ALBANY, N.Y. October 3, 2007 -- New York State United Teachers today celebrated the American Federation of Teachers' endorsement of Hillary Rodham Clinton for the Democratic nomination for president. NYSUT leaders successfully led union leaders from around the country in advocating for AFT's nod based on Sen. Clinton's exemplary record as a leader and an advocate for children and educators.
The endorsement by the AFT, with 1.4 million members, adds momentum to the senator's campaign and is her biggest union endorsement to date.
NYSUT President Richard C. Iannuzzi, an AFT vice president, said: "Senator Clinton listens to our members, understands the important work they do and has a clear plan to strengthen public education. Equally important to our members, she is a recognized front-runner on the critical issue of providing access to quality health care for all Americans."
Celebrating the AFT endorsement, left to right: UFT President Randi Weingarten; Senator Hillary Clinton; NYSUT President Dick Iannuzzi; and Executive Vice President Antonia Cortese. Photo by Mike Campbell.
Clinton has a strong relationship with NYSUT, which represents 585,000 professionals in education and health care in New York. She received NYSUT's endorsement in her two campaigns for the U.S. Senate and has won accolades for her strong support for early-childhood education and her opposition to private school vouchers and tax credits.
"The senator has distinguished herself as one of the most hard-working, thoughtful lawmakers in Congress," Iannuzzi added. "She's known for doing her homework, and teachers always reward that."
Delegates to NYSUT's Representative Assembly earlier this year passed a resolution urging AFT to give every consideration to endorsing Sen. Clinton's presidential bid. After thoughtful discussions, the AFT Executive Council voted to endorse NYSUT's "favorite daughter" at a Wednesday meeting in Washington, D.C.
AFT leaders salute Senator Clinton. Photo by Mike Campbell.
Iannuzzi said Clinton's message of fair federal funding and a willingness to support needed changes in No Child Left Behind hit a responsive chord with New York educators. He also noted that her knowledge of the challenges and need for a comprehensive national health care approach resonated very well with health care workers and all union members worried about the growing number of uninsured Americans.
NYSUT Executive Vice President Alan Lubin said the AFT endorsement would draw NYSUT members to volunteer throughout New York. "Candidates know that NYSUT support means unprecedented grassroots efforts by thousands of members who understand the issues and enthusiastically staff phone banks, hand out campaign literature and work countless hours on behalf of those leaders who support public education and the interests of working families," Lubin said.
NYSUT is affiliated at the national level with the AFT and with the National Education Association, which has not yet endorsed in the presidential election.
NYSUT represents 585,000 teachers, school-related professionals, academic and professional faculty in higher education, professionals in education and health care and retirees. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers; National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.