HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — A recent Washington Post/ABC News poll shows with control of the House and Senate possibly shifting from Democrats to Republicans in November. Two in three registered voters see this election as more important than past midterms.
Republicans hold a firm lead on the economy and crime while Democrats have the advantage of abortion and climate change, but what about the issue of parental rights and what’s being taught in the classroom?
Parents are closely watching candidates.
Jayme Stevenson, the Republican candidate for the 4th Congressional District, says, “The parents in the Fourth Congressional District are fired up. They are organized. They are getting in front of their boards of education and their demanding accountability.”
Mom of five and a grandmother, the Republican candidate for Congress in Fairfield County says parental rights are an issue she hears about daily.
“They’re being asked to identify their pronouns in third grade,” said Stevenson. “You need to really take a look at some of the reading materials that are being made available to our children, sexualizing our children at the earliest ages.”
The Democratic incumbent in the Fourth District, Congressman Jim Himes, was in Washington voting on the federal budget continuing resolution. His campaign ignored repeated requests for comment.
Statewide Republicans are courting parents, promising to empower them with a Bill of Rights. Just days ago, Bob Stefanowski, the Republican candidate for governor, brought in Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin to campaign with him.
“Yeah, I think he’s a terrific example of somebody that has put parents first and getting schools to focus on reading, writing, and arithmetic,” said Stefanowski.
Exit polls in that 2021 Virginia race found a quarter of voters said the debate over teaching critical race theory in schools was the single most important factor in their vote. Youngkin, a Republican, beat a Democrat incumbent.
“It’s what happens in schools where bureaucrats and politicians are trying to insert themselves in between parents and their children,” Youngkin said.
When asked about that scenario happening in Connecticut, Democrats say COVID-19 is more of a factor.
Gov. Ned Lamont told reporters this week, “I think Virginia’s problem was they did not prioritize getting schools open. Our schools were open faster and more safely than just about any state in the country. I think parents understand that.”
Chair Nancy Dinardo of the state Democrat Party echoed the COVID argument.
“[Lamont] got us through the pandemic, which made him the most popular Democratic governor in the country,” Dinardo said.
We saw parents galvanized in March 2021 over the repeal of the religious exemption for vaccines, and last month, over what may or may not have been taught in the classrooms of Greenwich schools.
Who could forget the vaccine-hesitant parents who shouted the governor out of the room last year in Cheshire?
A recent ABC News /Washington Post poll found registered voters were split when it came to the question of which political party do you trust to do a better job handling education and schools?