NYSUT's Pipeline Project, which encourages and trains local union members to step up and seek political office, has again placed candidates on ballots around the state in this "off" election year.
When you go to the polls on Nov. 7 to vote NO on Proposition 1 — the constitutional convention referendum — be sure to support local candidates who support your union's agenda in your communities.
Two examples: NYSUT Board member Sparrow Tobin, who is running for a seat on the Middletown city council, and Michelle Roman, a Batavia teacher who is seeking a city council seat in Lockport.
Early in his teaching career, Tobin realized that many of the decisions about education were made by politicians, not classroom teachers. So, he started to find ways to advocate for his students outside of the classroom. He joined his union and other advocacy groups to speak up on the issues his students face. He views the labor movement as a means to advocate for working family values, economic fairness and social justice.
Roman is a 20-year public school teacher and devoted advocate for students and their families. She says a strong community is supported by strong, compassionate residents. Roman promises to bring more transparency to local government, which, she says, is established when more people from the neighborhoods and wards are included on committees and boards.
NYSUT's Pipeline Project does the same thing, helping local working people to take a more active role in making decisions and setting policies to improve their communities.
"If you would like to get involved and possibly run for office, we can help you," said NYSUT President Andy Pallotta. "Please contact your local president."