Fresh off a statewide teachers’ strike and five percent pay raise, local teachers and ex-teachers are stepping up to challenge for power in the West Virginia legislature.
Last month, Frankfort High School social studies teacher and wrestling coach Jason Armentrout announced he was running as an independent against State Senator Charles Trump (R-Morgan). There is no Democrat in the race for that seat — Senate District 15.
And then, on the last day of eligibility to fill an empty Democratic Party slot, former teacher Barbara “Barby” Frankenberry threw her hat into the ring as the Democratic candidate in the race for House of Delegates District 64. There is no other Democrat in the race.
Delegate Eric Householder (R-Berkeley) will face off against Berkeley County teacher Wendy Bird in the Republican primary May 8.
In a rough and tumble race in 2016, Frankenberry lost to Householder 56 to 44. Frankenberry was a teacher for 44 years before retiring in 2015.
During that 2016 campaign, Householder got into a twitter exchange with teachers and suggested that maybe, instead of a pay raise, teachers get a second job over the summer. That comment has left a scar among teachers that has yet to heal.
Before the House of Delegates caved last month to statewide popular pressure and voted unanimously for a five percent raise, Householder voted against a number of teacher pay raise proposals — including one where the House of Delegates rejected a pay raise proposal on a tie vote 50 to 50. That proposal would have increased teachers pay by three percent in the first year followed by a one percent and then another one percent raise.