The National Education Association, the nation's largest union, announced plans Thursday to mobilize its more than three million members in an effort to influence the 2020 election.
On a call with reporters, NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcìa unveiled the organization's "Strong Public Schools 2020" campaign, an effort to get its members "to be part of the ground game in the 2020 campaign and play a major role in choosing next President of the United States."
"The public sees us as that trusted voice about what's going on in their communities because they know we love someone else's kids," Garcìa said. "We are taking that trusted, influential voice into this campaign."
The powerful interest group, which tends to support Democratic candidates, is also unveiling a website that will allow users to directly compare candidates' stances on issues like education policy, education funding, workers' rights and racial and social justice. Members are also encouraged to submit questions that the organization will then ask candidates.
Candidates seeking the NEA's recommendation and endorsement will first have to submit a handwritten and "extensive" questionnaire on issues important to the organization. Candidates must also agree to an on-camera interview with Garcìa that will be shared on the Strong Public Schools website.
"We know that they will come to us and respect our voice. And those that listen to us are going to have the right answers on these questions," she says.
According to Garcia, one in every 39 voters nationwide is a member of the NEA.