PORTLAND – The Maine Education Association has endorsed Democratic candidate Libby Mitchell in the race for governor.

“As a former classroom teacher, Libby understands the challenges and the rewards of teaching in a public school,” Chris Galgay, president of the statewide teachers union, said during a news conference Thursday at Portland High School.

Mitchell said she is grateful for the endorsement.

“Education is the key to improving the lives of all Mainers,” Mitchell said. “It’s the key to putting people back to work, to creating new jobs, to raising incomes and to keeping young people in Maine.”

Mitchell said she is committed to making sure the voices of teachers, parents and students are heard in Augusta, and to promoting innovative educational models such as Expeditionary Learning at Portland’s King Middle School and the community support for education that is demonstrated in Jackman.

It was the second major labor endorsement for Mitchell this week. On Tuesday, the Maine AFL-CIO, which represents more than 26,000 workers, endorsed her. The Maine Education Association represents 25,000 workers.

Four of the five candidates for governor met with MEA members to discuss education; Republican Paul LePage declined. He has proposed sweeping education reforms that would reduce school administration, tie teachers’ evaluations to students’ performance and increase competition for public school funding.

The other candidates on the Nov. 2 ballot are independents Eliot Cutler, Shawn Moody and Kevin Scott.

 

Staff Writer Kelley Bouchard can be contacted at 791-6328 or at:

kbouchard@pressherald.com