By Tristan Justice, featuring Julie Gunlock, Director of Center for Progress and Innovation at IWF

Virginia businessman and Republican candidate for governor Pete Snyder is challenging all statewide office-seekers to sign his pledge to reopen schools held hostage by teachers unions.

“Nothing has united Republican, Democrat, and Independent families in Virginia more than the need for our children to be back in school,” Snyder said in a statement Monday. “Unfortunately, career politicians beholden to special interest and teachers unions have kept students out of the classroom.”

Snyder’s push to put school openings front and center in the statewide race is welcome news to parents fighting for their children’s return to the classroom.

“I’m glad Pete Snyder is standing up to the teachers unions,” said the Independent Women’s Forum’s Director of Center for Progress and Innovation Julie Gunlock, who added that her town’s superintendent in Alexandria declared that opening schools five days a week this fall would be “almost impossible.”

“Meanwhile, private schools in Alexandria have been opened since last year,” Gunlock said. “We need strong leadership in Richmond to force these union puppets to act responsibly and get kids and teachers back in the classroom.”

A poll out last month from the Wason Center for Civic Leadership at Christopher Newport University shows Snyder behind in an open race with 55 percent of Republicans still undecided. State Sen. Amanda Chase is the current Republican frontrunner with 17 percent support, followed by former Virginia Speaker of the House Kirk Cox at 10 percent and Snyder with 6.

On the Democratic side, former Gov. Terry McAuliffe is running ahead with 26 percent, with Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax behind at 12 percent, and former state Delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy tied with state Sen. Jennifer McClellan at 4 percent. Forty-nine percent of Democratic voters, however, also said they were undecided.

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