Tough Election Day.
No way around it. Overall, we lost. It was great electing Gary Peters to the U.S. Senate. But to come within four points of Mark Schauer winning–to come within four points when fewer than half of registered voters actually voted—is painful. Painful not because we lost, but because we know all that is at stake. November 4 was our day to change this state for the better and we fell short. Now we will have to deal with the aftermath.
Besides Gary, there were other positive outcomes. Our endorsed candidates won at least 7 of the 8 education board seats. As we represent 8,000 at WSU, MSU and U of M, and because the State Board of Education will be choosing the next Superintendent of Public Instruction, these were big wins. At least two members, Erika Geiss and Leslie Love, both from Local 2000, won seats in the state legislature. Detroit Teachers’ staffer Margaret Weertz came in first in the Grosse Pointe school board race, and local union endorsed candidates were elected to several school and college boards. And while he lost, Bo Karpinsky, retired President of the Hamtramck Teachers, ran a great, great race in a tough House district.
Thank you to the members who volunteered for walking or calling shifts over the past few months, to those who had one-on-one conversations with other members, family and friends, to those who gave to PAC. The fact of the matter is that a small percentage of our membership carried the load for everyone and we are grateful for their commitment.
We are no strangers to dealing with what is, figuring out the best strategy for the future, and moving on. Thanks to so many of you, we are successfully dealing with “Right to Work” and the elimination of payroll deduction of dues for K-12 employees. They throw things at us, we get knocked down, but we get up and fight back. The stakes are too high not to.
Yesterday morning, Dearborn Teachers President Chris Sipperley emailed me and said: “Despite our losses, the electricity from this election will help keep us going for the next four years.” Now we must harness this electricity, have it empower us to be strong during lame duck, and to build a stronger and stronger union.
Going back to Bo. While he was President of Hamtramck Teachers, he said: “If everyone does a little, a lot gets done.” To be frank, too few did a little during this campaign. But it is never too late to start.
That we lost to an incumbent governor by only four points (when labor endorsed candidates did not fare well nationally,) elected a United States Senator and won at least seven of eight education board seats indicates those who did a little (many did a lot) made a real difference. If everyone, joined this group of volunteers, just think of the possibilities.
Thanks again to those who worked on this campaign and thank you all for what you do for the students of Michigan.