Why Did UEA-PAC Recommend Gov. Herbert?
By UEA President Heidi Matthews
The UEA Political Action Committee (UEA-PAC) Executive Committee announced recently that it is recommending Republican gubernatorial candidate Gary Herbert in his re-election bid against Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mike Weinholtz. I’ve since heard from several UEA members concerned about this recommendation.
Please allow me to provide some background and context for this recommendation.
First, the process for endorsing a particular candidate is very democratic. Every local UniServ has a teacher representative on the UEA-PAC Committee. It is each representative’s responsibility to seek input from their local members, to listen to candidate interviews, then vote to make a recommendation. It was only after meeting with the candidates and following extensive discussion the UEA-PAC Committee voted to recommend Gov. Gary Herbert in the 2016 General Election.
Second, the UEA experienced amazing successes at the Utah Legislature the past few years, thanks in part to the role Gov. Herbert played both in public and behind the scenes. For example, the budget process begins with the governor and over the past two years, Gov. Herbert has recommended substantial increases in public school funding. It is then up to the Legislature to set the budget through legislative action. Without the high bar set by our governor, we would likely not have received the increases we have these past years.
Gov. Herbert has met with the UEA Board on multiple occasions and has had an open-door policy with members of the UEA Legislative Team. He has sought our opinion on important issues and has had listened to our concerns, even vetoing troublesome legislation.
Third, the UEA-PAC Committee did not take this recommendation lightly. Mike Weinholtz is a remarkable individual with much to offer. It is the job of the UEA-PAC to make a recommendation they believe is in the best interest of our students and our profession. Each of you must also make a choice of whether you feel Governor Herbert or Mr. Weinholtz is more likely to positively impact public education.
The UEA is not the arm of any political party. Members of the UEA have differing perspectives and opinions with regard to this race. In the end, this recommendation is just that—a recommendation. The UEA-PAC Committee saw this endorsement as a way to continue to strengthen the voice of educators and positively influence the policies affecting education. It's also important to remember that no dues dollars are used to fund recommended candidates. UEA-PAC is funded entirely by individual contributions.
I encourage everyone to make an informed decision in not only the Governor’s race, but all the important races this year.
- View all 2016 Utah education PAC recommended candidates
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