Why would hundreds of MEA-MFT members spend countless hours studying voting records and interviewing political candidates?
Because it makes a difference who gets elected to public office. It matters to our members, their families, and the Montana people our members serve.
The 35 locally elected members of MEA-MFT's Board of Directors also serve on MEA-MFT's Committee on Political Education (COPE). Many more members help with the candidate interview process.
COPE members recommend candidates who support our members' work, working conditions, and rights.
"Recommendations involve hundreds of hours of research, hundreds of members doing interviews, an exhaustive process to bring you the best information-always party blind and issue driven," said MEA-MFT President Eric Feaver.
MEA-MFT compiles voting records on votes of importance to members. The votes tallied include funding for k-12 schools, the university system, and state services; member pay, health care, and retirement issues; and workers' rights. The voting record is published in MEA-MFT Today and on this web site.
Some candidates who are running for re-election (incumbents) have voted to support MEA-MFT members time after time. Regardless of who runs against them, these candidates will be recommended by MEA-MFT COPE. They are proven friends of public education, public services, and public employees.
Local MEA-MFT teams, including at least three members, interview candidates for the legislature. They use the MEA-MFT survey to determine the candidates' positions on issues that matter to MEA-MFT members' work, working conditions, and rights.
Local interview teams forward their information to the 35 members of MEA-MFT COPE. COPE members consider the local recommendation, the candidate's voting record, and the candidate's public statements and viability. Statewide candidates are interviewed by the entire COPE board. MEA-MFT candidate recommendations are party blind and issue driven.
MEA-MFT members receive information about recommended candidates in several ways:
The voting booth--It's YOUR CHOICE
MEA-MFT does not have all the answers to all the questions about candidates. COPE recommendations are limited to the issues we can all agree on, issues that matter to MEA-MFT members' jobs and working conditions. Members are encouraged to research the candidates and look to other groups for information on other issues they care about.
THE BOTTOM LINE! MEA-MFT never tells members how to vote. COPE members offer important information about working issues so members can consider the information when they decide which candidates to support with their vote.
Helping the candidates
MEA-MFT does not use dues money for direct contributions to candidates or ballot issue campaigns. For those efforts, we use voluntary contributions. Please read about how you can help.