The UFT is focusing its get-out-the-vote efforts for the Nov. 8 election on securing a full term for Gov. Kathy Hochul.
In the year since she became governor, she has increased Albany’s investment in public schools by $1.6 billion and then signed landmark legislation to reduce class sizes in New York City.
“Gov. Hochul has been the best advocate for New York City students and educators in a generation,” UFT President Michael Mulgrew said when the governor dropped by the Oct. 12 Delegate Assembly.
Hochul is being challenged in her bid for a four-year term by Lee Zeldin, a Long Island congressman. Zeldin was among the 139 GOP House members who voted against certifying the 2020 Electoral College results after supporters of Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Zeldin stirred further controversy in June when he declared that the U.S. Supreme Court made “the right decision” in overturning its 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling.
During primaries in June and August, the UFT helped Hochul and 35 of the union’s 36 endorsed candidates in legislative races gain the Democratic nomination.
For the two weeks leading up to the election, UFT members — both in-service and retired — staffed in-person phone banks at UFT headquarters.
The UFT is also assisting its national parent, the American Federation of Teachers, in getting out the vote in key battleground states. Those efforts included door-knocking and phone-banking on behalf of John Fetterman for a U.S. Senate seat in Pennsylvania and Josh Shapiro in his run for governor of that state. The UFT sent buses with both in-service and retired members from its headquarters in lower Manhattan to Philadelphia on Oct. 22 and Oct. 29 as part of its door-to-door campaign for the two pro-union nominees. They met up with other union members who drove to the city in their own vehicles.
The UFT and Retired Teachers Chapter members in Florida are also heavily involved in several key races in that state. Mulgrew hosted an Oct. 15 reception for Karla Hernandes-Mats, who is running for lieutenant governor on a ticket with Charlie Crist, the Democratic nominee who is trying to unseat Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Hernandes-Mats is president of United Teachers of Dade and an AFT vice president. The UFT is also supporting Congresswoman Val Demings for U.S. senator in Florida.