Ken Howard Weighs Another Term as SAG-AFTRA President

With nominations opening this week, Ken Howard is considering seeking a second term as national president of SAG-AFTRA.

Howard, 71, told Variety on Tuesday that he’s not ready to make an announcement on his candidate status but will fairly soon. He will have a month to decide, since the deadline for submitting nominating petitions is June 26.

He’s headed SAG-AFTRA since it was created three years ago and easily defeated Esai Morales and two other challengers in the merged union’s first election in 2013. Howard was first elected as SAG president as a moderate in 2009 and re-elected in 2011 — winning both times on a platform advocating the merger of SAG and AFTRA, which was overwhelmingly approved by members.

Nominating petitions are available Wednesday for the presidency, secretary-treasurer, national board seats, local board seats and convention delegate slots. Ballots will be mailed July 21 with results will be announced Aug. 20.

The eight VP slots will be filled during the union’s convention in Los Angeles on Oct. 1-4.

Howard became the 25th and final president of SAG in 2009 shortly after winning an Emmy for “Grey Gardens” and has always portrayed himself as a pragmatist. Best known for playing the lead on the CBS series “The White Shadow,” he’s continued working while in office, recently logging feature film credits on “The Wedding Ringer” and “The Judge.”

In 2013, Howard headed the Los Angeles-based Unite for Strength slate, which won the lion’s share of seats on the 70-member national board.

The self-style progressives of the Membership First faction, which controlled the SAG board room from 2005 to 2008, backed Morales in 2013 and won only a handful of seats. Martin Sheen receive the highest vote total in the board contest while Morales received the third highest vote total. Joanna Cassidy, Patricia Richardson and the late Sumi Haru also won national board seats.

For its part, Membership First leaders David Jolliffe and Samantha Hartson have reached out recently to supporters to meet this weekend to formulate strategy. Morales campaigned on a variety of issues such as the slow payment of residuals, lack of transparency by the union during contract negotiations, the erosion of standards for middle-class actors and moves to close 10 of the branch offices.

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