Handicapping the Voting Rights Act

National Journal
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July 1, 2013, 2:35 p.m.

New York Times’ Fitz­sim­mons/Zeleny re­port that “a lead­er of the church” where Rep. Mark Kirk (R-10) “claims he worked as a nurs­ery school teach­er” said 6/18 “that he had over­stated his role there.” Forest Home Chapel coun­cil mem­ber Sally Grubb said “Kirk had a lim­ited role while work­ing part-time in a work-study pro­gram while he was a stu­dent” at Cor­nell Univ. nearly three dec­ades ago.

Grubb: “He was nev­er, ever con­sidered a teach­er. He was just an ad­di­tion­al pair of hands to help a primary teach­ing per­son.”

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“Eight long­time mem­bers of the church,” in­clud­ing two ex-pas­tors, said “that they did not re­call hav­ing a male nurs­ery school teach­er” in ‘81. Ex-pas­tor Thomas Wolfe: “I don’t re­mem­ber any men who worked there. It was a team of wo­men. I used to go over every morn­ing and have cof­fee with them.”

A re­view of pub­lic com­ments by Kirk “over the last dec­ade shows that he has of­ten re­ferred to him­self in speeches, cam­paign com­mer­cials and in­ter­views as a former nurs­ery, middle and high school teach­er.” Kirk spokes­per­son Kirsten Kukowski: “Con­gress­man Kirk be­lieves his time work­ing in a nurs­ery school and middle school provided valu­able life ex­per­i­ence.”

“Grubb said that she had told a rep­res­ent­at­ive of the Kirk cam­paign of her con­cerns when the cam­paign con­tac­ted her” to try to veri­fy Kirk’s time at the nurs­ery. “She said she had spoken to the teach­er who led what was then a play group that met in the church base­ment.” The teach­er had a “vague re­col­lec­tion” of hav­ing him as a work-study stu­dent, “but she did not re­mem­ber his name.” She ad­ded that Kirk “did not have ma­jor re­spons­ib­il­it­ies at the play group, like cre­at­ing les­son plans, and he was as­sist­ant who played with the chil­dren” (6/18).

MS­N­BC’s “First Read” asks “when is this go­ing to end for Kirk?” Treas. Alexi Gi­an­nouli­as (D) “may be a flawed can­did­ate,” but his camp’s abil­ity “to cut Kirk as many times as it has” shows the Dem “has a first-rate cam­paign” (6/21).

Con­sti­tu­tion­al Crisis

“Cap­it­ol Fax“‘s Miller re­ports that “a top labor of­fi­cial said he ap­proached last week” for a 5K dona­tion to help the Con­sti­tu­tion Party pay pe­ti­tion gather­ers to get on the bal­lot. “The ad­vant­ages are many to get­ting that party on” the tick­et, es­pe­cially with Kirk’s “vot­ing re­cord and his vera­city troubles” (6/21).

NYC May­or Mike Bloomberg (I) hos­ted a fun­draiser for Kirk in NYC 6/19 (Haber­man, Politico, 6/18). Gi­an­nouli­as pro­posed “cre­at­ing a huge con­struc­tion fund to help mod­ern­ize” the na­tion’s trans­port­a­tion sys­tems 6/20. He said he would end “some tax breaks for oil and nat­ur­al gas com­pan­ies” to pay for the $45B fund (Wills, AP, 6/20).

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