2008 Election: NYSUT endorsements pay off

Lawmakers understand that a NYSUT endorsement not only means extra bucks in their political coffers, but an all-out effort to get out the vote for candidates who are pro-labor, pro-family and pro-public education.

Such was the case in September, when NYSUT phone banks, informational materials and grassroots campaigns helped to elect 20 of 27 endorsed candidates in primary races for seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and in the New York state Senate and Assembly.

NYSUT Executive Vice President Alan Lubin, who heads up the NYSUT’s legislative efforts, reported that there were a few upsets in the primaries. The most notable was Democrat Alice Kryzan in the 26th U.S. Congressional District, who came from under the radar to defeat both the NYSUT- and AFT-endorsed Jon Powers and millionaire Jack Davis. The NYSUT Board of Directors voted in late September to endorse Kryzan in the Nov. 4 General Election.

Of the remaining races in which endorsed candidates lost in the primaries, the NYSUT directors — including UUPers Patricia Bentley of Plattsburgh, Thomas Matthews of Geneseo and Treasurer Rowena Blackman-Stroud of Brooklyn HSC — voted to endorse the following: Democrat Dan Squadron, New York’s 25th Senate District; Pedro Espada Jr., 33rd Senate District; and Democrat Grace Meng, 22nd Assembly District.

The board declined to endorse any of the candidates running for Assembly seats in the 99th, 142nd and 144th districts.

In all, NYSUT endorsed 27 Democrats and one Republican for Congress, while declining to endorse in one other race. NYSUT backed candidates in 155 state legislative races, including 124 Democrats and 31 Republicans. NYSUT stayed neutral or withheld endorsements in 57 other contests, including the 37 state senators — 31 Republicans and six Democrats — who voted for tax-cap legislation.

For a list of the NYSUT-endorsed candidates in the General Election,

go to www.nysut.org and search Media Releases.

— Karen L. Mattison

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