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UFT pick Tish James wins primary

Letitia James celebrates with supporters after winning the Democratic primary foLetitia James Twitter pageLetitia James celebrates with supporters after winning the Democratic primary for state attorney general.

UFT-endorsed Democrat Andrew Gounardes will take on incumbent state Sen. Martin UFT-endorsed Democrat Andrew Gounardes will take on incumbent state Sen. Martin Golden to represent District 22 in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. UFT-supported candidate Letitia “Tish” James won the Democratic nomination for state attorney general on Sept. 13, setting her up to make history as the first black woman to hold statewide office in New York should she win the general election in November.

“New Yorkers knew we needed people who would stand up to Washington, D.C.,” said UFT President Michael Mulgrew. “Tish James, our choice and now the Democratic candidate for New York State attorney general, gets this and will do us proud.”

Another UFT-supported candidate, Andrew Gounardes, won the Democratic primary for Senate District 22 in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, and will face Republican incumbent Martin Golden in November.

Golden is one of three senators in New York City who failed to support a state bill that would have cut the mandatory link between student test scores and teacher evaluation. The proposed legislation passed the state Assembly, but stalled in the Senate earlier in the year.

Five of the eight members of the former Independent Democratic Conference, including former conference leader Jeff Klein, were defeated in their primaries.

In elections for state office, the UFT and other NYSUT affiliates across New York State recommend local candidates to the state union for endorsement after interviewing them and reviewing their records. NYSUT then conducts its own review, and NYSUT delegates vote on those recommendations and make endorsements.

A record number of New Yorkers turned out to vote in the Sept. 13 primary, more than double the number who voted in the last statewide primary in 2014.

The UFT, through NYSUT, backed primary candidates in 63 state Senate races, 150 state Assembly races, 15 U.S. House of Representatives races and four statewide races. UFT members received early-morning text messages reminding them to vote.

“Now we are focused on electing Democrats to the state Senate and, nationally, flipping Congress on Nov. 6,” said Mulgrew, “so that we have more people in office who will value public education and protect working people.”

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