Burke picks up endorsements from AFL-CIO, teachers unions

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Democrat Mary Burke.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke has picked up endorsements from the Wisconsin Education Association Council, the Wisconsin AFL-CIO and Madison Teachers Inc.

WEAC president Betsy Kippers, in a statement released on April 2, called Burke a "leader who values and respects the important role public education and educators play in our state."

She continued, “The teachers and education support professionals who work in Wisconsin's classrooms are convinced Mary Burke is committed to the long-term success of our public schools and will lead change through collaboration and fairness. Mary Burke will work together with all education stakeholders, parents, community and business leaders — with the best interest of children at heart."

The WEAC said its top education issues in the race between Burke and incumbent Republican Scott Walker are investing in public schools, stopping the siphoning of tax dollars to private schools and restoring respect to educators.

The release from the union also said the race is "winnable."

Madison Teachers Inc. executive director John Matthews said MTI believes Burke is "by far the better candidate because of her unparalleled commitment to education and her commitment to improve the lives of children and families of Wisconsin residents. An excellent education is not only the foundation of a strong democracy, but opens the door to success for all children."

The endorsement from the Wisconsin AFL-CIO said it endorsed Burke after "after a collaborative and democratic process involving workers and leaders across the state."

The union said Walker has attacked workers' wages and collective bargaining rights, dismantled voting rights and "enacted hyper-partisan redistricting lines" while failing to create "good jobs for hard-working Wisconsinites."

Burke, said Phil Neuenfeldt, president of the state organization, "has a proven track record of creating good jobs with family-supporting benefits for Wisconsin workers."

He added, "We know Mary Burke is the best candidate to represent working people across Wisconsin."