Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders picked up a coveted endorsement from the largest teacher’s union in Nevada on Tuesday, marking much-needed working class support for him in the early voting state.
The Clark County Education Association, representing 19,000 educators and other licensed professionals in the Las Vegas area, announced their support Tuesday for the Vermont senator in comments first reported by Buzzfeed News.
“Senator Sanders has a stellar record of supporting educators. His position on public education issues is second to none. He has always been a champion for educators and working class people,” union president Vikki Courtney in a statement.
“We appreciated that Sen. Sanders came to us, very much reached out to us, and wanted to speak to us,” Courtney added. “He is concerned about access to education for kids, for students themselves but also for the adults who are the educators. The student loan debt is part of that idea, it is hard to achieve when it costs so much to go to school. And that part is important because we’re lacking educators. We’re 1000 teachers short here in Nevada.”
The school district associated with the union, the Clark County School District, is the fifth-largest in the nation.
Sanders thanked the union for its endorsement and said he looks forward “to their partnership in transforming our country and defeating the most dangerous president in modern history.”
“We’re proud to have teachers as our top donors by occupation because they hold the key to a more prosperous future for younger generations,” Sanders said. “Together, we will finally give teachers a much-deserved raise, reinvest in public education, and create an education system that benefits students no matter their background or socioeconomic status.”
While some national unions have been skittish about Sanders, worried that his Medicare for All plan would force them to give up their hard-negotiated health care benefits, Sanders has run on a platform of supporting and encouraging unions and has picked up numerous local union endorsements.
Nevada’s Democratic caucus will take place on February 22.