THANKS — U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand thanks PEF Reg. 8
Coordinator Tom Comanzo and PAC Chair Herb Hennings in February for the
union’s strong support in her 2008 re-election to Congress. She was later
appointed to fill the vacant Senate seat.
— Photo by Richard Dillard
PEF gives Gillibrand early boost for U.S. Senate race
PEF-endorsed candidates win special elections
PEF endorsed two
candidates to fill mid-term vacancies in the state Assembly and both of them won
their special elections, held June 2 in the Bronx.
Democrats Vanessa Gibson, 30, and Marcos A. Crespo, 28, were elected to
represent the 77th and 85th Assembly Districts, respectively.
The 77th AD was previously represented by Democrat Ruben Diaz Jr, who resigned
to become the Bronx burough president. Aurelia Greene, also a Democrat, had
represented AD 85 until she resigned to become the deputy burough president for
Gibson and Crespo will serve the remainder of the unexpired two-year terms that
end in 2010.
— Sherry Halbrook
WELCOME — PEF President Ken Brynien welcomes U.S. Sec. of Labor Hilda L. Solis
to the podium at the American Federation of Teachers Convention held in
Washington, in June.
– Photo by Michael Campbell
By SHERRY HALBROOK
Although her U.S. Senate seat isn’t up for election until November 2010, New
York’s junior senator, Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand is lining up support now, and
the PEF Executive Board gave her the union’s endorsement when it met in Albany
“PEF has had a long-standing relationship with Sen.Gillibrand,” said PEF
President Ken Brynien. “She has proven herself as an advocate for working
families and has remained supportive of public employees.
“The PEF leadership based its decision on her record of fighting for jobs,
especially during the economic downturn. We are pleased to be the first
statewide union to support her as she seeks election to the Senate,” Brynien
With the Senate in session, Gillibrand spoke to the board members by phone,
thanking them for their support and pledging to continue to advocate for workers
and their families.
“I’m so grateful and excited,” Gillibrand said. “Your endorsement will make a
huge difference in taking a Senate seat from the Republicans. Early support is
very important. Thank you for your early commitment.”
Many PEF members in Regions 7, 8 and 9 were strong supporters and active
campaigners for Gillibrand in 2006 and again in 2008 when she ran successfully
in the sprawling 22nd Congressional District, historically a Republican
Gillibrand had just begun her second term in Congress when Gov. David Paterson
appointed her to fill the Senate seat vacated by Hillary Clinton when she was
confirmed as U.S. secretary of state.
PEF Vice Presidents Joe Fox and Pat Baker, who lead the union’s political action
committee strongly urged the early endorsement.
Fox cited Gillibrand’s efforts to steer more than $1.3 million in stimulus
funding to medical research facilities, such as Roswell Park Cancer Institute,
in western New York.
Currently, Gillibrand is working with the United Steelworkers to get the
International Trade Commission to help employees in the tire manufacturing
industry in western New York whose jobs are jeopardized by a huge influx of
tires from China.
Baker praised Gillibrand – a mother with two young children – for her support
and advocacy for families, and for troops and veterans.