This afternoon, the Maryland State Education Association (MSEA)—the state’s largest union with 74,000 public school educators—voted to endorse former NAACP President and CEO Ben Jealous for governor. MSEA plans to formally announce the recommendation with Jealous early next week—and will send out further details in the coming days.
“Our children need a new Maryland Promise that no matter their neighborhood, the state will make sure there’s a strong public school in their community,” said MSEA President Betty Weller. “Ben Jealous is the candidate with the values, the vision, and the coalition-building skills to make that promise a reality.”
“I’m proud to receive this endorsement from our state’s educators, who are doing the hard work each and every day to educate our children,” said Jealous. “Together we can finally fully fund our schools and ensure our educators get the respect and support they deserve, while reversing the declines we have seen since Larry Hogan became governor.”
Jealous comes from a family of public school educators, including his grandmother and both of his parents. As NAACP President, he led the country’s largest new voter project, registering 375,000 people and mobilizing 1.2 million new voters to the polls. He was named Marylander of the Year in 2013 for his successful efforts to repeal the death penalty and pass the Dream Act, as well as his role in helping Maryland become the first state to approve marriage equality by statewide election.
Educators are inspired by his bold vision for Maryland’s future. He was the first candidate in the race to call for Maryland to use casino gaming revenue to enhance public education funding, not replace funds shifted to other priorities. He has also called for the complete elimination of the $2.9 billion annual funding shortage facing the state’s public schools, including funding for increasing teacher salaries and ensuring all school staff make a living wage.
MSEA’s endorsement is one of the most coveted in Maryland elections. Educators are a well-known presence during early voting and on Election Day, as thousands mobilize to promote endorsed candidates at polling places across Maryland with the Apple Ballot.