The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 205 has endorsed Gini Pupo-Walker for the Metro Nashville School Board:
‘Gini has extensive experience in the school system and outside of it and will bring great leadership and professionalism to the board,’ said SEIU member Lilldeus Russell, a paraprofessional in MNPS. ‘She has consistently been an advocate for equity in our schools and we need more voices like that on the board.’
Pupo-Walker serves as the Education Policy Director for Nashville-based Conexion Americas, an affiliate of UnidosUS (formerly known as the National Council of La Raza). Conexion’s founder and co-director, Renata Soto, has had a long-standing leadership role with UnidosUS serving first as vice-chair of the board in 2012, until she was elected as chairman in 2015 when the organization was still named La Raza. She remains listed as Chairman for the 2017-2018 slate.
In 2016, Conexion Americas launched the Tennessee Educational Equity Coalition (TEEC) which Pupo-Walker leads, tying GOP gubernatorial candidate Randy Boyd even closer to Soto and her Nashville organization. Boyd’s own education non-profit Complete Tennessee is listed as a State Partner on the TEEC website and Conexion’s Renata Soto serves on the Complete Tennessee Board.
Mauricio Calvo, executive director of Latino Memphis serves on Boyd’s Complete Tennessee steering committee and is listed as a TEEC regional partner.
Shortly before TEEC was created and while Randy Boyd was still serving as the Commissioner of Economic and Community Development, he and his wife Jenny donated a quarter of a million dollars to Conexion Americas which Soto described as “the single largest individual gift” to her organization in its 14-year history.
Boyd’s largesse for the La Raza affiliate and his interlocked relationship with its education projects earned him the nickname “La Raza” Randy.
Pupo-Walker, Soto and Boyd are tied to organizations that support “tuition equity,” which is the legislative reference to a bill that would grant the in-state tuition benefit to illegal alien students which is probably why Sen. Todd Gardenhire spoke at the Education Summit TEEC convened this year. But “equity” whether related to college tuition or education services received in the K-12 years, does not come without a cost to state taxpayers.
The SEIU is reputed to be “one of the largest, wealthiest, and most powerful unions in the country” and its Tennessee chapter is active in state races at all levels of government. In a Memphis Democratic primary for Tennessee state Senate, Local 205 has endorsed the challenger to incumbent Sen. Reggie Tate who has held that seat since 2007. Tate has been criticized for too often siding with Republicans in the Senate.
In Nashville, the SEIU Local 205 is firmly embedded in Mayor David Briley’s office. Freda Player-Peters, Local 205’s former political director who was responsible for lobbying, advocacy and electoral activities for the union in Nashville, Chattanooga, and Memphis, was recently appointed by David Briley to serve as his senior legislative advisor.
In Williamson County, the SEIU has used a less conspicuous route to influence school board elections. In 2014, a group called “Williamson Strong” got involved in Williamson County’s school board races. As reported by The Tennessee Star, Williamson Strong presented itself as a parent group considered by conservative critics to be more along the lines of a sophisticated operation acting politically in favor of progressive-leaning school board candidates and policies.
The Star also exposed the fact that“Susan Drury, one of the five lead team members of Williamson Strong,” was working for the SEIU.
During the 2013 immigration reform debate, the SEIU spent $300,000 to run advertisements supporting reform and calling for green cards and a pathway to citizenship for illegal aliens.
The SEIU has opposed virtually every agenda action initiated by the Trump administration from rejecting the proposed 2017 budget to the President’s Executive Orders on immigration. It should come as no surprise that the same the uber-leftist New York public relations firm that prepared the “NoMuslimBanEver” campaign ToolKit complete with talking points, slogans, and scripted Instagram stories with images, also represents the SEIU.
It should also come as no surprise that Pupo-Walker’s organization Conexion Americas leader was a featured speaker at a “NoMusimBanEver” protest.