Special election outcome reflects educators’ activism
M TA activists played a key role in the recent election of Edward Markey to the
U.S. Senate, despite a short campaign
season that coincided with the end of
the school year.
“Our members worked hard,
calling fellow educators and helping to
get out the vote,” said MTA President
Paul Toner. The MTA made 180,000
phone calls and had more than 20,000
conversations with members in the
weeks leading up to the June 25
special election vote.
The association also worked with
other organizations, including the
NEA, to fund and produce television
ads supporting Markey, along with
direct mail to voters.
Markey replaces longtime U.S.
Senator John Kerry, who stepped
down to become U.S. secretary of
state earlier this year. The result of
Democratic victories in Massachusetts
politics, which saw the re-election
of President Barack Obama and the
historic election of Elizabeth Warren to
the U.S. Senate last November.
The Markey campaign was busiest
at the end of the school year, “so it
was a challenge to balance the end-of-
the-year workload and still find time
to phone bank and do other campaign
activities,” said Zachary Chase, an
MTA Senate district coordinator for the
Legislative and Political Action Team in
the Norfolk and Suffolk District. Chase,
Dedham, said the group’s efforts were
“completely worthwhile, and we made
a huge impact.”
Bob Kostka, coordinator for the
Plymouth and Norfolk LPAT group,
agreed that while the timing wasn’t
optimal, the results were worth it,
U.S. senators who are pro-education
and who witnessed the energetic
involvement of MTA members in their
As a member of the U.S. House
for 37 years, Markey established an
excellent record in support of students
and public education at all levels. He
was a stalwart in the fight to adequately
fund schools and colleges and to ensure
that children across the country have
equal access to learning and technology.
In May, the MTA- and NEA-recommended candidate addressed the
Annual Meeting of Delegates and drew
a standing ovation from the crowd of
about 1,000 educators.
M TA members were among those best able to highlight Markey’s strong support
for public education, and they spread
the message around the state, in
person as well as by phone, to people
who may not have been aware of his
Vinh Holmqvist, a retired Malden
teacher, said Markey’s long record
in support of public education and
organized labor was well known on the
North Shore. Richard Liston, a retired
Everett teacher and member of the
MTA Board of Directors, said Markey
“was always there for us and listened
to our concerns.”
The campaign “was hard, because
people were so exhausted coming right
on the heels of the Warren election,”
said Maryelen Calderwood, an ESP
at UMass Amherst and coordinator
of LPAT members in the Hampshire-
Franklin-Worcester Senate District.
“But we saw how all those calls to
our members led to success” and were
an integral part of the campaign, she
Please turn to Campaign/Page 17
MTA members strongly supported Edward Markey during his U.S. Senate campaign. Above left, Markey posed
near an ice cream truck with Marguerite Gonsalves, president of the Malden Education Association. Both are
former ice cream truck drivers. Above right, Markey received a warm welcome at the MTA Annual Meeting.
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