DETROIT (AP) — The Michigan Education Association has endorsed Gretchen Whitmer for governor.

The approximately 140,000-member union announced its support for Whitmer on Monday. It represents teachers, support staff, higher education faculty and staff and retirees across Michigan.

MEA President Paula Herbart said Whitmer’s support for educators and her commitment to the success of Michigan students makes her the strongest candidate for governor. As Senate Democratic leader, she opposed legislation that took 3 percent out of educator’s paychecks to pay for retiree health care.

Whitmer’s mother taught in the Lansing Public Schools, her grandmother taught in Waterford, and her grandfather was a superintendent in Pontiac.

The teachers union chose Whitmer over three other Democrats: scientist and businessman Shri Thanedar, ex-Detroit health director Abdul El-Sayed and former Xerox executive Bill Cobbs.