Teachers union leader apologizes to Hobbs

OLYMPIA — A leader of the state’s largest teachers union has apologized to Democratic state Sen. Steve Hobbs after learning the group of teachers who left fliers at the lawmaker’s home in Lake Stevens recently included one of his son’s instructors.

More than 100 teachers knocked on doors in Hobbs’ 44th Legislative District late last month, handing out fliers criticizing the second-term senator for his support of a controversial bill giving school administrators a stronger voice in deciding which teachers, work on their campus.

Those who dropped a flier on the front door of Hobbs’ home then took pictures and posted them on the Facebook page of the Washington Education Association. Hobbs was not home at the time and noticed one of his three sons’ teachers when he saw the photos later.

Rod Regan, managing director of advocacy/organizing, communications and public policy centers, apologized in a phone message released by Hobbs on Tuesday.

“We did not know about that,” Regan said. “We knew that people were doorbelling with a flier. We did not know that one of the teachers of Sen. Hobbs’ children would be delivering a flier. We apologize for that.”

Hobbs and the teachers union are familiar political foes; the union opposed his re-election in 2010.

This session the union targeted him for his votes on a series of education bills. On March 22, it funded robocalls to voters in the district and the doorbelling took place the next day.

“I want to thank Rod Regan again for his apology and I hope that it’s an indication that we can put aside our differences,” Hobbs said in a statement.

He also took a dig at the union tactics that include carting around a full-size cardboard cut-out of him.

“The effigy and misleading information about my position on education is unfair to me, but worse than that, it deceives the WEA’s own members,” he said. “I look forward to working together on the issues we agree on and having a healthy discussion on those we don’t.”

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; jcornfield@heraldnet.com.

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