The Howard County Education Association on Thursday threw its support behind two candidates running to represent Howard County in 2014.
Howard's largest teachers' union endorsed County Council member Courtney Watson for county executive and educator Eric Ebersole for a state delegate seat in District 12.
HCEA President Paul Lemle said in a statement that both candidates understood the concerns of the county's teachers.
"Our primary consideration in recommending Courtney Watson to our membership and to Howard County citizens is her strong record of commitment to Howard County's public schools and to the educators who make our schools the best in the nation," Lemle said. Watson, a Democrat, served on the county's school board for one term before she was elected to the County Council, where she represents District 1, encompassing parts of Ellicott City, Elkridge and Hanover.
On both the board and the Council, Lemle added, "Courtney has demonstrated her commitment to education funding and to working collaboratively with HCEA."
Watson said in a statement that she would "continue to make education a top priority as county executive and find additional ways to improve our school system and support our educators."
Lemle said Ebersole, a Wilde Lake High School math teacher who is one of 10 Democratic candidates running in District 12, had a strong background in education.
"We are especially proud to support Eric Ebersole," Lemle said. "Eric has been a teacher in the Howard County Public School System and an HCEA/MSEA member for over 30 years... No one understands the issues and concerns of our frontline educators better than Eric."
Ebersole, a Catonsville resident, has also taught at Marriotts Ridge and Reservoir high schools.
"Teachers are very careful to support not only those in tune with education and willing to champion its causes, but also those most capable of winning," Ebersole said, in a statement, of the endorsement.
Both candidates will appear on the HCEA's Apple Ballot. The union represents more than 5,300 educators.
Lemle said the union would make additional endorsements in District 12 at a later date.