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Obama presidency accompanied by key congressional and gubernatorial wins


WASHINGTON - November 04, 2008 -

The presidential election of Sen. Barack Obama was accompanied Tuesday by key wins in congressional races and governors' mansions across the country.

"NEA's 3.2 million members and their families should be proud of their role in this historic election, at all levels of government," said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel. "The inspiring victory of Barack Obama was accompanied by key victories in congressional and gubernatorial races across the country that will mean positive changes for students and educators."

NEA members played a vital role in critical congressional races across the country that helped expand margins in the House and Senate for pro-public education allies. As a bipartisan organization, the National Education Association was pleased to return many friends from both sides of the aisle to Congress and elect new ones as a part of a growing Democratic majority. 

In the Senate, NEA contributed to key victories including newly elected senators in New Hampshire, North Carolina, Virginia, New Mexico and Colorado. Jeanne Shaheen, who was New Hampshire's first female governor, will head to Washington, as will former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner. Rep. Tom Udall, who represented New Mexico in the House of Representatives for nearly a decade, is moving to the Senate. In Colorado, Rep. Mark Udall is making the move from the House to the Senate as well. In North Carolina, Kay Hagan won a major victory over Sen. Elizabeth Dole.

Highlights among the many campaigns NEA took part in:
Alabama-NEA supported pro-public education candidates Rep. Bobby Bright, who represents Alabama's 2nd Congressional District, and Parker Griffith, who will represent Alabama's 5th Congressional District.

Arizona-Sen. John McCain's home state-Member outreach programs helped with a decisive victory for Rep.-elect Ann Kirkpatrick in the 1st Congressional District; Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona's 8th Congressional District and former teacher and NEA member Rep. Harry Mitchell in Arizona's 5th Congressional District.

North Carolina-NEA member and social studies teacher Larry Kissell was elected to North Carolina's 8th Congressional District.

Pennsylvania-NEA has supported candidates who are pro-public education, regardless of party affiliation. In Pennsylvania, NEA recommended Republican incumbents Rep. Tim Murphy, representing the state's 18th Congressional District, and Rep. Todd Platts, representing the state's 19th Congressional District.

Gubernatorial election victories for public schools
Voters in North Carolina elected a former educator and current friend of education to hold their top state spot. Democrat Bev Perdue made education a priority in her role as lieutenant governor and promises to do the same as North Carolina's governor. She wants to expand early childhood education initiatives and improve college scholarship programs.

In Missouri, Democrat Jay Nixon was victorious in his bid for governor. Nixon opposes school vouchers, which take critical resources away from public schools. He wants to strengthen public education and work to recruit talented teachers.

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The National Education Association is the nation's largest professional employee organization, representing 3.2 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.

CONTACT: Will Potter  (202) 822-7823