Recently the group supporting Measure 5 held a press conference calling on opponents of the measure to “stop the lies.”
That’s pretty rich given how often they have trouble telling the truth. For instance, there was that time they got caught using pictures of South Dakota to promote Measure 5 in North Dakota. There’s that time they got nailed for using illegal push poll tactics. There’s that time they claimed they weren’t using paid petitioners, but they were. There’s that time their petition circulators got caught forging tens of thousands of signatures.
Now there’s this.
The North Dakotans for Clean Water, Wildlife, and Parks are running an ad (see above) with a woman named Amy Walker in it who claims to be a teacher from Mandan. In the ad she attempts to rebut claims from the anti-Measure 5 people (the North Dakotans from Common Sense Conservation) who argue that diverting such a huge amount of tax revenues (hundreds of millions per biennium) to a conservation spending mandate would take funds away from education.
Bolstering the anti-Measure 5 point is the fact that several organizations representing education leaders are part of their coalition. No doubt the environmental activists behind Measure 5 are hoping that Walker representing herself as a teacher will bolster their argument.
Which is probably why they’re also featuring her in direct mail ads, where she’s described as a high school teacher from Mandan:
But here’s the thing: She’s not a teacher. The ad shows her sitting in what appears to be a classroom, complete with a “Ms. Walker” sign in the background, but that’s not really her classroom. Or any classroom, I would hope, since the use of taxpayer proper for political purposes would be illegal.
Here’s the teacher directory for the Mandan High School. Walker isn’t listed. I’ve contacted school officials in Mandan inquiring as to Walker’s employment there, and she’s not currently a teacher.
So who is she? Well, she’s not a teacher in Mandan, but she is the wife of Johan Walker who was named by Ducks Unlimited to be their Director of Conservation for the Great Plains Region which includes North Dakota.
In other words, Amy Walker’s spouse is a guy whose day job would benefit mightily should Measure 5 let groups like Ducks Unlimited put their sticky fingers into North Dakota’s pot of gold.
Kind of makes you feel a little bit differently when you watch that ad, doesn’t it?
Why does this matter? Well, the pro-Measure 5 people are telling us that the claims coming from education leaders on the anti-Measure 5 side are a pack of lies. To make that point, they’re using Walker’s status as a teacher. Only she’s not a teacher, at least not currently. So who do we believe? The woman pretending to be a teacher from Mandan, or the people who are actual education leaders in this state?
Update: According to the Education Standards and Practices Board, Walker is a licensed teacher. She is not, however, currently a teacher in Mandan. Which is the issue. They couldn’t just run the ad honestly, with a former teacher, they had to carefully parse their message to make it seem like she’s a current teacher. Everything the pro-Measure 5 people do seems to have a little bit of dishonest baked right in.
According to this document, Walker resigned in the middle of the 2013-2014 school year.