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May 19, 2016

Many myths get passed around about the MEA S & R process.  We get feedback on a regular basis that indicate these myths have risen to almost the status of urban legends.  Myth number one is “MEA is telling me how to vote.” That is not true.  A local committee of your fellow MEA members interview all candidates who are willing to be interviewed for an elected position. The committee is generally comprised of seven to nine members including, ESP, Higher Education, EA and retired members.  MEA staff do not have voting rights on the committee.  Great efforts are made to have all employee categories represented; additionally, all coordinating councils who have school districts or colleges which are wholly or partially contained in the legislative district have an equal right to participate in the screening.  After interviewing all of the candidates in a race, the committee decides which candidate to recommend.  Sometimes the committee votes to not recommend any candidate.  If the committee makes a recommendation, it is passed on to the entire MEA membership who reside in the legislative district, both retired and active members.

Myth number two is that the recommendations are made on the basis of social issues such as “Right to Life” or “Gun Control”.  Again that is not true.  The questionnaire that candidates fill out only asks about two issues:  support for public education and support for labor issues (such as prohibited topics of bargaining and Right to Work).  The S & R booklet also contains a series of “Sample” questions for the committee to use in the interview, or committee members can fashion their own questions and frequently ask about things that are relevant to the local situation.  In either case, the questions are only about support for public education and employee rights.