Clarion Masthead

Unions beat ‘charter’ candidates

In the New York state primaries September 13, several labor-backed candidates won their contests despite facing candidates funded by charter school and pro-voucher advocates.

BEATING BIG MONEY

Not only that, these pro-public education candidates won despite being vastly outspent by anti-teacher union forces. Such an outcome speaks volumes about the power of public school advocacy against the power of big money.

“Most notable were the races where we defended our friends from vicious attacks by New Yorkers for Independent Action, a pro-voucher Super PAC, which poured over $1.5 million into Democratic primaries, intending to unseat our friends,” said NYSUT Executive Vice President Andy Pallotta. “[D]espite our Independent Expenditure Committee (the Great Public Schools) being outspent 6:1, all of our friendly incumbents won.”

For example, in the sixth Assembly district Phil Ramos beat Giovanni Mata, who had collected $321,261 in pro-charter money compared to Ramos’s $34,322 from the Fund for Great Public Schools. In the 46th Assembly district Pamela Harris bested Kate Cucco, in the 55th Assembly district Latrice Walker defeated Darlene Mealy and in the 33rd Senate district Gustavo Rivera beat Fernando Cabrera. Cabrera had collected nearly half a million dollars from New Yorkers for Independent Action, while Rivera only had $47,000 from the Fund for Great Public Schools.

The PSC hopes to build off of these victories in order to advance a pro-CUNY and pro-education agenda in Albany this year.