On Monday, Executive Councilor and gubernatorial candidate Colin Van Ostern talked with SEA/SEIU Local 1984 members at the monthly Political Education (Poli Ed) Committee meeting. The Poli Ed Committee meets with candidates for all levels of elective office and makes recommendations on possible endorsements to the SEA/SEIU Local 1984 Board of Directors.
Van Ostern began by introducing himself, then took questions from the members in attendance. Art Ellison, a member of Chapter 1, said he was impressed by the breadth of Van Ostern’s knowledge of the state, and his connection to its people.
“You can see his concern for the people of New Hampshire,” Ellison said. “He’s got a real good connection to the grassroots, the people who are facing lots of issues.”
Van Ostern faced a wide array of questions, touching on transportation (including passenger rail), revenue, retiree health care, staffing shortages at state agencies and workplace bullying.
Overall, Ellison said he was struck by Van Ostern’s concern for the problems facing New Hampshire residents.
“That’s a part of how I look at candidates,” Ellison said. “I want them to be attuned to the needs of state workers, but I put a lot of weight on how they’re going to help all state residents.”
Van Ostern was the first candidate to meet with Poli Ed (Mark Connolly spoke at the December Council meeting), and the committee will work to schedule visits with the other gubernatorial candidates in the coming months. The Poli Ed Committee meets on the second Monday of each month, and any meetings with special guests are highlighted ahead of time in SEA Notices. The committee follows an agreed-upon process in making its recommendation for endorsements, which the Board of Directors ultimately votes on.
Any SEA/SEIU Local 1984 member is allowed to attend these meetings, though you do need to be a member to have an official vote on committee business. There were several union members in attendance Monday who aren’t members of the Poli Ed committee.
“I’m always encouraged when people who aren’t on the committee show up for these meetings,” Ellison said. “I think it’s good as we try to make recommendations for the union.”
If you’d like to be part of the process, you can start by attending the next meeting, which will be Jan. 11. If you’d like more information on that meeting or on joining the committee, you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can read a bit more about Van Ostern on his campaign website, http://vanostern.com/.