2010-10-06 / Features

Avella Gets Key Teachers Union Endorsement

BY JOHN TOSCANO

Avella receiving UFT endorsement. Avella receiving UFT endorsement. Former City Councilmember Tony Avella, who is engaged in a tough battle against veteran state Senator Frank Padavan, received welcome support for his election bid yesterday when the powerful United Federation of Teachers endorsed his candidacy.

Announcing the endorsement on the steps of Queens Borough Hall in Kew Gardens, UFT President Michael Mulgrew hinted at its importance by quipping, “This is by far the most elected officials I have ever seen show up to one of our endorsements. We are thrilled to stand here today and endorse Tony Avella for New York state senate. Tony is the fresh voice of proven reform and integrity that Albany and the people of this district and the state of New York need.”

The 11th senate district, covering Northeast Queens, has been represented by Padavan, a Republican–Conservative for almost 40 consecutive years. Two years ago, he won by approximately 500 votes against Councilmember James Gennaro.

Avella, accepting the endorsement, stated: “I want to thank President Mulgrew and all the members of the UFT for supporting me in this election. Today’s announcement reinforces what I have been saying throughout the campaign: the more that people and institutions see the two sides of Frank Padavan, the more they shift over to our side.”

Avella added, “Whether it was voting against legislation that helped to secure $700 million in ‘Race to the Top’ federal funding for our schools or voting against all of the education funding during the two past state budgets, Frank Padavan has shown that he will say one thing in this community and then do another thing in Albany.”

Sources close to Avella said that he and his campaign team consider the endorsement as a major development in his campaign.

Avella anticipates that the endorsement will bring a small army of UFT campaign volunteers to make telephone calls to push his candidacy and then work to get his voters to the polls on Election Day, November 2.

Highlighting the importance of the endorsement to Avella and Queens Democrats was the presence of Congressmember Joseph Crowley, who heads the borough Democrats at the announcement.

Crowley stated, “I think the amount of elected officials in attendance here today speaks volumes as to what Tony has done for this city and can do for this state. Tony understands that the education system needs to listen to teachers and parents and I am certain that he will work hard as state senator to ensure that it will.”

Also in attendance for the endorsement announcement were state Senator Toby Ann Stavisky and Joseph P. Addabbo, Assemblymembers Michael Gianaris, David Weprin, Anne Carrozza, Mike Miller and Rory Lancman and City Councilmembers David Weprin, Elizabeth Crowley, Jimmy Van Bramer and Karen Koslowitz and Aravella Simots who is running for the assembly seat in the 36th District.

Padavan, meanwhile, picked up a pair of endorsements, one from the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York, the other from the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local 16.

In accepting the endorsements, Padavan said, “Revitalizing our economy, creating jobs and putting New York on the right track are my top priorities for the present and future of our city and state.” He said he was proud to have both endorsements because they add to the growing coalition of unions and organizations supporting him.

On another front, Vince Tabone, a Republican–Conservative running against Ed Braunstein, a Democrat, for the 20th Assembly District seat in Bayside, announced the endorsement of the National Federation of Independent Business, a coalition of small business owners.

Accepting the nod from “the leading advocate for small business” in New York state, Tabone stated: “Small businesses remain the backbone of our economy and the primary source of private sector jobs for our state. I am proud to have the NFIB endorsement and support.”

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