I was just notified that Jason Engen had the audacity to file an ethics complaint against Kathy Edmonston for producing literature he is not against Common Core.
As proof of his opposition all we have is his word and an ad he produced claiming he was against it. On the other side of the equation is a preponderance of the evidence that shows he is lying about this, and numerous other issues that I will cover in upcoming posts. As Megan Trainor singes, “His lips are moving and he lies lies lies.”
While just about every single claim Jason makes in his own literature is a lie, I will focus on the one he has filed a complaint about Edmonston for because among other things, I have his own words to indict him.
You see, I was a candidate against Engen in the primary, where he was supported almost solely by Lane, LABI and their various PACs they formed to get around ethics restrictions for donation limits from single sources. LABI formed 4 political action committees called WestPac, EastPac, NorthPac and SouthPac.
Lane Grigsby, owner of Cajun Industries and chief contributor and director of LABI, (The Louisiana Association of Business and Industry) also has control of several more, one of which is named Grigsby’s Empower PAC. Lane Grigsby has been one of Common Core’s staunchest defenders in this state. I met with him earlier this year and he mocked me and parents for being against Common Core. I explained some of the specific issues about Common Core to him, face-to-face, and he waved me off and said “it doesn’t matter, it’s about using standards to test teachers and hold them “accountable” and Common Core is the only solution that will do that.”
Earlier this year Engen’s biggest supporter sent pink stuffed unicorns to every single legislature at the state capital while they were in session, from yet another one of his PACs (ABC pac), with a note that said “Unicorns are not real. And neither are most of the problems you’ve heard about Common Core.”
When I organized some parents to send some stuffed crawfish to legislators with a message that the problems with Common Core were real, like crawfish, he countered with an elaborate hardback glossy book with a giant unicorn centerfold and quotes from Ronald Regan, Grigsby and his PAC claimed showed that even the deceased Ronald Reagan supports Common Core.
This is the unicorn the put on Brett Geymann’s house seat to taunt him, and other parents and teachers who are against Common Core, last Spring.
The push is led by the Alliance for Better Classrooms political action committee, or ABC PAC.
The same group, with Baton Rouge contractor Lane Grigsby as one of its leaders, played a key role in the 2011 races for the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.
Organizers of the effort have distributed stuffed pink or white unicorns to state lawmakers that include tags that say “Unicorns are not real. And neither are most of the things you’ve heard about Common Core State Standards.”
This is Jason Engen’s primary support. Last I checked 98% of his funds came from Grigsby, his allies, and his various PACs. Of course, Engen filed his own ethics paperwork late during the primary, and failed to disclose a number of things he spent money on, like even how he paid for his $900 filing fee, although he believed enough in himself to loan himself $900 so he could get even that refunded by Grigsby.
Scores of people have reported they’ve tried to ask Engen some specific questions about Common Core, like when he started finding problems when it, what he finds problematic specifically, but he deletes those comments from his Facebook campaign site and then blocks those people from coming back. His behaviors is boorish and churlish and unbecoming of a representative of the people. You can expect this behavior to only get worse if you elect him to anything but gazing at his own navel.
When I met with Grigsby he made it clear he didn’t want to support people that listened to the public, he only wanted people that listened to him. I refused his support, as did BESE member Lottie Bebee. Those that accept Grigsby backing do so with that understanding that his views are the only ones that matter.
But let’s get to that more personal look at Engen’s beliefs I alluded to earlier, shall we?
Engen texted me from his personal cell phone to complain about some claims I made on my blog he felt were unfair. I claimed he has another 12 year old child that does not appear in his commercials where he talks about his 3 other children by his current wife that went to private schools and that he went to private schools his whole life. Jason told me this was untrue, and that he was actually a public school student and so was his daughter. I asked him for specifics and he provided the name of elementary school he spent at least one day at growing up. I asked Engen about the private school he listed he was a graduate from on his own webpage and instead of confirming he was being misleading said
“That’s where I went to high school. You said I never attended public schools. That’s an incorrect statement.”
I thought he was claiming to be some sort of engineer, not a Bill Clinton type lawyer arguing the letter of the law, but sobeit. However the most interesting thing about this conversation is how he started it off with me. It was never about Common Core, I never brought it up in my post, but look what he wrote me.
“Jason, Jason Engen here. In the interest of accuracy I would like to clarify a few things. My “inconvenient truth’s” name is “[redacted]”. She has been in public schools here entire life. She’s currently a student at [redacted] Middle School in [redacted], [redacted] where her mom lives. They have been using Common Core for years and she’s a straight A student.”
Now why would he bring that up if he was against Common Core? Does that sound like a Common Core opponent to you, or a proud proponent?
Engen is a liar and a coward who hides behind his lies and his children to provide him cover.
Engen pimps his children in his commercial’s and literature and incessantly uses them as his reason for running and primary qualification, but doesn’t want anyone else to bring that up. He probably also doesn’t want to bring up that his current wife is actually his third wife.
In the spirit of accuracy and fairness I would ask that Engen add his 2 other wives and 12 year old so we have a more honest picture of who we’re dealing with here.
However, I have found one thing I can finally agree with Engen on:
“My opponent has made false statements regarding my position on key issues,” said Engen. “To mislead the voters is not acceptable behavior for anyone seeking to serve in public office. I’m concerned that if my opponent cannot tell the truth on the campaign trail, then why should the people of District 6 believe she would tell the truth if elected.”
Engen has a bizarre aversion to the truth. He claims he is for local control in his own literature, while simultaneously telling a forum full of people he believes he should have the power as a state representative to take over local schools if he doesn’t like they way they are performing. Local control also means overriding local school board decisions at the state level to impose charter schools on A and B districts to Engen. He also told them he wants to be part of the process of where the state and BESE take control of all local daycare and pre-school programs and impose more restrictions and requirements on families that homeschool their children. But Engen proudly prints “Local Control” on all his literature. You couldn’t be more big government than comrade Engen.
If Engen is against Common Core, and LABI and Lane Grigsby (his primary supporters) have changed their tune in the last day, well maybe unicorns really are real?
By the way, if you have been trying and trying to reach Engen and he keeps deleting you and blocking you and you have a few minutes, why not simply just call him up with your questions? He does want to be your rep on BESE so let him start listening to you now. Call Engen at 225-405-0026 and ask him when he first started hating Common Core, what his problems are with it specifically (other than it’s not Louisiana based) and what he would like to see changed. I imagine that won’t be a very long conversation. Report your answers back to Kathy Edmonston so she can refer them to her lawyers.