The next mayor of New York City will face the great challenge of leading the city as it pulls out of the pandemic. UFT members want a mayor who understands the importance of public schools to the city’s recovery. Who will be up to the task?
The UFT organized four virtual mayoral town halls in February and March to give union members the opportunity to hear from 12 contenders to succeed Mayor Bill de Blasio, who cannot run for reelection.
“UFT members have a big stake in who is elected the city’s next mayor,” said UFT President Michael Mulgrew. “We wanted to make sure they had a chance to hear directly from a broad range of candidates on issues of importance to us so they can make an informed decision at the ballot box in June.”
A panel of UFT members, different for each town hall, asked questions of each of the three candidates featured in that forum.
The final UFT mayoral town hall on April 7 included four of those candidates: Eric Adams, the Brooklyn borough president; Scott Stringer, the city comptroller; Maya Wiley, a former counsel to Mayor de Blasio; and entrepreneur and former presidential candidate Andrew Yang.
That event took place before a small audience of UFT members, masked and in socially distanced seating, at Shanker Hall at UFT headquarters in Manhattan, while scores more viewed the discussion as it was live-streamed on Vimeo. The town hall was co-moderated by UFT Brooklyn Borough Representative Elizabeth Perez and UFT Queens Political Action Coordinator Dermot Smyth.
Mulgrew asked the candidates member-submitted questions on topics including gifted-and-talented programs, specialized high school admissions, school nurses, charter schools, affordable housing and education spending priorities.
Smyth said the four candidates invited to the final mayoral town hall were selected based on a number of factors: a UFT survey of members after each forum that gauged member interest in the candidates; the candidate’s position on education issues; and the viability of the candidate, including strength on the campaign trail and fundraising ability.
UFT delegates will vote on an endorsement before the June 22 primary.