MTA recommends Deval Patrick for Governor

The Massachusetts Teachers Association’s Board of Directors voted July 12 to recommend that members support Governor Deval Patrick and Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray for a second four-year term in office. The association is also recommending the election of Steve Grossman as state treasurer on November 2.

“Despite a horrible recession and a multi-billion-dollar budget gap, Governor Patrick has protected funding for public education and local aid as much as possible,” said MTA President Anne Wass. “Many of our schools are experiencing cuts this year, but we know the cuts would be much, much worse if we didn’t have strong support from our governor.”

Wass said that Patrick’s commitment to education is rooted in his personal experience and core beliefs. “We need a governor who has a deep, lifelong commitment to public education to make it through some difficult years ahead,” she said. She cited Patrick’s effective advocacy for federal funds, his openness to hearing the concerns and ideas of educators and their union representatives, his respect for collaboration and his responsible fiscal policy as important reasons the MTA supports his re-election bid.

Responding to the recommendation, Patrick issued a statement saying, “I am proud to receive the support of the Massachusetts Teachers Association. Our students are first in the nation in educational achievement thanks to the tireless efforts of the thousands of teachers across Massachusetts. The lieutenant governor and I are doing everything we can to ensure that our teachers continue to have the support and resources they need to provide a high quality education for every child in the Commonwealth, and we look forward to working together with the MTA and their members in the days ahead.”

Lieutenant Governor Murray shares Patrick’s commitment to public schools and public colleges, Wass noted. His wife, a graduate of Quinsigamond Community College, is an occupational therapist with the Worcester Public Schools and his father is a former high school teacher who graduated from Worcester State College. “Tim Murray understands the value of a quality education and an affordable, accessible, high-quality public higher education.”

As the former mayor of Worcester, Murray also understands how important quality public schools are to the health and well-being of communities, Wass said. He and the governor both express pride in the fact that Massachusetts students rank first in the country in  mathematics and English language arts on national exams.

In making its recommendations, the MTA detailed several key strengths of the Patrick-Murray administration.

  • Effective advocacy. Patrick lobbied hard and successfully for a large share of federal stimulus funds to be allocated to public education and public higher education. Those funds prevented an estimated 8,000 educator layoffs last year. He has continued to lead in efforts to gain renewed federal funding for the state this year.
  • Collaboration. The governor has given educators and their representatives a voice in the process of education reform. Patrick and Murray have made a point of meeting with groups of educators throughout the state to hear their concerns. The administration also includes the MTA in significant education policy discussions.
  • Responsible fiscal policy. Patrick strongly opposes reckless tax cuts, including this fall’s ballot question to reduce the sales tax to 3 percent, which would cost the state $2.5 billion in revenues each year and devastate education and other local services.
  • Municipal employees, local aid and bargaining. The governor has protected local aid from deep budget cuts and has recognized the need to provide municipal employee unions with a meaningful role in determining health care benefits.
  • Health care for all. Patrick has successfully implemented the state’s landmark health care legislation. Today, more than 97 percent of Massachusetts residents are insured, the highest rate in the country.

In recommending Grossman, the MTA noted that the state treasurer is a member of the board of the Massachusetts Teachers’ Retirement System and chair of the Massachusetts State Board of Retirement, among other functions important to educators.

“Steve combines a commitment to public education and other public services with the financial management skills of a successful businessman,” Wass said. Grossman’s envelope company, Grossman Marketing Group, has been a union shop for 57 years. He received The Labor Guild’s Cushing-Gavin Award as outstanding employer of the year in 1998. He is a former chair of the Democratic Party both in Massachusetts and nationally.

Grossman’s campaign platform includes a commitment to universal preK education and expanding after-school programs, along with support for sustained and improved funding for public schools and public higher education institutions.

The MTA Board’s vote was taken at a special meeting in Natick and was pursuant to recommendations made by the association’s member-run Candidate Recommendation Committee.