And although the state’s largest education association, and one of the most influential unions in Michigan, will not officially support me, I will still support the MEA and its goals. We must respect teachers, value students and fully fund our schools.
The reason for the MEA throwing its support behind Rep. Gary Howell is understandable. Mr. Howell is that rare member of his caucus who is willing to work in a bipartisan manner on educational issues. The union could not endorse a political novice such as myself.
Educational issues are not the only ones in which there is little separation between Mr. Howell and myself. Mr. Howell has sponsored an amendment to our state’s constitution which effectively ends lame duck legislation, something I whole-heartedly support. Yet while his bill has bipartisan support, it currently languishes in the Republican controlled committee on Government Operations, from where it will never see the light of day. The difference between Gary and me on ending lame duck legislation? He might write the bill, but I will fight for it.
While I agree with the MEA on most legislative matters, there have been times in the past when we have disagreed. One such instance was Proposal One in 2015. This measure to fix Michigan’s roads, while also increasing funding for education, was easily rejected by voters. My opposition to Proposal One was that as a sales-tax increase it was inherently regressive, thereby impacting the poor and those on fixed incomes disproportionately.
Regrettably this is another such instance when I disagree with the MEA. Politics as usual will prove to be ineffectual, particularly in this time of rapid change. I will still seek the support of my union brothers and sisters, for in the end, it is in the interests of the people, and not the machine, which must prevail.