In what could be a sign of things to come, candidates endorsed by SAG-AFTRA President Ken Howard and his running mate Jenny O’Hara have won landslide victories in local elections in New England. Michele Proude was re-elected President of the New England local, outpolling challenger Chuck Slavin by a nearly 2-to-1 margin, while Tom Kemp was re-elected VP with more than 60% of the vote in a three-way race.
Howard and O’Hara are running on the Unite for Strength ticket, and the wins by two candidates they supported is an indication that the union’s membership nationwide might not be ready for a change in leadership.
Meanwhile, in Nashville, Jim Ferguson — an ally of Howard’s since the 2012 merger — was re-elected to the guild’s national board of directors, receiving 118 of 216 votes cast in a three-way race. Less than 17% of the local’s members voted.
“With Michele Proude and Tom Kemp at the helm, New England has a powerful presence in SAG-AFTRA,” Howard said during the New England election. “They bring experience to the boardroom, strong relationships with national leadership, and significant past achievements on behalf of their members.”
In her endorsement, O’Hara — who is running for national Secretary-Treasurer — described them as “smart, proven leaders, and I trust them to continue leading SAG-AFTRA.” They also were endorsed by Clyde Kusatsu, who’s running on the Unite for Strength slate for re-election as President of the Los Angeles local.
Proude and Slavin will be sworn into office on August 20 – the same day balloting ends for the national SAG-AFTRA election.