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Teacher Ashley Pledger: Tom Cotton is hurting Arkansas students

Tough television and digital ad buy calls out Cotton’s vote to block federal student loans

WASHINGTON - October 14, 2014 -

The NEA Advocacy Fund began airing a tough new ad in the competitive Arkansas Senate race today. The spot, “Take Away,” features Arkansas National Board Certified teacher Ashley Pledger calling out Tom Cotton for depriving students of the same federal student loans he once used to attend Harvard University. The ad starts running Oct. 14 through Oct. 20th in the Little Rock, Fort Smith, and Jonesboro media markets plus across the state on satellite television.

“Tom Cotton is hurting the students that Arkansas teacher Ashley Pledger sees every day in her classroom,” said NEA Political Director Karen White. “A college education made the career Ashley loves possible. She only wants her students to have access to the same opportunities from which she and Tom Cotton benefited. It’s baffling why Tom Cotton in his short time in office has made clear that he does not intend for the federal government to continue supporting the dreams of students—aspiring engineers, doctors, lawyers, and teachers—who need financial support to go to college, even if he and his family once relied on that very support. On the issue of affordable student loans, Tom Cotton simply is out of touch with the values of Arkansas voters.”

“Tom Cotton’s ill-advised vote to block federal student loans he once used means higher costs for students and more young people without access to higher education,” said White. “Of all people, he should know that the road to success runs directly through higher education. Instead of turning his back on Arkansas students, he should invest in them, make college more accessible and affordable, and help to prepare them for the jobs of the 21st century.”

Ad script:

  My name is Ashley Pledger and I’ve been an Arkansas teacher for 10 years. 
  A college education made the career I love possible.
  But like so many other Arkansas kids, I needed student loans to get there.
  Tom Cotton got federal student loans to help pay for his Harvard education.
  But now Cotton wants to end those same student aid programs.
  Tom Cotton would deprive Arkansas students of the opportunities that helped him.
  As a high school teacher, I know how hard it is for my students to go to college. Tom Cotton is hurting their chances.

The NEA Advocacy Fund, NEA’s independent expenditure PAC, paid for this ad and is responsible for its content.

To view the television ad, please click here or visit here:

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The National Education Association ( is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.

CONTACT: Miguel A. Gonzalez  (202) 822-7823,