Before I can take on the climate-science denying Republican, Ryan Sitton, in the November general election, I have to win a primary election on March 3rd.
At the last minute, a couple of male lawyers threw their hat into the ring, bringing my primary race pool to a total of 4 candidates made up of 3 Dallas-based lawyers and 1 educator/environmental activist. On March 3rd, I need to win 51% of the vote share to come out on top of this race and move onto the next round in this fight for our environment against this climate emergency.
Although I have received oodles of support and encouragement, I am also combating naysayers who claim that only a lawyer or only an engineer knows how to “fix it”, and they say that, as an educator, I’m not knowledgeable enough to understand the complexities of why the world is literally on fire. This is quite a paradox for me to be simultaneously a person who imparts knowledge as well as a person who apparently has none.
As an academic, I read, I study, I inquire, and I pursue. As an educator, I stimulate discourse and offer up information, encouraging further inquiry and independent thought, and as an entertainer, I add humor and flare to better engage learners.
As an activist, I speak up and take a stand.
I studied and taught at the very same institution where Lyndon Baines Johnson studied. It’s changed names several times, but as a student at Southwest Texas State Teachers College, LBJ was assigned to teach in a tiny Hispanic school in a deeply impoverished area, where he thrived. He later left his career as a teacher to pursue politics during the Great Depression. The Civil Rights Act of 1964, Voting Rights Act, Medicare and Medicaid were all signed into law by LBJ.
Justin Trudeau, the prime minister of Canada has *just* a bachelor’s degree in education and literature. He taught elementary math, high school French, humanities and drama for three years at a private school, and he substitute taught at a public school. He’s said he became a teacher to have “a positive influence on the world.”
Elizabeth Warren’s first job after college was teaching special needs students at a public elementary school, and before serving as First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt was a teacher for six years, teaching history, literature and public affairs at the Todhunter School for Girls in NYC.
There are several articles, listicles and blogs that I could share about how 2018 was called “The Year of the Teacher” in politics, and some of those might be more clickable and reader-friendly than what I want to share with y’all today. I mean, I’ve mostly taught at the college level afterall, and I love me some good ol’ heady data to wade through.
I got to wondering why there are so many lawyers in my race and why there are so many lawyers in elected office for that matter. It’s certainly a skewed representation of our population. So, I started digging around and asking questions (we should all ask more questions), and I found this study where Adam Bonica, a professor at Stanford University, asks “Why are there so many lawyers in Congress?”
I’m sharing the full study here, but for those of you who prefer a TLDR, his abstract sums up his findings nicely, and shocker…it’s mostly about money:
Even when compared to other professionals (1) lawyers are more likely to self-select into running for political office and (2) conditional on entering, they win at much higher rates than candidates from other backgrounds—but not for the reasons typically offered by scholars. There is no evidence to support claims that the status or skills associated with lawyers make for talented campaigners or otherwise appeal to voters. Rather, their competitive advantage lies in their strength as fundraisers. Lawyers benefit from a sizable fundraising advantage during the early stages of candidacy. On average, lawyers raise twice the amount raised by non-lawyers during the initial months of their campaigns, with fundraising from fellow lawyers accounting for much of the advantage. This study has important implications about who runs for office, who wins, and the consequences for the demographic composition of Congress. It also identifies a key mechanism by which the U.S. system of campaign finance sustains deep representational imbalances.
With all of that said, now, here’s my teacher voice:
Class, I’d like to hear from you all now.
What do y’all think about all this?