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West Virginia
West Virginia

October 14, 2016

West Virginia state senate candidate Patricia Rucker and her family.

Homeschooling Mom Running for State Senate


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Patricia Rucker isn’t a typical candidate for political office. She’s a homeschooling mom and former schoolteacher hailing from Jefferson County, West Virginia, and she’s running for state senate.

HSLDA caught up with Patricia to ask her about her race and why she felt called to run.

Mike Donnelly MIKE DONNELLY Contact attorney for West Virginia

HSLDA: Patricia, tell us about yourself.

Patricia Rucker: I am a first generation American. My father was a newspaper reporter from Venezuela, and we were able to immigrate here from Caracas in 1981. I grew up in Montgomery County, Maryland, and went to Trinity College in Washington, D.C., where I studied history. After college I taught in Montgomery County Public Schools. My husband and I have been married for 20 years, and I’ve lived in Harpers Ferry since 2001. We have been homeschooling our children since 2007.

HSLDA: Why are you running for West Virginia state senate?

Patricia: In 2014, I ran for delegate and lost a tight race by only 131 votes against my current opponent in the state senate race. I feel like our state and country need legislators who are willing to rein in an out-of-control government. I’m really blessed by the support of my husband, children, and community in this race.

HSLDA: How important is it for people to be involved in politics?

Patricia: You know, we have a precious right in our country: the right to vote. So many people around the world live in places where they have no say in their government. Here in the United States we live in a republic where state government really matters. I wish it mattered more, but that is one reason I’d like to go to the West Virginia state senate. I want to fight to protect our state and other states from the overreach that is coming from Washington D.C. It’s important for people to be informed about these issues so that we can maintain our freedoms.

HSLDA: Why did you decide to homeschool?

Patricia: As a teacher in the Maryland public schools, I was very concerned about the environment. And as a Catholic, I felt it was important for me to teach my children about their faith—that is not something the schools are allowed to do. In many ways, they are hostile to faith in the public schools today.

I also knew that my two children with special needs would benefit from my individual one-on-one attention. As a mom, I knew I could guide my children to learn what they needed to learn to become productive members of our community and to allow them the freedom to explore their own diverse interests. I’m so glad for my husband’s support. It’s been a wonderful experience, and the campaign trail is a really great educational environment, too.

Homeschooling is legal in every state—but that wasn’t always the case. Legislative battles since the early 90s remind us that there are those who seek to impose additional and unnecessary burdens on homeschooling families.

Because the legality of home education is still (at least for now) in the hands of state legislatures, having homeschool-friendly legislators is important. With over 6,000 state-level representatives in our country, there are a lot of elections.

Every candidate for elected office has a story to tell. We encourage you to be an informed voter and learn about your candidate’s background and where he or she stands on issues that are important to you—like homeschooling.

HSLDA is at the forefront of defending your family’s individual rights as well as promoting our national movement. HSLDA is also involved in advancing this fundamental freedom around the world. This effort often involves participating in various elections.

We also inform the homeschooling community about those candidates who we know are homeschool-friendly. HSLDA’s PAC has endorsed a number of candidates in this election, including two homeschooling dads from North Carolina: Dan Forest, current North Carolina Lieutenant Governor who is running for re-election; and Ted Budd, candidate for U.S. Congress from North Carolina’s 13th Congressional District.