June 24, 2021

Political action pays off in primaries

Source:  NYSUT Communications

NYSUT members, allied candidates and pipeline project alums had big wins in primary elections this week from one end of the state to the other.

Several upstate regions supported NYSUT members and pro-public education candidates running in primaries for mayor, county legislature and common council seats.

General elections are slated for the first Tuesday in November, although in many cases a primary determines the prohibitive favorite to win in the fall.

In a landslide victory, the Rochester Teachers Association and the Rochester Association of Paraprofessionals contributed to the success of Malik Evans in the Democratic primary for mayor over incumbent Lovely Warren. Evans, a city councilman, served 14 years on the board of education, including five years as president.

NYSUT partnered with RTA/RAPP to distribute mailings in support of Evans and a slate of three endorsed school board candidates. Two of the three endorsed school board candidates, Camille Simmons and James Patterson, are projected to win.

Also in the Rochester region, the Monroe Community College Faculty Association endorsed in five county legislative primaries, winning four of them: Rachel Barnhart, LD21; Mercedes Vasquez-Simmons, LD22; Ricky Frazier, LD28; and William Burgess, LD29.

In Western New York, progressive India Walton upset four-term incumbent Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown. The Buffalo Teachers Federation supported Walton, who has pledged to oppose any future charter schools in the district. She is a nurse and parent of five children who went through the city schools. BTF sent mailers to its own members and ran an internal social media campaign.

BTF member Eve Shippens, a graduate of NYSUT’s pipeline program and a Member Organizing Institute alum, served in a leadership role on Walton’s campaign.

Megan Comerford, a member of the Frontier Central TA, won her town council primary in Hamburg. A graduate of the NYSUT pipeline who was endorsed by the local ALF, she ran a strong campaign with the support of NYSUT locals in the area.

Lakeshore Central TA member Laurie Reitz won her primary for Evans town council. NYSUT members made phone calls on her behalf.

Two former pipeline candidates and NYSUT members, Jacqui Berger and Anita Mullane, lost primaries on minor party lines, but will head into the general election on the Democratic lines for Amherst Town Council and Niagara County Legislature, respectively.

In Central New York, two of three candidates endorsed by the Syracuse TA won Democratic primaries for seats on the board of education. They are Nyatwa Bullock and Karen Cordano.

In the Hudson Valley, the Yonkers FT supported incumbent City Council Majority Leader Corazon Pineda in his successful primary election. The union sent mailings, made phone calls and ran late auto-calls in support.

Results in New York City will not be available for several more weeks due to the new ranked choice voting process. NYSUT affiliates in the city, the United Federation of Teachers and the Professional Staff Congress — applied significant resources to support various races from New York City Mayor to the City Council.