By Kyle Olson
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – There’s pandering for votes, and then there’s corruption. Craig Ford, the Democratic Minority Leader of the Alabama House of Representatives, has both down to perfection.
One week before Election Day, he announced plans to introduce a bill giving all government school teachers a 10 percent raise over two years.
“The cost of living for educators, retirees and state employees has increased by 10 percent since their last pay increase. But this pay increase will also help recruit quality teachers and be a boost for the statewide economy,” Ford was quoted as saying by the Tuscaloosa News.
He couldn’t wait till November 7th to make such a declaration? He probably couldn’t help himself, since the Alabama Education Association (the state’s largest teachers union) has been, and probably remains, one of his biggest financial backers.
According to Ballotpedia.org, Ford received $10,000 from the AEA in 2010 and $20,000 in 2006 for his campaign. Numbers for 2012 are not yet available.
Interestingly, Ford’s epiphany came literally one day after a leader of the AEA announced he’ll “seek pay raises of 10 percent for K-12 education employees over the next two budget years,” according to the News.
Gov. Robert Bentley agreed there should be some type of raise, but was unsure of the exact amount.
This is what happens when special interest groups like the AEA support politicians who then carry their water legislatively or in contract negotiations. Unions have the unique ability to invest money and manpower into electing people who are then going to impact their compensation and work rules. It’s a corrupt system that must be rooted out.