Buffalo Teachers Federation endorses Howie Hawkins for governor

Buffalo Teachers Federation endorses Howie Hawkins for governor

Spectrum News: October 4, 2018


BTF endorses Howie Hawkins for governor, recommends Cuomo for WFP line

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The relationship between the Buffalo Teachers Federation and Governor Andrew  Cuomo hasn't exactly healed.

"I think that there's still resentment towards the governor because of his actions on the APPR testing, student testing," said BTF President Phil Rumore.

For the second consecutive election, the union has endorsed someone other than Cuomo. In 2014, it was Working Families Party candidate Zephyr Teachout. 

This year, the union has endorsed Howie Hawkins from the Green Party.

"Howie Hawkins actually wrote for our endorsement and came in and did an interview and when the council of delegates got to vote, they decided that they'd voted overwhelmingly," Rumore said. "Look it, we're going to endorse him. The governor did ask for our endorsement, he did."

BTF is one of the founding organizations of the Working Families Party and its president is on the executive committee.

Yet Rumore sent a letter to the WFP ahead of Wednesday night's vote, recommending it nominate Andrew Cuomo as its candidate.

"It's not like we're endorsing everything that he's done. What we're doing is just saying hey, we're going to use your name to make sure we keep our line," he said.

The party needs 50,000 votes for governor to maintain its line on the ballot. Rumore believes Cuomo is more likely to bring those votes than the original  designee, Cynthia Nixon, who indicated she didn't want to continue campaigning after she and her running mate Jumaane Williams lost the Democratic primary.

"They would've run but obviously they wouldn't have had the fire in their belly like they did in the Democratic primary," Rumore said.

Asked about whether he plans to accept a nomination from a party that spurned him earlier this year, Cuomo said he tries to look at the greater good. He said he'll speak with the WFP over the next few days.

"There have been no conversations with them thus far so I don't have any insight for you," he said.

Rumore said while BTF isn't enthusiastically backing Cuomo, not all Working Families Party members share their opinion.

"There are a lot of people that support the governor and are endorsing him in the general election. Many of the unions that have had very good contracts with him, some of the environmental groups feel that he's done some important things," he said.

The party has given the governor until Friday to decide.

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