Bolstering the campaign to expand legal gambling in Maryland, the state’s powerful teachers union announced its endorsement yesterday of the November referendum to legalize slot machine gambling.
After fierce lobbying from proponents and opponents, the Maryland State Teachers Association board of directors voted to support legalizing slots, taking a stance for the first time on an issue that has long divided politicians in Annapolis. The 70,000-member union said it would soon launch an independent campaign to convince voters that expanded gambling revenue is critical to funding education priorities.
The blessing from teachers is no small victory for slots supporters, who are planning to link the referendum to the needs of public schools. The union’s 14 board members deliberated more than five hours into the night Friday, debating whether to take a position or follow the pleas of some local affiliates, including the Montgomery County teachers union, to remain neutral.