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Okla. rep who ranted against teachers says lawmakers have gotten death threats during the strike

Oklahoma state Rep. Kevin McDugle apologized for a Facebook Live video in which he said he would not support any teacher measures presented to the House of Representatives. (Image source: KOTV video screenshot)

Oklahoma state Rep. Kevin McDugle vowed to stop supporting teacher measures in a Facebook Live video Tuesday, challenging viewers to “go ahead, be pissed” at him about his stance.

Many people took McDugle up on that challenge, and McDugle deleted the first video and recorded an apology, attempting to clarify what he meant, KOCO-TV reports.

What did he say?

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McDugle said he recorded the initial video in the heat of the moment, when pro-teacher protesters were disrupting the House of Representatives proceedings. Teachers have been protesting at the Capitol all week as they strike for higher wages and more state funding of schools. A bill signed into law by Gov. Mary Fallin last week came far short of the teachers union demands.

McDugle even claimed that lawmakers had been targeted with vandalism and death threats, although Oklahoma authorities said they had not received any reports of death threats.

“I have voted for teachers. I will continue to vote for teachers,” McDugle said. “But, I will tell you this, I don’t approve of some of the things that are being done here and I found out today that it’s not necessarily Oklahoma teachers that are doing it. We’ve had death threats at the Capitol. Our legislative assistants are not here because of the threats they were receiving.

“I found out it’s not necessarily Oklahoma teachers that are doing it, but we’ve got people here from Chicago and California, and it’s frustrating that they’re here doing it.,” McDugle said.

McDugle apologized for his tone in the first video as well.

“I do apologize that it came across the way that it did,” McDugle said. “You guys can tell by my heart and by my votes over the last year and a half exactly where I stand with teachers.”

Teacher challenges for McDugle’s seat

McDugle’s comments Tuesday motivated one teacher to announce her candidacy for McDugle’s District 12 seat in the State House.

Cyndi Ralston, according to her campaign Facebook page, has been a teacher for the past 30 years in northeast Oklahoma.

Ralson has not yet officially filed for office, but said McDugle’s video caused her to announce her candidacy early.

“I had not planned to make this announcement public until after I had filed for office, but the events of the day have moved me to do so now,” Ralston wrote.

“At the core of why I’m running, though, is respect. As I’m sure many of you know, the current Representative for District 12, Kevin McDugle, released a video this morning in which he disrespected and denigrated teachers and administrators who have come to the capitol to protest the legislature’s wholly inadequate support for education,” Ralston said.

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