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    Q: How would you describe the purpose of your organization (Michigan Education Association), and who they serve?

    A: We are here to provide the members of our organization with the tools they need to make their jobs easier and better. We are also here as well too work to advance and enhance our states classrooms in order to provide quality education to every child and every school.

    .

    Q: What is your specific job description as a "Campaign Consultant"?

    A: I raise funds for campaigns as well as extra money to give to individual candidates. I also work with the candidates and give them the knowledge they need to know about our organization and our stances on issues in order to receive recommendations. Once these recommendations have been made for us I then provide resources in order to further the campaign. It's all about the campaigning in my job.

    Q: What is your background with the MEA organization and in your career thus far?

    A: I am a former teacher. I spent most of my younger years in elementary education. I received my masters in education leadership. Then after teaching I chose to work as a Uniserv director and also as a lobbyist for our organization until settling down with my current position as a campaign consultant for the MEA.

    Q: Do you see yourself working at/with the MEA further in the future?

    A: Yes as a former teacher I still like dealing with the issue of education. I now get to serve the school faculty instead of being one of them.

    Q: What goals do have currently for Michigan public policy?

    A: We hope to maintain the benefits that school employees currently receive. One of our biggest hopes is to help reform Michigan's education so students can continue to receive quality education (ie: we work to eliminate the high dropout rate, provide programs that help students stay in school. Programs such as before and after school programs that keep kids involved).

    Q: What successes have you experienced thus far in your career at the Michigan Education Association?

    A: I have had a huge play in protecting teacher's rights and to ensure due process rights are maintained for them. Also I have dealt a lot with curriculum issues that focus on keeping them of the highest quality. Finally I think another success was learning to deal with no child left behind and work my policy ideas around it.

    Q: How are you specifically influencing state public policy?

    A: I am more influential from back door. I am not necessarily at the capital everyday but I do work with many different policy groups.

    Q: How involved is your organization with monitoring legislative proposals that affect its members?

    A: It is a daily activity for us. We have five lobbyists who spend their day at the capital and work with our legislatures. These lobbyists are each assigned committees to follow as well so that progress gets made more efficiently. So everyday we are monitoring legislative proposals.

    Q: Then how involved is your organization with influencing legislative proposals that affect its members?

    A: I would like to think we are good at it. However at times I won't lie, but it is hard. Many people (in the legislature) call us here at the MEA and ask for some advice on proposals that deal with education concerns; right now we are most involved in budget concerns.

    Q: What challenges do you face influencing state legislature?

    A: Mostly it's the competing with other groups. Our biggest competitor has most commonly been human services. They are also always in there, trying to get money and other funding as well. The correction system really takes a lot of money from our schools. Sadly here in Michigan the cost spent to keep a prisoner is much higher than that spent per student. Other than them I would say health care would be another typical opponent of ours. They are always trying to get funding from the state.

    Q: Besides the challenges, who are your typical opponents inside influencing legislature, those stated before or any others you can think of?

    A: Again I would say most commonly we find ourselves competing with Human Services and Health Care

    Q: Has your opinion on state politics and policy changed since you have become more involved in government?

    A: I feel that when our term limits changed my opinion also changed. Before them (term limits), there were experienced workers in our legislature who really took the time to see things through. Now with these new term limits I feel there is less thought put into everything and this decrease in quality has really caused a lot of change. Our legislature doesn't have time to learn the process and debate as the public would like to see anymore. It's a constant battle everyday to teach and re-teach our issues and stances on education to the constant influx of new people in legislature.

     

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    About Us

    The Michigan Policy Network is a student-led public education and research program to report and organize news and information about the political process surrounding Michigan state policy issues. It is run out of the Department of Political Science at Michigan State University, with participation by students from the College of Social Science, the College of Communication, and James Madison College. 

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    Meet your Policy Fellow: Andy Chou and Andrew Revard

    Andy Chou and Andrew Revard are Education Policy Correspondents for the Michigan Policy Network. Andy is a first-year student in Economics at Michigan State University. Andrew is a senior in Political Science at MSU.