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State education union endorses Giunchigliani for governor

Jackie Valley
Jackie Valley

The state education union has officially thrown its support behind former special-education teacher Chris Giunchigliani for governor — a move that, once again, puts it at odds with the Clark County union.

The Nevada State Education Association board voted unanimously to endorse Giunchigliani, a Democrat who’s a member of the Clark County Commission. She’s challenging her commission peer, Steve Sisolak, in the primary.

The Clark County Education Association, which has been feuding with the state education union over several issues, endorsed Sisolak earlier this month, calling him a “pragmatic” leader who could improve the state’s public education system.

NSEA, however, lobbed praise on Giunchigliani, who previously taught in the Clark County School District, served as president of the county teachers’ union, founded the Teachers Health Trust and, later, served as president of the state education union. She also spent 16 years as a lawmaker in the Assembly.

“There has never been a candidate for Governor with a such a lifetime commitment to public schools and a quality public education for every Nevada student,” NSEA President Ruben Murillo, Jr. said in a statement. “As a special education teacher in Clark County, I was recruited into the union by Chris G when she was the union President in 1988. Chris G was a leading voice for public education then, and she has never stopped her advocacy for public schools and our students. NSEA is 100% committed in making sure Chris Giunchigliani becomes our Education Governor.”

Giunchigliani said she was “honored” to receive the NSEA endorsement Sunday while at the Las Vegas women’s march.

“Working together, we will win this Governor’s race and finally generate the political will to improve Nevada schools, so every student gets a high-quality public education,” she said in a statement.

John Vellardita, executive director of the local teachers’ union, said he wasn’t surprised by NSEA’s decision to endorse Giunchigliani. But he stands by CCEA’s support of Sisolak, who the union believes has a better shot of defeating GOP gubernatorial frontrunner Adam Laxalt.

“We don’t believe she can win,” Vellardita said. “We’re not wasting our votes … We’re about winning and getting things accomplished.”

NSEA, Giunchigliani and Sisolak will face off in Nevada’s primary election on June 12.

Disclosure: Chris Giunchigliani and Steve Sisolak are financial supporters of The Nevada Independent. A complete list of Indy donors and sponsors can be viewed here.


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