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Teachers unions blast TV ad questioning their support of Texas House hopeful Celina Montoya 

click to enlarge Celina Montoya speaks at a Tuesday presser while officials from teachers unions look on. - COURTESY PHOTO / CELINA MONTOYA CAMPAIGN
  • Courtesy Photo / Celina Montoya Campaign
  • Celina Montoya speaks at a Tuesday presser while officials from teachers unions look on.
Leaders of three San Antonio teachers unions have issued statements rebutting an attack ad in which State Rep. Steve Allison alleges opponent Celina Montoya faked an endorsement from the American Federation of Teachers.

The TV spot in question suggests Allison, a Republican, enjoys the support of local teachers groups while his Democratic rival falsely claimed on a campaign flyer that she has AFT backing.

"Celina Montoya claims she’s endorsed by this teacher group," a narrator says as an image of the AFT logo flashes onscreen with a red slash through it. "Problem is, she wasn’t. That’s a lie."

While the Texas AFT hasn't endorsed either candidate in the race for House District 121, three San Antonio affiliates of the union showed up at a Tuesday press conference to say they have endorsed Montoya.

The Allison campaign didn't return a request for comment.

"These past years we have been able to make small strides through our union advocacy efforts, but until we change our current political leadership, our efforts will not make the enormous changes we need to change public education in Texas," Northside AFT organizer Melina Espiritu-Azocar said at the event.

In addition to Espiritu-Azocar's union, which represents employees in the Northside ISD, Montoya picked up endorsements from the San Antonio Alliance, which represents San Antonio ISD workers, and the Bexar County Federation of Teachers, which represents those in the North East and South San Antonio ISDs.

During the presser, Montoya spoke of her own public school education and called for better funding for Texas schools and a science-based curriculum. The state's Republican leadership has also turned its back on teachers and school staff during the pandemic, she added.

"Some of the things my kids learn in school are under Mr. Allison's character education platform," Montoya said, citing an ad from her rival in which he touts his support of character education in public schools. "And character education is extremely important. It's probably time for [Allison] to take a look at that curriculum again."

In 2018, Allison beat Montoya by eight points for the District 121 seat, and Democrats have made this year's race a high-priority target as they look to flip the Texas House.

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