Oregon Moms Union renews attacks on public education & (actual) unions in Oregon
And they just netted a huge $41k in funding from a familiar Salem-based investment corporation
Outside the state Board of Education in Salem in late November 2022, at a small press conference flanked by two newly elected Oregon legislators, the leader of Oregon Moms Union renewed her battle on public education.
And the very next day, Salem-based investment firm Mountain West Investment Corp. dumped $41,000 into the political action committee formed by Oregon Mom’s Union.
That means Oregon Moms Union President MacKensey Pulliam is setting her anti-public education (and pro-censorship) organization up to have big influence in Oregon school board elections in May 2023.
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Don’t let the weird press conference & poor logo design fool you - these folks are organizing & raising funds quickly
At her sparsely attended press conference on November 30 in Salem, Pulliam declared 2023 the “year of the student,” but spoke almost exclusively about her group’s focus on making sure “parents” are heard. Pulliam was joined by newly elected Oregon House Republicans Kevin Mannix & Tracy Cramer - both of whom also focused on the role of parents and how important it is to listen to parents.
Both Mannix & Cramer got loads of campaign money from Mountain West, too. (Spoiler alert, Mountain West only supports right-wing folks. We’ll see more of that later.)
Despite the obvious attempt to hide parent-driven, ideological-fueled grievances behind concern for students, the group’s logo could use some design love:
But seriously, Pulliam and team are well-trained and following a series of playbooks and maneuvers that have been successful for other anti-public education groups in places like Virginia - where GOP Gov. Glenn Youngkin has been dismantling programs and curriculum to satisfy his campaign promises to defeat imaginary monsters like critical race theory.
Recruit, train, and indoctrinate - Pulliam uses social media feeds to spread strategy and tactics
Oregon Moms Union social media feeds serve two purposes:
Recruit people into action (usually with sensationalized propaganda from dubious sources)
Train adults how to inject themselves into their local school district with the purpose of making or influencing “positive change.”
It’s clear that public-facing social media - specifically Facebook - is a critical channel for Pulliam and her leadership to both grow AND keep existing followers engaged.
The group regularly looks to recruit district captains and build on-the-ground, localized support around the premise that they are simply parents who want to be involved.
But…that’s not really true.
Oregon Moms Union is perhaps better defined as growing influence in a highly politicized effort to dismantle public education and weaken the labor unions that support our public school educators.
You wouldn’t find that description in any of their materials, though. But keep in mind, this is the same group that declared 2023 the “year of the student” and then proceeded to focus on how it’s paramount that parents have unobstructed involvement with any aspect of public education they feel doesn’t meet their personal standards.
They are full of shit. And since you can’t really trust what they say about themselves and their motivations, we’re forced to define them by their actions and associations.
And their actions paint a much different picture.
Oregon Moms Unions works intimately with Freedom Foundation. That’s a huge red flag.
Pulliam and her crew often rely on Freedom Foundation for training and other support. Freedom Foundation is a Koch-funded, anti-union influence & propaganda machine.
Not only that, but Freedom Foundation has…let’s say, a spotty track record. It’s honestly pretty shocking that a group pretending to care about education is associated with such an extreme group.
Oregon Moms Union supports anti-transgender campaigns and book banning
Local to Salem-Keizer, Oregon Mom’s Union has thrown their full support behind various public anti-transgender protests and efforts by parents and other adults to ban books from school libraries based on distorted misrepresentations and zero context.
In Salem-Keizer, there are three school board seats up for election in May 2023 (less than 6 months away)
From Salem Reporter:
The district’s next election for school board is in May 2023, with three seats up for election in zones 2, 4 and 6. Those seats represent northeast Salem, southwest Salem and Keizer, respectively, and are currently held by Marty Heyen, Satya Chandragiri and new appointee Robert Salazar.
Salazar was just appointed after County Commissioner and (former) School Board Director Danielle Bethell quit on her constituents. His experience seems solid and the progressive members of the board were unified in their support of Salazar.
But Heyen and Chandragiri are very vulnerable seats. Seats that Oregon Mom’s Union would love to hang onto for furthering their ongoing anti-union, pro-censorship campaign.
Heck, I betcha if you looked at the financial backers for Heyen and Chandragiri in their previous campaigns, you might find the fingerprints of Mountain West Investment Corp., too. Y’know, the group that just quietly slid the Oregon Mom’s Union a cool $41k. Be a shame to see that investment fail :)
Let’s all continue to keep an eye on Oregon Mom’s Union, shall we?
And let’s get ready for school board elections in May 2023. Chandragiri and Heyen are not productive members of the Salem-Keizer School Board. We can do better.