Our members running for office
Our Point of View, by MEA-MFT President Eric Feaver
Primary election day, June 3, is not so far away.
In fact, it is almost tomorrow.
Between now and almost tomorrow, each and every one of us has a personal, professional, and political obligation to learn more about the four Democratic Party candidates running for superintendent of public instruction.
Learn more and then go vote...June 3, primary election day.
In the spirit of Nancy Keenan
Twenty years ago, MEA-MFT helped elect Nancy Keenan to serve as our superintendent of public instruction. She did so with tremendous enthusiasm and skill through 12 difficult years of school funding cuts and unrelenting, savage, right-wing attacks on public education and the educators who work therein.
In 2000, Nancy ended her political career in Montana with a spirited campaign for Congress, losing a hotly contested race to current Congressman Denny Rehberg.
Nancy had a wonderful profile: teacher, legislator, MEA-MFT member, and friend. She was smart, articulate, and engaged. MEA-MFT members loved her. She contributed mightily to Montana public education.
Eight years ago, MEA-MFT helped elect Linda McCulloch to serve as our superintendent. She has done so with tremendous enthusiasm and skill through eight difficult years dominated by the unwarranted, unprovoked federal intrusion into how we teach and test our children, cynically sloganed "No Child Left Behind."
Unfortunately, Linda is termed, prevented from running for re-election by term limits. Fortunately, she is now a candidate for Montana secretary of state. MEA-MFT COPE has recommended her candidacy.
Linda has a wonderful profile: teacher, legislator, MEA-MFT member, and friend. She is smart, articulate, and engaged. MEA-MFT members love her. She has contributed mightily to Montana public education.
As I write, there are four announced candidates* for superintendent: Claudette Morton, Denise Juneau, Holly Raser, and Sam Kitzenberg.
All four enjoy wonderful profiles: all current or former teachers, all Democrats, two termed-out legislators, two with experience in the office of public instruction, all MEA-MFT members, and all friends. All smart, articulate, and engaged.
This really is amazing stuff. What other union of professionals anywhere has four of its own running against each other to head up a state's public school system?
Saturday morning, March 29, 2008, all four will address the MEA-MFT Representative Assembly in Missoula. Every MEA-MFT local affiliate should send a delegate to hear what these candidates have to say and then share points of view and, maybe, give us a clue as to who among the four would be the best to succeed Nancy Keenan and Linda McCulloch.
More members running for public office
But we are not done with MEA-MFT members running for office.
MEA-MFT member John Parker, Cascade County deputy county attorney and current minority party leader in the Montana House of Representatives, is running for the Democratic Party nomination for attorney general.
And to date, 18 MEA-MFT members plan to run for the 2009 Montana Legislature. Some are incumbents and some new political faces, but all with considerable work history in state government, k-12 schools, and higher education.
Generally speaking, MEA-MFT members make great legislators. They know from personal and professional experience what we-all our members-do on behalf of the citizens of this state, other peoples' children, and our own.
We are all empowered by our members who run for public office. We are all enriched by those we help elect.