The Michigan Education Association announced Monday it will be supporting former state Senate minority leader Gretchen Whitmer as the Democratic candidate in the 2018 Michigan gubernatorial race.
The MEA announced the decision at an event in Macomb County on Monday. In a statement sent to members, the organization endorsed Whitmer’s proposals for the public education system in Michigan, specifically praising her past work to increase public funding for education and her proposal to guarantee every Michigan high school graduate debt-free higher education.
The union represents 140,000 teachers and school employees, and represents a major victory for Whitmer.
The group also expressed its confidence that Whitmer would involve public school educators in the legislative process and take input from them. The statement emphasized the organization’s goal to provide “a quality public education for every student regardless of their race, their gender, their income or their background,” a value that MEA members see in Whitmer.
Whitmer is currently running for the Democratic nomination in the race. Her primary opponent is Abdul El-Sayed, former executive director of the Detroit Health Department, though many see Whitmer as the front-runner across the state.
The endorsement comes as the primary races for both parties begin to heat up in advance of the nominating conventions and primary elections in August and the general election in November.