Politics is a never-ending process, and the next step for NYSUT members is to participate in local primary elections Thursday, Sept. 10 — especially in Syracuse.
The union has endorsed Syracuse Common Councilor Pam Hunter in an important Democratic primary for a vacant Assembly seat.
"This is how we can help support more fairness and justice in government, by voting and putting in office people we know who will stand with us on the right side of issues in education, labor, health care and social justice," said Andy Pallotta, NYSUT executive vice president and leader of the legislative and political department. "Hunter is that kind of candidate."
Party primaries in New York state take place on a Thursday rather than the traditional Tuesday this year. The date was moved in order to observe the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah, which begins at sundown Sept. 13 and runs through Sept. 15, the original primary date.
Hunter is running in the heavily Democratic 128th district in Syracuse to determine the party's candidate in the Nov. 3 election to fill the seat vacated by Assemblyman Sam Roberts. Roberts resigned to accept a job as commissioner of the state Department of Temporary and Disability Assistance.
Because of the timing of Roberts' resignation, the Board of Elections determined he would not be replaced in a special election, but in the Nov. 3 general election. That allows for a primary, which would not be possible in a special election.
Hunter, one of three on the ballot, has said we need strong schools for our kids and our communities. She has pledged to stand up to the politicians in Albany who try to scapegoat teachers and to work with educators to improve our schools.
"With our profession under attack like never before, teachers and all NYSUT members need a person like Pam Hunter in the Assembly," said NYSUT President Karen Magee. "She'll stand up for our schools and fight for increased higher ed funding."
Since this is not an election year for state or federal offices, most of the primaries are in judicial and local races around the state.
Members in Albany County's sixth legislative district can support NYSUT member Chris Ellis who is running in a three-way Democratic primary for the new seat in the Albany County Legislature. Ellis is a member of United University Professions, NYSUT's affiliate representing academic and professional faculty on SUNY campuses.
You must be a registered voter with a declared party to vote in a primary. Voters in the Nov. 3 general election must be registered by Oct. 14, which means mailed registration applications must be postmarked by Oct. 9.