In yesterday’s Washington Post, there was an interesting feature on Rich Nixon, a Clayton history teacher who, this fall, will be challenging for the District 26 seat in the N.C. House of Representatives.
Nixon, a Democrat, will be seeking the seat long held by powerful Johnston County Republican Leo Daughtry, a 12-term member of the House who ranks among the most senior members of the General Assembly. Daughtry, however, announced last October that he would not be seeking re-election this fall, leaving the seat relatively wide open.
Of course, Johnston County is, traditionally, a very conservative county, but Nixon, according to the Post, will be pushing the narrative of North Carolina’s struggling teachers.
From the Post:
“We’ve lost a lot of funding, and it’s gotten to the point where the public school system is really challenged,” Nixon said.
North Carolina’s state spending on public education fell 14 percent between 2008 and 2014, according to a recent report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. The state’s public schools spent about $8,390 per student in 2013, according to federal data, below the national average of $10,700 and among the lowest in the nation. Gov. Pat McCrory has touted a $700 million increase in education spending during the past year, but advocates say that’s not enough after years of declining investment. Average teacher pay rose in 2015, but even with that increase North Carolina’s teachers are still among the country’s worst-paid, with pay ranking 42nd among the states, according to the National Education Association.
Interestingly, according to the story, Nixon’s campaign will be managed by his former pupil, now a 20-year-old sophomore at UNC-Chapel Hill and a Hillary Clinton volunteer. With Daughtry’s exit, this is certainly a campaign worth watching.