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Minn. teachers union elects new president

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The state's largest union has a new leader.

Minnesota Public Radio says delegates at the Education Minnesota Convention elected Denise Specht as their new president on Saturday.

Specht, 47, has served as the teacher union's secretary-treasurer for the past six years. She defeated two-term president Tom Dooher to lead the 70,000 member union. Specht, an elementary school teacher for 18 years, will begin her three-year term on July 1.

“Teachers’ morale is very low,” Specht told the Star Tribune. “Educators are looking for respect and a degree of autonomy in addressing major issues,” starting with big class sizes. “Strong leaders make connections, and we have relationships to repair, but we will not weaken on our core values and we will bring the educator’s voice back to the debate.”

Dooher has led Education Minnesota since 2007. He ran unopposed in the 2010 election.

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