SAG-AFTRA’s upcoming election is taking shape, with the union’s ruling party – headed by presidential candidate Fran Drescher – today unveiling its full slate of candidates.
Yvette Nicole Brown is running for president of the Los Angeles local, and Ezra Knight is running for president of the union’s New York local – each as part of the ruling parties’ Unite for Strength and USAN slate. Brown, a national board member, is nominated for an Emmy for A Black Lady Sketch Show, and Knight, who co-starred for many years on Law & Order, is the New York local’s vice president and a national board member.
“I believe nothing in our union works unless we are all working together,” Brown said. “As L.A. president I will advocate for each and every member and lead with kindness and respect. It’s been a tough time for us as work here in LA came to a virtual standstill during the pandemic. As we return to work, we will build an even better and safer workplace for all while vigorously enforcing our contracts. That’s my promise.”
Said Knight, whose running to succeed Rebecca Damon: “I am excited for the opportunity to run for New York president in this challenging and pivotal time, as we work to bring the industry and the city back to full strength. I’ll fight for ever-stronger contracts and continue my fierce advocacy for equity and inclusion throughout our industry.”
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Drescher, who’s running for national president to succeed Gabrielle Carteris, said: “Yvette Nicole Brown is the woman for the moment, with a clear intention to unify our members, and a courageous path to diversity and inclusion. Ezra Knight is the right person in the right state at the right time. He has a keen understanding for the challenges of resistance when it comes to member rights, and is able and prepared for the task at hand.”
Anthony Rapp, who’s Drescher’s running mate in the race for national secretary-treasurer, said: “I’m honored to stand alongside Yvette and Ezra, two fierce, compassionate warriors for equality, fairness, and safety. Their years of experience being on the front line of our union leadership will serve them—and all of our members—so incredibly well. They lead with kindness and grace, and will be a unifying and inspiring force.”
Jeff Garlin, who stars on Curb Your Enthusiasm, is running for one of the L.A. local’s vice presidencies and a seat on the national board. Katie Von Till, an L.A. local board member who co-stars on Young Sheldon, is running for another vice presidency.
Jim Kerr is seeking re-election as vice president of the New York local on the USAN ticket, while national vice president Liz Zazzi and national board members Jay Potter and Linda Powell are running for three other vice presidencies in New York.
Rosie O’Donnell, who’s making her first run for a seat on SAG-AFTRA’s national board in New York, said: “I’m so inspired by this team and their approach to organizing work, negotiating strong contracts, and going the extra mile to educate performers. I’m eager to build upon those achievements to further empower members with the tools they need to thrive.”
Membership First, the union’s opposition party, is expected to announce its full slate shortly. Mathew Modine is running for president at the top of its ticket, and Joely Fisher is running for secretary-treasurer.
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Election ballots will be mailed on August 3 and will be counted on September 2.
Here’s the full slate of candidates from Unite for Strength and its USAN affiliate in New York:
UFS LOS ANGELES NATIONAL BOARD CANDIDATES
Dan Navarro (Singer/Recording Artist)
UFS LOS ANGELES LOCAL BOARD CANDIDATES
Yvette Nicole Brown
Austin Highsmith Garces
Katie Von Till
Vivicca A Whitsett
Joy Benedict (Broadcaster)
Jasper Randall (Singer)
Fletcher Sheridan (Singer)
Danielle Towne (Dancer)
USAN NEW YORK NATIONAL BOARD CANDIDATES
Janice Pendarvis (Singer)
USAN NEW YORK LOCAL BOARD CANDIDATES
Jim Kerr (Broadcast-Entertainment)
Jeff Spurgeon (Broadcast-Entertainment)
Cheri Preston (Broadcast-News & Information)
David Ushery (Broadcast-News & Information)
Jamal Story (Dancer)
Janice Pendarvis (Singer)
Samantha MacIvor (Stunt Performer)
Unite for Strength and USAN will also field a group of delegate candidates to the fifth SAG-AFTRA National Convention, which will be held virtually in October.
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