More than 400 MEA-MFT delegates and guests rocked the Hilton Garden Inn in Missoula March 30-31 at the MEA-MFT Representative Assembly.
Delegates came from as far away as Wolf Point, Poplar, and Miles City to chart the future for their state union.
And they roared their readiness to defend public services, public education, and the rights of working people from the attacks other states have seen in the last year.
“Folks gathered demonstrated great energy and commitment going forward to protect and enhance public programs and services — especially through the election of political leaders who actually care about public programs and services and the people who do ‘work that matters,’” said MEA-MFT President Eric Feaver.
On Saturday, delegates saw two videos showing the train wrecks caused by anti-public employee bills passed in Wisconsin, Ohio, Idaho, Indiana, and many other states.
Then delegates cheered thunderously as Montana’s attorney general and gubernatorial candidate Steve Bullock and superintendent of public instruction Denise Juneau took the stage. MEA-MFT has endorsed both of these candidates.
Bullock and Juneau vowed to uphold Montana’s tradition of workers’ rights and strong public services. And MEA-MFT delegates vowed to help them get elected. Delegates took action right then and there, calling fellow MEA-MFT members right from the floor of the RA to ask them to support Bullock and Juneau.
Other MEA-MFT-endorsed candidates for statewide office spoke to delegates as well:
• MEA-MFT member Linda McCulloch, who is running for re-election as secretary of state.
• Monica Lindeen, running for re-election as state auditor & insurance commissioner.
• Elizabeth Best, candidate for state Supreme Court.
In addition, delegates heard from the following candidates. (MEA-MFT will endorse only for the general election in these races.) —
• Jesse Laslovich and Pam Bucy for state attorney general
• Dave Strohmaier, Diane Smith, Frank Wilmer, and Kim Gillan for U.S. Congress
All of these candidates received warm welcomes from RA delegates.
In other business, delegates:
|MEA-MFT state officers: Rich Aarstad, Secretary-Treasurer; Melanie Charlson, NEA Director; Jeff Greenfield, Vice President, Eric Feaver, President. Not pictured: Cecil B. Crawford, Director at Large.
• Elected state officers, including Eric Feaver, President; Jeff Greenfield, Vice President; Rich Aarstad, Secretary-Treasurer; Melanie Charlson, NEA Director; and Cecil B. Crawford, Director at Large. All but Melanie Charlson will start their two-year terms June 15th. Melanie’s three-year term will begin August 1, 2012.
• Cheered and thanked Karin Stanford, MEA-MFT’s NEA director, who is retiring.
• Passed a dues freeze and budget for 2012-13.
• Passed several constitutional amendments.
• Heard a moving letter from the husband of slain Sidney teacher and MEA-MFT member Sherry Arnold, read by Sidney Education Assoc. President Mark Halverson.
• Celebrated MEA-MFT’s 2012 Members of the Year:
Cecil B. Crawford (Missoula): Education Support Professional Member of the Year
Shannon Bender (Great Falls Head Start): Public Employee Member of the Year
Sandy Osborne and Kari Cargill (MSU-Bozeman): Faculty Members of the Year.