Association Endorsed Candidates Win Big in Local Races
Every October there are local elections for school boards and local city and municipal offices. These are often low turnout elections and in some cases, candidates run unopposed. Local education associations can make a big difference when they organize and activate their members to vote and encourage members to educate their networks about the pro-public education candidates running for office.
NEA-Alaska is committed to supporting locals in their efforts to elect pro-public education candidates and this election cycle locals in Fairbanks and on the Kenai Peninsula showed that organizing our members is incredibly powerful.
In Fairbanks, the Fairbanks Education Association (FEA) and the Education Support Staff Association (ESSA) started to vet and endorse candidates in May and June for the October election. This process allowed both locals to clearly communicate why their endorsed candidates were best for public education, organize events, and ultimately turn members out to vote.
All of FEA and ESSA ‘s recommended candidates were elected to local office. Former ESSA President Chyra Sanderson was re-elected to the School Board, and FEA member and first-time candidate Kristan Kelly was elected to the Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly. The victories didn’t slow FEA President Sandi Ryan down. Within a few weeks, she was already planning and thinking about candidate recruitment for the 2022 elections. “If we learned anything, it’s that it’s never too early to start thinking and planning for the upcoming elections.”
On the Kenai Peninsula, the Kenai Peninsula Education Association (KPEA) and Kenai Peninsula Support Staff Association (KPESA) worked together to make joint recommendations and activate their membership in support of pro-public education candidates.
The results were exciting. In Seward, retired Education Support Professional Cindy Ecklund was elected to the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly. Cindy was recruited and encouraged in her decision to run for Assembly by KPEA members in Seward and NEA-Alaska staff.
In Homer, retired teacher Tim Daugharty was elected to the Kenai Peninsula Borough School Board. The KPEA/KPESA recommended candidate for Assembly in Homer also won his election. The wins in Assembly races were enough to ensure a pro-public education majority on Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly.
The examples set by local leaders and members in Fairbanks and on the Kenai Peninsula should be an inspiration to all. NEA-Alaska stands ready to assist any local in the development and execution of a campaign plan to support pro-public education candidates to school board or local office. As always, feel free to reach out to Government Relations and Community Outreach Director Matthew Moser for more information.