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Indianapolis Star

Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Donald Rainwater announced Thursday he would choose one-time GOP candidate Dawn Wooten as his secretary of education. 

She is an English instructor at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne who works as a freelance editor of college texts.

“Dawn is someone who has been involved not only in education in Indiana as an educator,” Rainwater said, “but she also has personally been involved with her own family in home schooling, private schools and public schools. So she has a very broad base of understanding and knowledge of education as a parent and can bring that in her job as secretary of education.”

Donald Rainwater: Learn more about the Libertarian candidate for governor 

Wooten said she would eliminate standardized testing, streamline the department of education, improve schools and increase teacher compensation. 

Dawn Wooten (Photo: Provided by the candidate)

She said her grandfather, William Robert Hamilton, served in the Indiana House as a Republican beginning in 1969.

“As secretary of education,” Wooten said, “I will follow my grandfather’s example. I won’t play games. I will be honest. I will serve with integrity, and I will focus on my constituents, the children, parents and teachers of Indiana.” 

Rainwater and Wooten say they would remove state government involvement from much of how education is managed and funded. They think every parent should be able to choose where to send their kids to school, whether that is a neighborhood school, a charter school or a private school.

Rainwater and Wooten say they would lobby lawmakers to reinstate the superintendent of public instruction as an elected position. They said it’s too important of a job to leave as a political appointment. 

Republicans stripped Hoosiers of the right to vote for that office beginning in 2021, making it a gubernatorial appointment. GOP lawmakers and governors have clashed with the past two superintendents of public instruction as lawmakers have expanded charter and voucher programs. 

Wooten is a familiar if not well-known name in Indiana politics. Republican delegates chose Jennifer McCormick over Wooten in the 2016 GOP state convention. Primary voters do not weigh in on that office.

Wooten said her loyalty is to the people of Indiana, not to a political party. She said she agrees with Rainwater’s positions on education and gun rights. He supports so-called Constitutional carry, the idea that gun owners should not need permits.

Dr. Woody Myers, the Democratic nominee for governor, said Tuesday he would appoint McCormick as secretary of education. While McCormick was elected superintendent of public instras a Republican, she has been endorsing prominent Democrats for office this summer, including Myers. She says Democrats are more in line with her goals, including increasing public school funding