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Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Regina King, Abigail Spencer Seek SAG-AFTRA Board Seats

Variety logo Variety 7/21/2017 Dave McNary

SAG-AFTRA’s upcoming national board election has drawn a quartet of new high-profile candidates — Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Matthew Modine, Abigail Spencer and Regina King.

With ballots going out July 25, the names were revealed as the self-styled progressives of Membership First and the ruling Unite For Strength Factions have unveiled their candidate slates representing the Los Angeles branch, which has the largest representation and the most competitive races. The winners will be announced on Aug. 24.

Most of the attention is on the presidential race with current president Gabrielle Carteris heading the Unite For Strength ticket, facing a challenge from Membership First’s Esai Morales along with independents Peter Antico and Robert B. Martin, Jr. SAG-AFTRA’s 80-member national board is the key ruling body for the union.

Taylor Thomas is best known for voicing the young Simba in “The Lion King” and starring in “Home Improvement,” where he was a cast-mate of current national board member Patricia Richardson.

“Since I started as a child actor, a group still being taken advantage of by producers, times have become more uncertain for performers,” he said. “Many members are facing chronic insecurity, shrinking paychecks, and unlivable residuals in basic cable and new media. Periodic work at scale is simply not sustainable.”

Modine has an extensive resume, breaking out as the star of “Full Metal Jacket” and stars in the Netflix series “Stranger Things.”

Spencer starred as the lead in the Sundance series “Rectify” and is the lead in the NBC series “Timeless.” King has won three Emmys for “American Crime” and has credits on “Ray,” “The Big Bang Theory,” “Southland,” “Poetic Justice” and “The Leftovers.”

“I want to be a part of a union that understands the importance of fighting for all performers, whether they work consistently or sporadically,” King said. “Recognizing the unique challenges that face us in the media professions, we must find new and more successful ways to inform our members of their contract rules and negotiated rights.”

Membership First’s other national board candidates include incumbents Morales, Debbie Evans, Robin Riker and Martin Sheen, widely known for playing the President on “The West Wing.” Other candidates include current secretary-treasurer Jane Austin, Greg Evigan, Cupid Hayes and Shaan Sharma.

Unite for Strength’s national board candidates include incumbents Jon Huertas, Elizabeth McLaughlin, Jenny O’Hara, Robert Pine, Autumn Reeser, Stacey Travis and Vivicca Whitsett along with Carteris, Patrick Fabian, Spencer Garrett, Jason George, Michelle Hurd, Clyde Kusatsu and Dan Navarro.

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