MSEA has a very fair, open, and thorough screening process for recommending candidates to its members and the general public:
- All candidates for office receive an invitation to participate in the process.
- Candidates must complete a questionnaire and participate in an interview to be eligible for recommendation. Statewide candidates interview with the MSEA president, and this information is distributed to our local presidents, who share it with their local boards and representative assemblies. Local candidates interview with their local association.
- Candidates interested in receiving our endorsement often contact MSEA and local presidents directly to discuss their education platforms; they also attend local association representative assemblies, where they can meet with members.
- For statewide candidates, the MSEA Endorsement Council—consisting of the MSEA Board of Directors, local presidents, chairs of the MSEA Legislative and Fund committees, and an additional representative from each local association—gathers to deliberate and make recommendations that go to the MSEA Representative Assembly (RA). For a candidate to receive the MSEA endorsement, the candidate must receive a minimum of 58% of the vote.
- The RA, after hearing a brief live address from each candidate, votes on endorsements by secret written ballot. Candidates must receive at least 58% of the support from the RA in order to receive the MSEA endorsement.
- Local associations forward their recommendations on local candidates to the MSEA Fund for Children and Public Education. After debate and discussion, the Fund recommends candidates to the MSEA Board of Directors for final approval.
- Federal candidate endorsements must also be approved by the NEA Fund for Children and Public Education.
2014 Gubernatorial Endorsement Process
MSEA's deliberations around which candidate to endorse in the 2014 governor's race were comprehensive, democratic, and inclusive. Here's how the process worked:
- All declared, potential, and frequently rumored candidates were invited to participate in the gubernatorial recommendation process. Four Democrats and eight Republicans were all sent the MSEA candidate questionnaire over the summer.
- Questionnaires were due back by August 23, 2013.
- Any candidate who returned a questionnaire by that date was invited to sit for a taped interview with MSEA President Betty Weller. The interviews needed to be completed by September 13, 2013.
- Four candidates—Lt. Governor Anthony Brown, Harford County Executive David Craig, Attorney General Doug Gansler, and Delegate Heather Mizeur—submitted a questionnaire and participated in an interview with President Weller. Therefore, they were the only candidates invited to address the Representative Assembly (RA) this year.
- The RA is MSEA’s highest decision-making body, and is the body which acts on any gubernatorial endorsement. The RA is made up of delegates who are educators from across the state elected by their peers in their respective local associations. In 2013, the RA was comprised of approximately 600 delegates.
- The candidates’ interviews and completed questionnaires were sent out to all registered delegates to the RA.
- The four candidates participated in a drawing to determine the speaking order on Friday morning, October 18.
- All four candidates had the same time constraint of 10 minutes to make their presentation to delegates. They were also afforded convention booth space for the duration of the convention.
- MSEA’s Endorsement Council met during the afternoon on Friday, October 18 to deliberate an endorsement decision. The council is comprised of the local president and one other member (selected through the local’s own process) from each local association, plus the MSEA Board of Directors.
- The Endorsement Council is charged with making a recommendation of one candidate for the endorsement for governor. The Council decided to recommend Anthony Brown to the full RA.
- The Endorsement Council recommendation became the motion on the floor for delegates to debate on Saturday morning, October 19. The motion was whether or not delegates supported the recommendation of the Endorsement Council. Delegates were asked to vote YES or NO in a secret ballot held from 12:00-2:00 p.m. on October 19.
- For the Endorsement Council recommendation to be approved, YES must get 58% of the vote. The recommendation of the Endorsement Council to endorse Anthony Brown for governor passed with 71% of the vote.