The super PAC for the largest teachers union in the country on Friday launched a seven-figure TV and digital ad buy featuring a Triangle teacher criticizing U.S. Senate candidate Thom Tillis.
The National Education Association Advocacy Fund says the commercial will be aired in 95 percent of North Carolina for a week. A spokesman for the committee said the ads will cost $1.7 million.
The spot features Vivian Connell, a teacher in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro district with 20 years of classroom experience.
“I always want my students to start with facts, and the fact is Thom Tillis is terrible for education in North Carolina,” Connell says.
The ad repeats the assertion by incumbent Sen. Kay Hagan and Democrats that the General Assembly under Tillis cut education funding by half a billion dollars. Lawmakers allocated $481 million less than the amount that would have been required to maintain the same level of spending. Republicans argue that doesn’t constitute a cut, but Democrats say it is.
The ad praises Hagan for supporting education.
Connell, who has ALS, was the subject of a News & Observer profile earlier this year when she was raising funds to send her students on a visit to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. She taught then at the Phoenix Academy, an alternative high school, but is now teaching full time at Chapel Hill High.