In February 2013, the PSC announced its first wave of endorsements in the 2013 elections for New York City Council.
“A stronger group of pro-union, pro-CUNY council members could lead a charge to invest in the public good, protect critical services, and demand a fair share of taxes from the 1%,” a union statement said. “CUNY would thrive in an environment like that. City funding could be increased to keep pace with enrollment, and our physical plant could be repaired and improved.” (For more on PSC political strategy in 2013, click here.)
The endorsements were made by the PSC’s Executive Council, after recommendations from the union’s Legislative Committee. The recommendations were based on extensive candidate interviews, which involved more than 20 PSC members in a process that began in the fall.
Many in this first group of PSC endorsements are incumbents with whom the union has worked closely; the list below highlights those who are not currently Council members. Clarion will cover other PSC endorsements, as they are made.
Queens, Council District (CD) 22: Costa Constantinides is running for the seat previously held by Peter Vallone, Jr. A community activist and Democratic Party district leader, Constantinides teaches at Queens College as an adjunct. He attended the “PSC-CUNY 101” candidate briefing, and showed a strong interest in advocating for public higher education and CUNY. Constantinides is also endorsed by the Working Families Party (WFP), Progressive Caucus Alliance, RWDSU, UFCW Local 1500, CWA 1180 and Hotel Trades Council.
Queens, CD 24: Rory Lancman resigned his Assembly seat to run for the US Congress last fall, and the PSC endorsed him in that race. Economic justice and greater resources for public education, with an emphasis on college readiness, are among the issues he is stressing in his campaign. A longtime supporter of union rights, Lancman has been endorsed by the UFT, DC 37, CSEA, RWDSU, Local 3 IBEW, Hotel Trades Council and UFCW Local 1500.
Brooklyn, CD 36: Kirsten John Foy is running for the seat previously held by Al Vann. Foy attended Brooklyn College and is closely familiar with CUNY’s needs. A former staff member to Public Advocate Bill DiBlasio, he is currently president of the Brooklyn chapter of the National Action Network and a senior advisor to Amalgamated Transit Union President Larry Hanley. A Pentecostal minister, Foy was wrongly detained with Councilmember Jumaane Williams at the Brooklyn West Indian Day Parade in September 2011. Before and after that incident, he has spoken up for reform of practices like stop-and-frisk that undermine equal treatment of all New Yorkers before the law.
Manhattan, CD 8: Melissa Mark-Viverito is a founding co-chair of the City Council Progressive Caucus and chair of the Council’s Parks and Recreation Committee. She is endorsed by Working Families Party, 32BJ, SEIU 1199, UAW, UFT, SSEU 371 and the Freelancers Union.
Manhattan, CD 10: Ydanis Rodriguez is a former City College student activist and public school teacher. As chair of the Council’s Higher Education Committee, he has been a strong supporter of CUNY.
Bronx, CD 12: Andy King was elected to this seat in a special election last November 2012 to replace Larry Seabrook, and the PSC endorsed him in that race. King serves on the Council’s Higher Education Committee and attended the PSC-CUNY 101 briefing in January.
Queens, CD 21: Julissa Ferraras is a member of the Council’s Progressive Caucus. Chair of the Women’s Issues Committee, she is an outspoken advocate for equal rights.
Queens, CD 25: Daniel Dromm chairs the Council’s Immigration Committee and is a Progressive Caucus member.
Queens, CD 26: James Van Bramer is a Progressive Caucus member. Chair of the Libraries Committee of the City Council, he worked for the Queens Public Library for 10 years before running for Council.
Brooklyn, CD 39: Brad Lander, founding co-chair of the Progressive Caucus of the City Council; chair of Landmarks Committee; and active on the Economic Development, Housing and Environmental Protection Committees.
Brooklyn, CD 45: Jumaane Williams is a Progressive Caucus member. A Brooklyn College graduate and member of the Council’s Higher Education Committee, he also chairs the Oversight and Investigations Committee.
Staten Island, CD 49: Deborah Rose is a member of the Higher Education Committee and has been very responsive to the PSC and CUNY students. She is a member of the Progressive Caucus and chair of the Council’s Civil Rights Committee.