The MSTA Legislative Impact Committee was created to identify and support pro-education candidates in the Missouri Legislature. Fall is a busy time for teachers, families and communities. Information on local elections can sometimes get lost in the spotlight of national politics. Local elections are always important, so each election cycle the committee works hard evaluating incumbent voting records, reading candidate surveys and conducting local interviews to find out where candidates really stand on issues important to education.
In order to develop relationships in the Missouri General Assembly and to ensure that pro-education candidates are elected, in 2000 MSTA developed a committee to evaluate and recommend candidates for the Missouri House and Senate.
The MSTA Education Policy Committee identifies a list of issues that each candidate for office is questioned about and evaluated on. These issues consist of the legislative platform established at the annual MSTA Assembly of Delegates meeting. The only issues that will be taken into consideration when evaluating candidates will be these specific education issues. A candidate’s political party is not a criterion.
Incumbents are evaluated by examining their voting record in office. Those candidates not currently in office are sent a questionnaire. To be considered for an endorsement, all candidates must have either a voting record (if they’ve served in the legislature) or submit a completed survey (if they have not served in the legislature). Completed questionnaires and incumbent evaluations are forwarded to the MSTA Impact Committee member in each candidate’s area. In turn, each Impact Committee member recruits MSTA members for his or her region to assist in evaluating candidates and to conduct follow-up interviews.
The statewide Impact Committee consists of one member from each MSTA region. They are appointed by the MSTA Board of Directors. The Legislative Impact Committee is not required to choose a candidate to support in each legislative district, and it may make no recommendation in some races. In addition, the committee may offer differing levels of support. It may make an endorsement, contribute to a candidate’s campaign, assist the candidate by supplying campaign volunteers or any combination of the three.
The Legislative Impact Committee realizes that not all MSTA members will support the candidates it recommends. It is important to become active politically. You can make a difference by establishing an ongoing relationship with candidates in your district. By working together, we can have an impact on education legislation.