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Dear Colleagues,

In the season of politics I want to clarify some of the conceptions, misconceptions, and opportunities to be an informed voter regarding your UFF membership. 

First, UFF dues do NOT go to support political candidates. However, it does have a separate voluntary Political Action Committee that accepts direct donations or can be funded by designating an amount to be deducted from your bi-weekly paycheck. (This is something I do.) The have historically been used to support candidates of both parties that support strengthening our higher education system and protecting faculty rights. For example, this year there are three candidates in other areas for statehouse who are UFF members (Fitzgerald, Heller, Rehwinkle-Vasilinda.) 

Second, UFF and its FEA affiliation provides great opportunities to get educated about the various candidates for state office and about its several amendments (http://feaweb.org/florida-candidate-recommendations-2010) and about the several amendments. These resources explain their screening and interview process and the issues that are considered key to education in general and to higher education in particular. For example, I learned this weekend that the group that will determine many of the retirement issues for state employees is made up of the Governor, State CFO, Commissioner of Agriculture and the Attorney General. Thus, these positions may have a different meaning to you if you are a member of the Florida Retirement System and many of the bills that were floated last year that didn't pass have a chance to resurface in this year's session.

Third, budgets will remain difficult this year and our choices for who represents us in Tallahassee will have a critical impact on each of us in many ways but FGCU and our careers here will be particularly impacted.

I urge that you get active by considering donating to the PAC on a regular or one-time basis, get educated about each candidate you can vote for, get educated about each of the amendments and consider their impacts on education and our futures as Florida residents and University employees.

Thank you for your consideration.

Maddy Isaacs