BEHIND THE LEGISLATIVE SCENE — (L-R) Musa Moore, Ryan
Delgado, Brian Curran, John Murphy, Danielle Little-Thomson. Not shown,
Peggy Moore-Carter. — Photo by Deborah A. Miles
Legislative department keeps PEF in political
By DEBORAH A. MILES
PEF achieved some very important legislative gains during the last two
years, and a good part of these victories is due to the efforts of PEF’s
It’s a small staff of six who act as the voice for PEF members in the
political arena. They work with the state Legislature and Congress to help
lawmakers understand how proposals or budget items may affect union members.
“Almost all of our members are public employees. This department serves
these members by helping to identify issues that may directly affect their
jobs,” said Brian Curran, legislative director and counsel.
“We articulate the union’s position with decisionmakers to advance the
interests of our members.”
The department’s role is to monitor the daily activities in the legislative
process and keep a keen watch on the state budget.
“If we identify an issue that would positively or negatively affect our
members, the issue is discussed internally with PEF leaders until a position
is formed,” Curran said. “Then, the department advocates on behalf of the
union to state legislators, members of Congress and other officials.”
The staff includes Danielle Little-Thomson, legislative assistant; John
Murphy, Ryan Delgado and Musa Moore, political organizers/lobbyists; and
Peggy Moore-Carter, a part-time administrative support assistant.
They work under the direction of PEF President Ken Brynien and coordinate
with statewide Political Action Committee (PAC) Chair Joe Fox and Co-chair
Pat Baker, both PEF vice-presidents.
Curran said his staff is well versed in the legislative and political
process and is flexible.
“It’s not a nine-to-five job. We often work evenings or weekends,” Curran
said. “There is also a lot of variety. One day we may be reading bills and
the next organizing members to contact their legislators about our
positions. Wherever the need is, we rise to the occasion.”
Making a difference
PEF’s Go Public campaign is just one example of how this department, in
conjunction with other PEF departments, got results. Three of the four bills
are signed into law. The cost-benefit analysis bill is the last one and
still a priority. (Last year, the bill passed both houses but was vetoed by
Gov. George Pataki.)
“With this campaign, there was substantial success in getting several of our
proposals adopted, at least in part, and in some cases entirely,” Curran
said. “The governor’s office indicated a willingness to talk with PEF about
a modified version of the cost-benefit analysis bill. We are waiting for the
governor’s office to tell us what he is willing to commit to and for
The department supported PEF’s efforts to get workplace safety bills passed.
“These were major bills to be adopted,” Curran said. “They should pay some
long-term dividends in improving safety in the workplace.”
The department was also instrumental in the defensive fight around the
Berger Commission’s proposal to privatize the State University of NY (SUNY)
Hospital in Syracuse.
“The union was successful in altering that proposal. By persuading all the
parties involved in taking a different approach, we came up with a solution
that will preserve all our members’ rights while meeting some of the goals
of the Berger Commission,” Curran said.
Be active, visible
What would give PEF more political power? According to Curran, the answer is
“The single greatest thing to improve PEF’s effectiveness is to get more
members to be active and visible as volunteers in political campaigns at the
local level,” Curran said.
“Nothing is as powerful to a politician as knowing there are folks in their
home district who are a part of your group.”
BACK TO HOME PAGE