Who needs “latte funds” anyway?
By Kay Walker-Telma
Welcome to 2020. Have a cup of coffee and relax for a moment. Then, get to work.
With the November election a mere eight months away, we’ll be looking at the Election Day date on the calendar much more quickly than we can imagine.
Members of our MEA family—whether aspiring educators, active public education employees or retirees like me—are pleased that we and other Michigan voters elected a pro-public education governor when Gretchen Whitmer took office last year. However, we know that our work is far from finished. We must work to get a President and individuals in the House and Senate—both in Lansing and Washington, D.C.—who will do what must be done for the students of this state and country.
As many a speaker has said at various MEA events, MEA members are busier than ever, serving our students throughout the state all day, Monday through Friday, and often spending countless hours to prepare for a day’s work. WE, the members of MEA-Retired, are the “daytime faces of MEA” who lobby legislators, give of ourselves to work on political campaigns, write compelling letters to editors of publications, volunteer for many important causes and support our active members.
We all know that in order for our pro-public education candidates to conduct successful campaigns for office, they must have the resources to do so. We give our time, our talents and our tenacity; we must also support with funds that will ensure that those who support our students and staff can claim victory come November.
When it comes to funding campaigns, big corporations and wealthy individuals are able to easily contribute large donations to candidates and causes that work to their advantage. However, we have seen in recent years that many individuals making smaller donations can make a difference, too. MEA has over 120,000 members—aspiring educators, those currently working in public schools and us, our retirees. There is power in numbers to work on campaigns, to contribute funds and to win elections. We can and must use those numbers to our advantage in 2020.
I give of my time and funds to the causes and candidates I support because I know that I am doing my part to make a positive difference in MY future as well as that of those whose future is in our hands: our children.
Making your contribution with a PAC envelope is one easy way to support pro-public education candidates. Making a secure donation online at meavotes.org is easy, too. Donations can be one time or continuing. Indicating the name of your coordinating council when you donate means that 40% of your contribution will come BACK to your area for local candidates supported by your local MEA affiliates.
Donating to PAC doesn’t mean breaking the bank. Working on a campaign doesn’t mean hours away from other activities. Invite a friend over for a steaming cup of Joe instead of going out for a latte. Grab those travel mugs and head over to a candidate’s office to make a few calls or stuff some envelopes.
If every member of the MEA family did that once a month for the next year and donated both time and those unused “latte funds” to PAC, what a difference that would make.