A Few Good Educators Sought For Service on NSEA Candidate Recommendation Teams
Yes, it is true that next year NSEA will recommend candidates for election to the Legislature and other offices.
However, it is important to know that those recommendations come not from the top down, but from the grassroots level. From you, the member.
Each recommendation comes from a local and bi-partisan team of members at the local level. Each team reads and digests each candidate’s answers to education-related questions, then interviews the candidates. Following the interviews, the teams debate the merits of each candidate, and then votes on a recommendation.
The committee then forwards the name of the recommended candidate to the appropriate NSEA district Board of Directors for approval. Those recommendations are then disseminated to members through NSEA communications channels.
As another election year draws near, NSEA President Nancy Fulton is looking for members from across the political spectrum to serve on those local interview teams.
“Our elected officials make decisions every day regarding education,” said Fulton. “It only makes sense that we check out these candidates ahead of time and recommend those who will best serve our students and public education.”
With nearly 20 legislative races, and races for other assorted statewide and regional offices, there will be plenty of opportunity for those interested to serve on local recommendation committees. Each team consists of five to eight NSEA members from, for instance, a particular legislative district.
“We’ll have a lot of slots to fill on these interview teams,” said Fulton.
Another common misconception, said Fulton, is that NSEA recommends candidates from only one side of the political aisle. A candidate’s recommendation is based only on his or her stance on educational issues.
“In truth, over the past 20 years, the historical percentage of recommended candidates for the officially non-partisan Nebraska Legislature is split almost evenly right down the middle between the two major political parties,” she said.
Those interested in consideration for service on a 2014 candidate interview team should contact Fulton’s office at 1-800-742-0047.
How the NSEA Process Works
NSEA keeps close tabs on candidate filings. After filing for office, the candidate receives a letter explaining NSEA’s recommendation process. Also included is a questionnaire focused on public education.
Some candidates decline the invitation to participate or do not respond at all.
NSEA works with the local interview committee chair to arrange a date to meet with all candidates who choose to participate. All interviews are completed on the same day, and all team members must be present for all candidate interviews.
The team works to clarify the candidate’s responses to the questionnaire. The candidate may also address the team on his/her positions on public education.
After interviews are completed, the team discusses the responses of each candidate. In addition to the questionnaire and interview, the team considers the candidate’s voting record if he/she is an incumbent, the candidate’s campaign organization and his/her standing in the community. The team wants to make sure that, should they recommend a candidate, the candidate has the potential to win.
The team may choose to recommend a candidate, to recommend multiple candidates, or to remain neutral in the race. For legislative races, the team’s recommendation is then forwarded to the NSEA district board for approval. The NSEA Board of Directors acts on statewide races.
The recommendation is then relayed to members in the edition of The Voice that precedes the election date.