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GFT election set for next Friday

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by Michele Catahay

Guam - An election of officers at the Guam Federation of Teachers will take place next week. The last election for the union occurred about three years ago and several individuals are throwing in their hat to run for office.

Over the last several months, individuals have voiced concerns about the leadership at the GFT, more specifically with current president Matt Rector. Former union steward Carol Somerfleck had even taken her concerns to the American Federation of Teachers regarding the selection of delegates to the national convention. She even questioned the changes made to the constitution, which she says has pushed back the election of officers.

Next Friday, members will have the opportunity to select the individuals they want in office. Rector contends that elections weren't held in recent years because no one expressed the intent to run. He told KUAM News, "There's a provision in the constitution that says if only one person runs for a position, then there's no need to hold an election because it'll cost a lot of money. It'll cost about $5,000 or $6,000 for an election, which is a fair chunk of change. So there's no point in doing it if nobody else is running. It's important that all our members go out there and vote, participate in our democracy and help form the future of our union."

Rector, who is running for re-election, says a total of three people are running for the president's position, another three for the office of vice president, two for secretary and two for treasurer. Just last month, Somerfleck expressed her intent to run for president with James Nichols to run as the vice president of the union.

For the time being, Rector says those wanting to participate in the election may vote at their work sites or at the GFT's office in Mangilao. "We try to get people to conduct the election in every worksite, as much as possible," he explained. "If we don't get enough volunteers, then a member or every member could come to the office and vote."

Now with several people running for office this time around, Rector says members need to participate in their democracy. "It's important this time because there's a clear choice between candidates and how they want to see the future of the union, if they want to see it go forward and what they want to do to make sure we have a strong and powerful union that we need to win for our families," he said.

Again, elections will take place on Friday, February 25.

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