This week, the AFT executive council voted overwhelmingly to endorse Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination for president.
This is a crucial election. Who we elect can make the difference in reshaping our economy and reclaiming the promise of public education.
We’ve seen what happens when we get involved early—like in Pennsylvania, where early engagement helped change one of the most anti-public school administrations in the country and elect one that’s championing the issues of working families and public education. That’s why we’re getting in now.
We’re the first national union to endorse. Over the coming months, we’ll have the chance to help Hillary shape a powerful platform and focus the conversation on the issues that matter to our members and the students, families and communities we serve.
Since February, we’ve engaged members and leaders in the most extensive outreach we’ve ever done leading up to a primary endorsement.
We conducted a phone survey calling more than 1 million members, commissioned a second major poll, and solicited your input online and in person. We wanted to know what issues mattered to you, which candidate you thought shared our values and who you believed could win.
The message we heard from you was clear: By huge margins, you wanted us to endorse in the primary, and to endorse Hillary Clinton. Our members support Hillary by more than 3 to 1. She’s seen as the strongest candidate by an 11-to-1 margin, and 79 percent of those who will vote in a Democratic primary want us to endorse in the primary.
It’s no wonder. In vision, in experience and in leadership, Hillary Clinton is the champion working families need in the White House. She is a tested leader who is prepared for a tough fight on behalf of students, families and communities. That fight defines her campaign and her career.
And it’s not just that she shares our values. Members told us loud and clear that they believe Hillary is the right candidate—not just to earn the nomination, but to win the White House and continue the fight to reclaim the promise of America.
It’s important that we get in the fight now. We know what happens if we sit back and wait for others to define the debate.
The people who want to sell off our public schools, squeeze profits from our hospitals, privatize services and slash higher education are already hard at work to elect their champions. We need to shape the debate now so we’re not left chasing it later.
Hillary’s shown that she’s ready to work with us to confront the issues facing children and families today, including poverty, wage stagnation, income inequality and lack of opportunity. Hillary is the champion we need to help us reclaim the promise of America.
Randi Weingarten, AFT President
Lorretta Johnson, AFT Secretary-Treasurer
Mary Cathryn Ricker, AFT Executive Vice President