Friday, November 4, 2016

Don Jorgensen Withdraws His Endorsement of Mark Stegeman

Posted By on Fri, Nov 4, 2016 at 8:42 AM

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Citing an endorsement statement on a Mark Stegeman campaign flier he calls "deplorable" and "dog-whistle racism," Don Jorgensen, former chair of the Pima County Democratic Party, has withdrawn his endorsement from the TUSD board candidate.

Jorgensen says he had endorsed Stegeman because he wants to see "greater transparency and accountability on the TUSD board." Jorgensen also said he is "disappointed by the Board failure to keep their commitment to direct Prop 123 funds to teachers." I respect his concerns even if I don't entirely agree with them.

However, Jorgensen withdrew his endorsement when he saw Stegeman's campaign flier. Jorgensen is quoted on the flier as a supporter, but he was disturbed by a comment above his from Carolyn Cox, former chair of the Pima County Republican Party. According to Jorgensen, "I condemn Cox's comments and reject any association with her views, which are nothing more than dog-whistle racism."

In her statement, Cox says she supports Stegeman because he will "keep the board's emphasis on accurate American History." The statement is a thinly veiled message to voters who don't want schools to include the teaching of American history from the perspective of the country's racial and ethnic minorities, assuring them that Stegeman will do what he can to make sure history is taught from an Anglocentric point of view. In a longer quote on Stegeman's website, Cox adds, "The texts used in classes are critical and those decisions are a major function of the school board." This statement reminds those same voters that Stegeman, who was instrumental in dismantling TUSD's Mexican American Studies program and banning the use of texts which were part of the MAS curriculum from classroom use, will be in a position to monitor the purchase of new textbooks.

Below is Don Jorgensen's complete statement about why he is withdrawing his endorsement, followed by Carolyn Cox's endorsement of Stegeman as it appears on his campaign website.

Don Jorgensen's statement withdrawing his endorsement:
"I supported Mark's reelection because I support his focus on the need for greater transparency and accountability on the TUSD board. I was also disappointed by the Board failure to keep their commitment to direct Prop 123 funds to teachers. (Like many others I did not buy their rationalization for the diversion of funds.)

However, the recent mailer including my endorsement alongside one from Carolyn Cox has caused me to withdraw my endorsement. I condemn Cox's comments and reject any association with her views, which are nothing more than dog-whistle racism. I am disappointed to see that Mark has associated himself with such divisive and deplorable comments."
Carolyn Cox's statement on Stegeman's website:
"Mark Stegeman is a critical member for re-election to the TUSD board. He will keep the board’s emphasis on accurate American History plus math and reading skills to prepare students for good jobs. The texts used in classes are critical and those decisions are a major function of the school board."

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