Is $5,200 The Price Of A Politician?

Since the murders at Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS in Parkland, Florida, there has been a great debate going on about whether or not teachers and administrators should be armed or, at least, have that option. There are a number of states that do allow it. Moreover, there are fantastic programs like FASTER Saves Lives in Ohio and Colorado that will actually train faculty and administrators in violence response for free.

The North Carolina Superintendent of Public Instruction is Mark Johnson. He is a Republican from Winston-Salem who had served on the Winston-Salem Forsyth County Board of Education prior to running for this office.

Johnson posted on Twitter his position on arming North Carolina’s teachers.

As the Raleigh News and Observer points out about the tweet above, Johnson wants firearms on campus restricted to “these trained, uniformed law-enforcement professionals who courageously choose a career protecting citizens from violent threats.” If the armed Broward County Sheriff’s Department school resource officer had acted as he should have to save student lives, then perhaps I wouldn’t have so much trouble with this statement.

The real trouble I have with Johnson’s statement against arming teachers is that I suspect he is dancing to the tune of one of his largest campaign donors. On December 16, 2015, Johnson’s campaign committee received a check for $5,100 from none other than Michael Bloomberg. Ten days later, Bloomberg’s daughter Emma made an additional $100 donation to Johnson’s campaign for a total of $5,200 from the Bloomberg family. Having scanned all his financial disclosure reports, Johnson only had three or four other donors who each gave $5,100.

As I wrote back in March 2016, seeing such a significant donation from Michael Bloomberg to a candidate for a Council of State office in North Carolina made me feel wary. It didn’t make sense back then but it certainly makes sense now.

So the question for Mark Johnson is $5,200 the going rate for putting the school children of North Carolina at risk?

A Republican Getting Money From Bloomberg Makes Me Feel Wary

Mark Johnson is a Republican running in North Carolina for Superintendent of Public Instruction. The Superintendent is the person in charge of the Department of Public Instruction which governs teacher licensing, K-12 curriculum, state-mandated testing, and the $9.2 billion state school budget.

The current occupant, June Atkinson (D-NC), is running for reelection and is strong proponent of Common Core. While it was thought she might retire, she is running and has primary opposition from retired principal Henry Pankey.

Johnson is a lawyer in Winston-Salem, a member of the Winston-Salem Forsyth County Board of Education, and is an alumnus of Teach for America who taught high school in Charlotte. According to Andrea Dillon aka Lady Liberty 1885 who is staunch Common Core opponent, Johnson has told her he is not a fan of Common Core.

What makes me leery of Mark Johnson is a personal contribution to his campaign by our longtime friend Mike Bloomberg. Bloomberg and his daughter Emma have donated a combined $5,200 to Johnson’s campaign. Johnson says he doesn’t know why the Bloombergs made the donation. He said, “Some of his people mailed a check to me.”

Sorry, dude, but checks like that come with obligations to the donor. Just ask Virginia AG Mark Herring. If Johnson wins, will he be expected to fight to keep schools gun-free zones? Or will he argue before the General Assembly that they should overturn the law which allows concealed carriers to keep their firearms in locked vehicles on school property? Will Everytown’s joke of “gun safety” training be mandated in NC schools?

Johnson has amassed a substantial war chest with over $173,000 cash on hand at the end of 2015. By contrast, his opponents, Dunn school teacher J. Wesley Sills and Alamance County pediatrician Rosemary Stein, had less than $5,000 combined in their campaign accounts. That’s a lot of money for down ticket office.

Early voting has started in North Carolina. One thing I do know is that Mark Johnson will not be getting my vote. Lady Liberty likes Dr. Stein and I think I’ll give her a look.