Kentucky teachers claim glory in projected Beshear win

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BOYD COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) -- Teachers across Kentucky are celebrating Andy Beshear’s presumed victory as governor for Kentucky. They say it’s been a big moment for them after two years of protesting and speaking out against pension and education legislation under the Bevin administration.

Kentucky teachers say they were happy to see Andy Beshear projected the winner in the Kentucky governor's race.

“I’m so fortunate that we teach and live in a community that feels that way about teachers and they value our opinion,” said Boyd County teacher Missy Salyers. “It was a great feeling.”

Salyers and a group of teachers watched Tuesday’s returns come in together. She says they celebrated the end of what they call the war on public education between them and Bevin.

However, she says while there was plenty of excitement for them, there is a part of her that feels anxious as Bevin has asked for a recanvass.

“We were able to celebrate for an hour or two last night. But I think in the back of our heads, and especially with the recount, we do worry about that.”

Salyers famously met with Bevin in Frankfort last week. She says she thought about that meeting as she waited for the results to come in.

“I wish that in his last four years, he could have shown all teachers the respect he showed me that day that we met, because it was a totally different Matt Bevin,” Salyers said. “I even said to him, ‘If everyone would have seen this side of you, and you would’ve treated all teachers like you treated me, I think things would be very different right now.’”

Salyers says for her and other teachers, it was never about politics or party lines, it came down to what they felt was best for their students and the future of education.

“I think it was about passion. We are passionate about our students, and my passion for my students is why I met with Bevin last week. It wasn't the popular thing to do, but I did it because I love my students, and I knew we couldn't handle four more years of fighting.”

The Kentucky Education Association released a statement Wednesday about the election:

“Voters all across the state supported Andy Beshear and Jacqueline Coleman because they respect their fellow Kentuckians and the work they do,” said Eddie Campbell, KEA President. “Teachers, education support professionals, parents, and their friends and families went to the polls and sent a clear message; Kentucky deserves a governor that respects and values its educators."

"We are proud of Andy, Jacqueline, and all the educators and working-family households who helped make this outcome possible,” Campbell said. “We believe the people of Kentucky have spoken. Educators came out in force to change the negative public education policies espoused by Matt Bevin. We look forward to the final official vote count.”