VEA will be holding elections at this year’s Delegate Assembly, choosing a new President, Vice President, and one representative on the NEA Board of Directors. Voting will take place at the DA in Hampton, beginning March 26.
Here are campaign statements from three candidates for President; two candidates for Vice President; and two candidates for the NEA Board of Directors. Candidates are listed in alphabetical order.
James Fedderman, Accomack County
With a Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership, I am ready for a new, more aggressively responsive Union that embodies “Enough is Enough.” Enough is Enough for our ESPs and teachers covering other classes while giving up planning time for senseless meetings that could be addressed through email. Enough is Enough for those who have no time to eat lunch and have no time to for personal care. The marital, physical, spiritual, financial, and mental health of our members is impacting our families because of unrealistic demands and expectations of administrators: Enough is Enough!
As President of VEA I will:
Recruit and retain a wall-to-wall membership that prepares locals to Collectively Bargain;
Embrace the untapped potential of our rank and file members who want to engage, but have no platform;
Seek legislation to address working conditions, learning conditions, and compensation for our Educators and Education Support Professionals to earn a living wage.
Ingrid Gant, Arlington
I am a proud VEA union member for the past 26 years. A graduate from Virginia Union University and Chesapeake Bible College and Seminary with bachelor’s degrees. As an educator, I taught special education students in the least restrictive environment at Kenmore Middle School, in Arlington Public Schools. Proudly, I am the longest serving and first ESP full-time released President of the Arlington Education Association. Collectively, AEA’s voice changed policies, advocated for pay, and increased visibility.
Today, I ask for your support and vote to be your next VEA President. As your future VEA President, I am committed to goals achieving power, which allows every member, every employee, and every partner to strengthen and organize this member led union. I will engage, empower, and encourage all members to advocate for our profession. My promise to you is, I will be active, accessible and positive as your president.
Cheryl Turpin, Virginia Beach
What does Cheryl bring to the desk of the VEA President?
Carol Bauer, York County
My name is Carol Bauer and I ask for your support for VEA Vice President. We have made great strides in our #Red4ED movement, but we have more to do! State funding for our schools continues to be deplorable, so I am committed to raising my voice for all students, members, and our Union to right this distortion of priorities. With your support, I will use my broad experiences serving members as a local, state, and national leader in the VEA and NEA to continue improving public education. The opportunities that lie ahead of us are both exciting and challenging. We cannot be afraid to step forward and be heard. I will work on improving Union communication, establishing collective bargaining, and continuing the fight for social justice. I am Carol Bauer and I ask you to add your voice to mine to advocate for the future of our schools.
Christian Peabody, Stafford County
My leadership is built on a successful record of engaging and empowering stakeholders through an unremitting devotion to excellence that secures unprecedented protections and dignities for all students and Educators. By hearing and meeting their needs as SEA President, I have guided and led advocacy between members and the community into new partnerships securing increased SCPS funding; raises for all Stafford school and county employees; universal non-discrimination/LGBTQ+ protections for all SCPS students and Educators; permanent protections for all VA Licensed Educators with “The Rebecca Bill”; successfully negotiating an eminent bus driver strike for higher pay. SEA has won the 2019 awards for VEA Political Action, A+ Silver Membership Growth, and this year’s greatest local and district growths. Giving voice to member’s needs and helping them achieve their desires is my inspiration, and I will be honored to bring my empowerment-based leadership to the Association as your next VEA Vice-President.
Kevin Hickerson, Fairfax County
I graduated from the small, rural town Colonial Beach and have taught in Spotsylvania and Fairfax. I have experienced the plights of small, mid-sized, and large locals because I have lived and worked in them.
I want to bring my vision of One Virginia to our Union. That vision is that we are all in this fight together. That vision includes a living wage for all employees, social justice changes that affect our students and staff, and taking out standardized testing.
I have experience as a local president with competing unions, have been trained to organize, and have connections at the state and national levels to help push our union’s effectiveness.
I look forward to talking to you and earning your vote in the upcoming months.
Carla Okouchi, Fairfax County
“Our Future Is NOW.” I chose this slogan because we underestimate what we can accomplish. Our Union can win a living wage. Universal childcare. Small class sizes. We achieve these things by returning to an organizing model of union work. As NEA Director, I will fight for collective bargaining and the right to strike, because these rights will center our power in rank-and-file membership. I am tired of asking please; it is time to regain the power to DEMAND. As one of the lead organizers of last year’s 4,000 person march, I feel confident that I have the skills to take us in this direction. I held the lines in Oakland, sat in the balconies of West Virginia, and protested detention centers in Houston. I live the values of solidarity and reciprocity. If you believe that it is time to organize like West Virginia, then vote Carla Okouchi.