Zephyr Teachout’s stunning 35% of the vote and Tim Wu’s 40% in yesterday’s primary election affirms the political power and clout of the new Public Employees Federation under the leadership of the Kent/Garcia administration. The overwhelming support in the heart of New York’s capital for the Teachout/Wu candidacy cannot be ignored.
The spirited Teachout/Wu campaign resonated with public sector employees and their families who used the power of the vote to speak out against the attacks on public workers and the services they provide. This campaign believed in what we as a union, bring to the State of New York and highlighted the need for respect for public services while speaking out against the negative impact of privatization and diminishment of vital state services. We in turn showed that in a short period of time, our collective voices can and will be heard. Zephyr Teachout won over 20 of the state’s 62 counties. Very few, including the governor, media analysts and the political machine, thought this was possible. PEF leaders and members who worked tirelessly the past few weeks to support PEF endorsed candidates made a huge impact indeed. And I thank you for that. Our strength has always been and will continue to be our ability to support our candidates. People united for a purpose can overcome any amount of money and our elected officials know we count.
The Kent/Garcia administration will continue to do what it has done during our two year tenure in office – work zealously to represent the best interests of all PEF members. As we move towards the contract negotiating table, PEF will now be viewed as a real player to be reckoned with.
Given the impact of the Teachout/Wu campaign, Governor Cuomo should understand a little better, the feeling of an uncertain future as so many PEF members have felt during his tenure. We hope this learning moment for the Governor will result in a true partnership with us, his professional workforce, and a more humanistic approach to the services we provide to the citizens of New York State.
Susan M. Kent