Endorsements for Citywide Races
Mayor de Blasio came into office promising to fight for universal pre-K, expand paid sick leave and raise the minimum wage for City employees and contractors, and he has delivered. The Mayor has also advanced a progressive, inclusive vision for our city at this perilous political moment; he has reaffirmed New York’s status as a sanctuary city and has been unafraid to speak out against President Trump. Critically for PSC members and CUNY students, Mayor de Blasio has increased funding for CUNY every year he has been in office, including funding for our union contract and a commitment of tens of millions of dollars for the Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) initiative.
Public Advocate Letitia James, is the first Black woman elected to hold any citywide office. A Lehman College graduate, James has been a staunch supporter of the PSC including most recently, supporting the union’s demand for retroactive pay during our recent contract fight. She has advocated against increasing the tuition burden on students and for additional funding for student services including campus childcare. During her time in the City Council, James co-sponsored a resolution critiquing CUNY’s Pathways restructuring plan. As Public Advocate, Letitia James has achieved a strong record on expanding worker’s rights, reforming the criminal justice system and child welfare system, and protecting tenant’s rights.
City Comptroller Scott Stringer, is a graduate of John Jay College and a long-term CUNY supporter. As Comptroller, Scott Stringer has worked hard to keep city government financially sound and accountable. He has annually testified before the state Legislature on the need to increase public funding for CUNY and, as manager of the New York City Employees Retirement System, he has been diligent to protect the retirement security of City employees including the CUNY faculty and staff. Before running for citywide office in 2013, Stringer was an Assembly member and later Manhattan Borough President. He backed expanding college access for undocumented immigrant students and defending the rights of LGBTQ residents among many progressive policies which PSC holds dear.
City Council Races
Races to Watch
Diana Ayala is the union’s endorsed candidate for City Council in district 8. Born in Puerto Rico and raised in New York City, Diana knows the power CUNY has to change lives. She had her first child as a teenager and was living in a homeless shelter when her child’s father was shot and killed. She enrolled at Bronx Community College in a special program for teenage mothers and graduated with an associate degree in Human Services. Diana Ayala says she is “forever grateful for CUNY.” After college, she worked as the director of the East Harlem Senior Center, and then as constituent services director and deputy chief of staff for City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverto. Diana Ayala has been endorsed by the Working Families Party and NYC Progressive Caucus Alliance.
Justin Brannan is the union’s endorsed candidate for City Council district 43. He understands CUNY is critical to New York City’s future and that the University needs full funding to assure all students have access to a quality college education. Brannan is a community activist, civic organizer and musician who has lived in Bay Ridge his entire life. He attended Fordham University and the College of Staten Island. He served as chief of staff for Council member Vincent Gentile, who is now term-limited, and worked at the Department of Education. Brannan founded the Bay Ridge Democrats, a progressive political club, served on Community Board 10, and following Hurricane Sandy, founded Bay Ridge Cares, a local charity serving the elderly and disabled. While working at WNEW, Brannan served as shop steward for his union and developed a strong progressive view on labor issues. He understands the necessity of increasing funds to CUNY. “Coming from a family of educators, I know that funding for CUNY needs to be increased,” he wrote on his PSC questionnaire. “Our students are underserved and CUNY staff is overworked… We must do all we can to make CUNY less reliant on tuition by full-funding the University system.” He has been endorsed by the Working Families Party.
Bill Perkins is the PSC’s endorsed candidate for City Council district 9. Bill has been a PSC ally from his first term on the Council and has fought hard to increase public funding for CUNY to hire additional faculty and staff. He has also worked to improve financial aid and scholarships to CUNY students. Bill was a visible supporter during our recent contract campaign. In the NY Senate, he sponsored the original NY Dream Act to extend TAP aid to undocumented students. As he explained to the PSC interview committee, “I believe in the transforming powers of education. Education was my salvation. It enabled me to achieve more than I could have dreamed. I believe we need to invest in our public schools and colleges to make sure that every child receives the best education possible.” Elected to the City Council in a special election earlier this year, Bill joined the Progressive Caucus. We strongly urge you to support his re-election next Tuesday.
Carlina Rivera is the union’s endorsed candidate for City Council district 12. She understands CUNY is critical to New York City’s future and that the University needs full funding to assure all students have access to a quality college education. Rivera is a native of the district and has been a tenant and community organizer. She has served on Community Board 3 and, until resigning to run for office earlier this spring, was legislative director for the out-going Council member, Rosie Mendez. The PSC interview team found Rivera articulate with a clear grasp of critical public policy issues, including closing Riker’s Island, gentrification, homeless services and CUNY’s funding needs. Carlina ranked adding full-time faculty lines and raising part-time faculty wages high on her list of priorities. Rivera has been endorsed by the Working Families Party, NYC Council Progressive Caucus Alliance and elected officials, including Comptroller Scott Stringer, Council Member Rosie Mendez and Public Advocate Letitia James.
Helen Rosenthal is the PSC’s endorsed candidate for City Council in district 6. She is the co-chair of the Progressive Caucus, chair of the Council Contracts Committee and co-chair of its Women’s Committee. She has been a strong advocate for redirecting city spending to essential services and took the lead in forcing the city to “re-bid” a Bloomberg-era technology contract to the Department of Education saving $627 million for public schools. If re-elected, she pledges the same diligence to find resources to make up for long-term underfunding for CUNY. She is a co-sponsor on the “free CUNY taskforce” bill and would prioritize raising part-time adjunct faculty wages and benefits. She has been outspoken on public school segregation in this upper Westside district and opposes the expansion of charter schools. As she explained to the PSC, “My concern with charter schools is that they divert resources away from traditional public schools and create a two-tiered, ‘haves vs. have-nots’ arrangement within the public school system.” We need more women leaders in the Council and urge you to support Helen’s re-election.
Alicka Ampry-Samuel is the union’s endorsed candidate for City Council district 41. She understands CUNY is critical to New York City’s future and that the University needs full funding to assure all students have access to a quality college education. A proud graduate of the CUNY School of Law, Samuel has worked for the U.S. State Department on human rights issues for the embassy in Ghana, as chief of staff for Assembly member Latrice Walker, and most recently as senior advisor in the Community Engagement Division of the NY Housing Authority. Samuel is a life-long Brownsville resident and a trustee of her church. She is endorsed by the Working Families Party and Make the Road Action.
Keith Powers CD 4 Manhattan
Powers is a third-generation resident of the district, Community Board 6 member, tenant organizer and long-term community activist. He attended the CUNY Graduate Center and understands that a free or low-cost public college education is crucial.
Marjorie Velazquez is the union’s endorsed candidate for City Council district 13.[Lost to Mark Gjonaj.] She understands CUNY is critical to New York City’s future and that the University needs full-funding to assure all students have access to a quality college education. A life-long resident of the Bronx, Velazquez went to public schools and earned a business degree from NYU. She worked in finance for firms covering Latin America and the Caribbean until a workplace accident and a subsequent car crash left her temporarily disabled. Velazquez found motivation for her recovery in public service and community advocacy. She worked to elect Ritchie Torres to the City Council in 2013, serves on Community Board 10 and was elected Democratic District leader in the 82nd Assembly District. She has been endorsed by Working Families Party, the NYC Progressive Caucus Alliance and Make the Road Action as well outgoing Council members James Vacca and Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, among others.
PSC endorsements in Contested Borough President Election
Tom Shcherbenko, Staten Island Borough President
A retired school teacher and union activist, Tom Shcherbenko has long worked in the borough to build a progressive Democratic presence on Staten Island critical to the PSC including local development and the environment. He will be a strong voice for the College of Staten Island and for CUNY. [Read more]