Biden launches digital campaign targeting teachers

Biden launches digital campaign targeting teachers
© Greg Nash

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenGOP senators balk at lengthy impeachment trial 2020 Democrats make play for veterans' votes 2020 Dems put focus on stemming veteran suicides MORE is launching a digital ad campaign targeting teachers in the four early primary and caucus states as he looks to court a crucial Democratic voting bloc.

The ads, obtained first by The Hill on Friday, feature a series of videos on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram. They will target teachers and other educators in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina, as well as Texas, where Biden spoke earlier this week with members of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), one of the largest teachers unions in the country.

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“Nine in 10 teachers spend their own money on school supplies. Many take on a second job to pay bills,” one of the ads says. “Teachers and other educators are professionals. They should be paid competitive salaries.”

“To give teachers a raise, Joe will triple funding for schools serving low-income families,” the ad continues.

The new ad campaign comes days after Biden issued the first major policy platform of his presidential campaign, rolling out a broad education proposal to raise teacher pay, increase federal funding for low-income school districts and offer universal prekindergarten.

And while not in his written plan, Biden said at the teachers forum this week that he would oppose for-profit charter schools.

That policy rollout followed on the heels of sweeping education proposals released by other candidates, including Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisWarren goes local in race to build 2020 movement 2020 Dems put focus on stemming veteran suicides The Memo: Democrats confront prospect of long primary MORE (D-Calif.), who has pitched a plan to spend $315 billion over 10 years to raise teacher pay by an average of $13,500 per person.

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie Sanders2020 Democrats make play for veterans' votes 2020 Dems put focus on stemming veteran suicides The Memo: Democrats confront prospect of long primary MORE (I-Vt.), another 2020 contender, also unveiled an education plan this month, calling for, among other things, a moratorium on federal funding for charter schools and minimum teacher pay of $60,000.

Biden has often pointed to his wife, Jill Biden, a community college professor with a more than 30-year career in education, to pitch his close relationship to teachers. He also got a boost on Wednesday when Randi Weingarten, the president of AFT, introduced him at the teachers forum in Texas as the union’s “North Star” in the Obama administration.

So far, more than 8,000 teachers and educators have donated to the former vice president’s 2020 bid, his campaign said, the largest number of any occupation.

“Teachers and educators know that Vice President Biden and Dr. Biden, a lifelong educator herself, are in their corner,” said Brandon English, a senior adviser to Biden’s campaign.

“As the Bidens' message for providing educators the support and respect they need and deserve resonates across the country, we are using tools like Facebook and YouTube to ensure teachers remain central to our campaign as grassroots donors, supporters, and champions for public education,” he said.