Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Jessie Rodriguez Wins 21st Assembly District Seat in Wisconsin

By Matt Frendewey

Voters in the 21st Assembly District seat had two very clear choices to choose from as their next representative: Community activist Jessie Rodriguez or nonprofit fundraiser Elizabeth Coppola. 

Voters chose Jessie Rodriguez. 

Why does this matter?

Because, Coppola centered her campaign around turning back Wisconsin's positive education reforms that empower parents to choose the best education for their children. For example, the first bullet point on her website reads, "Education: Stand up for strong public schools by reversing cuts to public education before expanding and increasing spending on unaccountable voucher schools."

Essentially, Coppola was convinced that by running against the popular education choice reforms and against Jessie Rodriguez, a school choice community activist, Coppola has concocted a winning formula. 

As Jack Craver wrote, anti-education reform groups from around the country "funneled" money through the  Greater Wisconsin Committee to slam Rodriguez and support Coppola. In contrast, the American Federation for Children Action Fund supported Rodriguez only in her primary campaign. 

In the endCoppola's strategy backfired.

Coppola's messaging turned off voters and the tens of thousands of dollars used against Rodriguez failed. Voters chose to support school choice champion Rodriguez, and said, "no" to Coppola's regressive education policies.


Matt Frendewey is the national communications director for the American Federation for Children.

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