The UFT, through its state affiliate NYSUT, has endorsed Public Advocate Letitia “Tish” James for state attorney general in New York’s Democratic Primary election on Thursday, Sept. 13.
“She has been a steadfast ally during her time in the City Council and as public advocate,” said UFT President Michael Mulgrew. “She has shown herself to be an independent, strong advocate for public schools and the working people of New York City. That’s exactly what we need.”
The primary election is being held on a Thursday this year because the second Tuesday of September is Sept. 11.
James is running to succeed incumbent Barbara Underwood, who was chosen by the state Legislature to finish the term of Eric Schneiderman, the former attorney general who resigned in May in the wake of sexual assault allegations.
UFT Political Director Paul Egan pointed to James’ staunch support for free lunch for all New York City public school students, a key UFT priority, as well as her long and productive relationship with the union. “We’ve done good things with her, and we hope to continue that relationship with her in the attorney general’s office,” Egan said.
The UFT has also endorsed incumbent Thomas DiNapoli for state comptroller, as well as numerous candidates for federal and state legislative offices [see chart].
In a competitive primary race in New York Assembly District 39, which covers parts of Corona, Elmhurst and Jackson Heights in Queens, the union is supporting incumbent Aridia Espinal. Espinal worked in the office of former state Assemblyman Francisco Moya and was elected to succeed him in a special election in April after Moya was elected to the New York City Council.
Egan said Espinal was “a great friend” during her time in Moya’s office and, after succeeding him, she was “particularly helpful” in the UFT’s fight for legislation to sever the mandatory link between students’ state test scores and teacher evaluations. That state bill, which did not pass in the State Senate, was a critical factor in endorsements this year.