ohio, Scarmack said.

The Logan resident joined other teachers in a three-day candidate school held at the Ohio Education Association building in conjunction with partners, Wellstone Action, a national training program for progressive change, and Progressive Majority, a political action committee committed to progressive candidates. The workshop focused on the fundamentals of a winning campaign for office.

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I chose to participate in the OEA Campaign Training because I recognized the importance of receiving training from OEA as a trusted source of quality information and education, Scarmack said. I am a people person who loves meeting and communicating with others so a major benefit of the training was the opportunity to meet other candidates and share ideas that address contemporary issues. The training was extremely helpful in learning how to plan a winning campaign and I look forward to using what I learned to run a successful campaign for a clear victory on Nov. 6.

On a following weekend, Scarmack was at the Ohio Democratic Party Headquarters in Columbus with 270 other attendees to learn more about writing an effective campaign plan.

The day-long training focused on campaign finance, field operations, voter database management, coalition building, and communicating effectively with rural and exurban residents and womens groups.

Scarmack characterizes her entry into the politics as driven by an unfading sense of fair-mindedness and a passion to do good for others, especially children.

Her campaign will emphasize early education and lifelong learning as priorities in an effort to strengthen families and disrupt the cycle of poverty she finds all too common throughout the 20th District.

My motivation to seek the Senate District 20 seat came about from my effort canvassing and working the phones in our successful effort to repeal Issue 2. It was hard to believe that our governor would assume we would sit back and take the path he had proposed, Scarmack said.

Democrats claimed that Senate Bill 5 was unfair, unsafe and hurt all Ohioans. Fallout from the measure has provoked a new rallying cry for party faithful who proclaim, We will remember every November.

I have not run for office before, but I saw the importance of standing up for my peers and public employees in Ohio. Its time for people who understand the plight of others firsthand to be involved in decision-making at the legislative level. I cant wait to get involved in the legislature and work towards improving the lives of my constituents and the citizens of our great state, Scarmack said.

The newly-formed Ohio Senate District 20 includes Guernsey, Muskingum, Morgan, Hocking, Fairfield and parts of Athens and Pickaway counties.

I am ready to fight to restore the unmet needs of the poor and middle class citizens of our state. Its about time that education gets the attention that has been so long in coming. Better and more equitable funding for school districts is crucial for meeting the needs of all children in our state. It is time to lead the way and with input from teachers we can make it happen, Scarmack said.

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