MEA Continues Recommendations of Whitmer, Nessel, Benson
Member committee votes unanimously to continue support following interviews on education and labor issues
Following detailed interviews and a unanimous vote of MEA’s Statewide Screening & Recommending Committee – made up of a diverse group of members from across Michigan – MEA will continue recommendations of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and Attorney General Dana Nessel for re-election in 2022.
“MEA is proud to continue standing with three strong leaders who have shown time and again their unwavering commitment to Michigan’s students and educators,” said MEA President Paula Herbart. “Re-electing friends of public education – and electing more allies to lawmaking positions – is essential to fulfilling the promise of public education for every student.”
Hear directly from Whitmer, Benson and Nessel in this video
(recorded in November prior to the tragedy in Oxford).
Earlier this fall (prior to the Oxford tragedy), the committee asked the candidates a variety of questions about education and labor issues in screening interviews prior to voting to continue the recommendations. Here are some of their answers (and links to more details):
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on the state budget:
“I’ve seen heroic efforts inside and outside our classrooms to help meet the needs of our students. From the state government standpoint, we’re focused on doing everything we can to ensure Michigan students have the best public education today and to include long-term priorities around public education in the budget so we can continue improving our education system.
“I’m proud to have signed a $17 billion education budget that makes a historic investment in our schools, without raising taxes. It’s going to impact the education of our kids now and for generations to come, as well as support the incredible public servants who make sure our kids are getting the education they need.”
Whitmer on MEA involvement:
“This organization was the first to get behind me when I ran for state representative in 2000. Same was true when I ran for governor in 2018. There’s arguably no other organization that has been as supportive of me. MEA members make invaluable contributions to our state, and I will always ensure their voices are heard as we make decisions that impact them.”
SOS Jocelyn Benson on ballot access and voter participation:
“I believe the mark of a healthy democracy and healthy society is measured by elections where we see high turnout and high security—and indeed, that is exactly what we’ve seen in the elections administered under my tenure as Secretary of State.
“Our November 2020 election was both the most secure in our state’s history and had the highest turnout in our state’s history. Of the 5.5 million people who voted, 3.3 million voted absentee. Not only was there very little to no fraud, but local election officials checked signatures and followed up with voters if there were questions. If there was any sort of irregularity, there were efforts to identify whether it was fraud or just a mismatched signature. The vast majority of citizens returned their ballots on time to drop boxes or with prepaid postage. Citizens knew how to request absentee ballots because we mailed them that information.
“The security of our system, the current methods of identifying voters—whether they voted in person or absentee—works.”
Read more from Secretary of State Benson.
AG Dana Nessel on education challenges and solutions:
“I’ve seen what happens to kids when they don’t have the right kind of education and we don’t have the right kind of practices in place because their districts have been starved of the money they need. That’s why I visited districts engaged in fighting the ‘school-to-prison pipeline.’ We’re talking about first graders, second graders, third graders—knowing that they are provided with these resources, we’ll never need to see them in the criminal justice system later on.
“In this job, I can file lawsuits, take positions on lawsuits, write letters. More than anything, I can use this soapbox to be an advocate for public education. If you’re anti-crime, you ought to be pro-public education because you bring down crime by educating people.”