July 17, 2014

NYSUT issues early endorsements in legislative races

Source: NYSUT Media Relations

ALBANY, N.Y. July 17, 2014 — New York State United Teachers today issued early endorsements to three incumbent state senators who have reliably stood with parents and educators in fighting for fair and equitable funding while vigorously opposing the climate of over-testing that is harming students and public schools.

The union's Board of Directors voted to endorse state Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk in the 46th Senate District; state Sen. Terry Gipson in the 41st Senate District and state Sen. Ted O'Brien in the 55th Senate District in balloting over the weekend, while also backing candidates for three other Senate seats.

NYSUT President Karen E. Magee said the three incumbents earned early endorsements for their fierce and effective advocacy on behalf of what New York's students and teachers need.

"Sen. Tkaczyk has been an outspoken and tireless advocate for a greater state investment in our public schools and a relentless champion for our rural schools and for students with special needs," Magee said. Sen. Gipson, she added, "distinguished himself in his first term as a clear and effective voice opposing those who want to privatize and profit from students, using his bully pulpit to spotlight Pearson and its role in the state's misguided push for more standardized testing and data collection."

Magee said, "Sen. O'Brien played a pivotal role in helping public schools win sizeable funding increases in this year's budget. His effective advocacy on behalf of school districts in the 55th Senate District helped to stabilize programs that benefit students."

NYSUT Executive Vice President Andrew Pallotta noted the three incumbents won their seats in 2012 with financial support from NYSUT and the grassroots backing of thousands of union members. "They didn't forget. They are true friends to public education. They demonstrated with each statement and each vote that they respect what teachers and School-Related Professionals do every day, while vigorously advocating for a strong SUNY, CUNY and community college system that has a place for every student who graduates high school and wants to go on to college."

The NYSUT Board of Directors also voted to endorse the candidacy of Justin Wagner in the 40th Senate District. Wagner is vying for the seat being vacated by Sen. Greg Ball. NYSUT is also backing Elaine Altman, a 24-year veteran Kenmore teacher and teacher center director running on a platform of fair funding and less testing, over Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer. In addition, the Board endorsed Marc Panepinto in his 60th District race against Sen. Mark Grisanti, as well as the re-election bid of Syracuse area Assemblyman Al Stirpe.

NYSUT will hold its regular endorsement conference from Aug. 11-13 in Albany. Hundreds of local presidents and members of NYSUT's political action committees will review voting records and other information and determine which candidates will earn NYSUT's backing for the fall 2014 elections.

New York State United Teachers is a statewide union with more than 600,000 members in education, human services and health care. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.

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