The Michigan AFL-CIO announced it will endorse incumbent Brian Mosallam and educator Rema Vassar for the 2020 Michigan State University Board of Trustees election, notably not endorsing incumbent Joel Ferguson.
The AFL-CIO released a statement Wednesday announcing their endorsement of candidates for the upcoming statewide education boards.
These endorsements represent the collective support of over 50 affiliate unions and constituency groups, who represent over 1 million active and retired members in Michigan.
“Together we can once again build a prosperous economy where we all have a fair shot at the American dream, and that starts with education,” Michigan AFL-CIO President Ron Bieber said in the press release. “Every one of these candidates will work to build an education system that lifts up students from preschool through higher education. We’re proud to back all of them, and we’ll do everything we can to support them through the election and their terms in office.”
Spartan Wealth Management President Mosallam was elected to the Board of Trustees for an eight year term in 2012.
Vassar is a former educator and researcher who says her mission is to enlighten and engage all stakeholders to ensure that every student learns, according to her website.
Ferguson is seeking reelection to a fourth term, he was first elected to the Board in 1986. In 2018, he received national attention for his comments during the rise of the ex-MSU and USA Gymnastics Doctor Larry Nassar scandal at the university, saying “there’s so many more things going at the university than just this Nassar thing.”
In a meeting following Nassar's sentencing and ex-MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon's resignation, he apologized for these comments, saying the attention was meant for survivors.
Ferguson is also a statewide developer, with 14 multi-family residential complexes throughout Michigan and more planned.
He and Trustee Brianna Scott were awarded a bid development on a ruined downtown Muskegon building in September. The former Ameribank building is now being redeveloped into a mixed-use property with commercial and residential spaces.
Ferguson is also an investment partner on the $256 million Red Cedar Project that plans a mixed-use development along the Michigan Avenue corridor with 792 beds of student housing, 181 market-rate apartments and two hotels under construction.
Michigan's political parties have yet to announce their endorsements.