Friday, October 2, 2009

The NFA Political Action Committee needs your help


The Nevada Faculty Alliance Political Action Committee is beginning its bi-annual work, of considering which candidates for state legislature and for the Board of Regents to endorse in 2010. The NFA PAC is the only entity in Nevada that endorses candidates explicitly based on their positions on issues of importance to Higher Education faculty.

We need your help to make sure that the legislators and Regents who will be elected a year from now are ones who recognize the importance of higher education for our state and the proper role of faculty in higher education!

If you share these concerns, please consider supporting the NFA PAC by joining the NFA (if you are not yet a member), authorizing, or increasing, a monthly contribution to the PAC (if you are an NFA member) or by making a direct donation to the PAC.

Here's why its so important:

Two major changes, happening now, will affect how our legislature approaches higher ed issues for the next decade, or more.

First and most important, many senior legislators are now termed out, including some very good friends of higher education. This will result in an unprecedented number of open seat races and an unprecedentedly rapid advancement of recently elected legislators into leadership.

Second, the state budget will, for the at least the next two legislative sessions, remain challenging for the university system, and thus will be subject in large part to the priorities of these new legislators and the emerging leadership in both the Assembly and the Senate.

In addition, the appointment of three new Regents in 2009 means that there will be three more regential elections in 2010, in addition to the two seats up for election in the ordinary rotation.

Moreover, primary elections in Nevada in 2010 will be earlier than ever (June 8), and consequently, the filing date for declaring candidacies has moved up to March of next year.

For all these reasons, the Nevada Faculty Alliance PAC has had to advance its organizational efforts to ... well, to right now!

NFA members -- and all faculty -- who are concerned with the decisions that our Regents and state legislature will make about Higher Education, about state public service workers compensation and benefits, and about the future of our state in general (and every single one of us are concerned with all those issues) have an opportunity, and really a professional and civic obligation, to get involved in trying to influence those decisions.

We're writing to ask you to get involved by doing three things:

1. Contribute funds to the NFA Political Action Committee.

Our statewide PAC gives the NFA credibility during the election — and afterwards. Although very, very few faculty are in a position to make big donations to political candidates on their own, our collective effort can give strength to our voices. Most of our PAC funds come from members who contribute small amounts (in most cases $2 or $4) on a recurring, monthly basis.

And yet, many members do not make such contributions merely because they were never asked to. Or they make less of a donation than they can, because until now, we've never asked members to increase the amount of their monthly contributions. So if you are already a member and are willing to contribute an additional $2 or $4 per month to try to ensure that we never again see the sort of deep cuts to our budgets, our salaries and our benefits that we had to fend off last spring, please consider completing an updated membership form (PDF) -- and specify the amount you are willing to contribute to the PAC on a recurring basis. The long term investment you make will pay off over the course of your NSHE career. (Be sure to SIGN the form and indicate PAC increase and send it to the address on the form or turn it in to your campus chapter president.)

If you do not want to make an open-ended commitment, but are willing to contribute a bit extra in this election cycle, direct donations to the PAC are welcome -- from anyone, not just NFA members -- and can be sent to the address on the membership form, to our state treasurer, or to your chapter president.)

2. Participate in PAC activities.

Although money is the best source of influence for our PAC, we also can lend support to candidates by helping them meet others in their districts. In particular, faculty can be every effective surrogates for candidates in their own districts, helping by organizing a house party or visiting neighbors on behalf of the candidate. If you're interested in helping out in this way, please let us know.

Finally, the process of interviewing and endorsing candidates is an arduous one. We are currently forming our endorsement committees to ensure equitable representation of faculty from all our chapters, so please let your campus chapter president know if you are interested in serving on one of these committees.
for endorsement

3. Ask your colleagues to join the NFA. The best way to make faculty interests heard in the corridors of power is for faculty to speak together, through the NFA. We have extended our offer of 50%-off dues during the first year of membership, for newly enrolled members. So there is no better, no more crucial, and no more economical time than now, for new members to join the NFA.

Your help is very much needed on all three fronts.

While the NFA was successful in helping to minimize the impact on higher education during the last legislative session, we now face a likely special session this winter and a difficult regular legislative session in 2011. We need to let the legislature and the voting public know that higher education is critical to the future of Nevada, and that NSHE faculty are critical to higher education.

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