Wow! Much has been stated in the last twelve hours via Facebook regarding the actions taken by the NEA-Alaska PACE. First, here are the facts about how the PACE decisions are made and who makes them. The committee consists of the entire board of directors and officers, along with one additional member elected per regional director at our statewide annual meeting. So, the board members and officers have been elected by all members who choose to participate in our elections. The delegates to the annual meeting from each region vote for the members who will represent them in the additional seats on the committee. This is a democratic process. Leadership of NEA-Alaska does not decide who these representatives are in isolation. The process is completely transparent.
In June 2010, the NEA-Alaska PACE selected and approved recommendation of Lisa Murkowski for U.S. Senate. The vote taken for this action was a 2/3 majority of PACE and we forwarded the recommendation to NEA. As of last Friday evening, we still had this recommendation. Yesterday, during the PACE meeting, the committee again chose to endorse Lisa Murkowski, again with 2/3 or more of the group approving. Again, transparent and elected representatives of the membership made the decision.
Why do I support the decision of the committee? I believe the two most important issues at the federal level for educators are the upcoming reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), also known as No Child Left Behind, and the Government Pension Offset/Windfall Elimination Provision affecting Social Security benefits for our members. Senator Murkowski has been working on finding solutions to problems in NCLB since she went to Washington. She has been extremely receptive to ideas and suggestions we have presented. She has made sure decisionmakers understand what Alaska's needs are by bringing three Secretaries of Education to our state. She signed on immediately as a co-sponsor of the bill to repeal GPO/WEP and has not wavered in her support. I don't always agree with her decisions and votes, but I think about the impact on a daily basis that these two issues have for us. Those who think differently are entitled to their opinions. I will be voting for Senator Lisa Murkowski on November 2nd because she believes in the issues I care most deeply about.