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Drake throws hat in SAG prexy ring

Guild member promotes himself as an 'independent voice'

Veteran SAG activist Gordon Drake has announced he’s running for SAG president, joining a field that includes current prexy Melissa Gilbert and SAG treasurer Kent McCord.

Drake, who served as national strike coordinator during the 2000 commercials strike, is promoting himself as an independent voice who will represent concerns of rank-and-file members and avoid boardroom infighting.

“I feel the union’s leaders have become polarized on opposite ends of the political spectrum,” he told Daily Variety. “My support will come from disenchanted members who would like to see their leaders find consensus.”

Drake criticized Gilbert for a lack of follow-up to members’ vote last year against a proposed revamp of SAG’s master franchise agreement for talent agents.

He also split with many former allies in backing the recent proposal to merge SAG and AFTRA, which fell 1,280 votes short of receiving the required 60% approval, and asserted that McCord’s opposition to the deal shows he’s “out of touch” with a large constituency of SAG members that would like to see an end to guild disputes.

Drake is a Hollywood-based thesp with credits on “Bugsy,” “She-Devil” and several commercials. He was a co-founder of the Performers Alliance, which backed former SAG prexy Bill Daniels, chaired SAG’s Web site committee for several years, and served on the national board for a year to fill out Anne-Marie Johnson’s term after she resigned.

Petitions to run for the board are due July 24, with ballots mailed Aug. 26 and results announced Sept. 23.

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