We have 4 fine candidates running for the NY Senate and Assembly, all of whom were kind enough to speak with me on the phone or at one of their debates. The key issue that concerns me in the Senate race is that Adam Haber appears to be under the control of the state teacher union, and that could adversely affect future school budgets and key aspects relating to quality of education. I have received seven mailings in support of Adam Haber and/or attacking his opponent Elaine Phillips, but what is bizarre about all seven mailings is that they were all completely paid for by a “fund” controlled by our teacher unions. There are some key reforms we need in Albany, such as reform of the Triborough Amendment of the Taylor Law which continues salary increases of 3-4% even after a contract expires. This gives teacher unions an unfair negotiating advantage over the board representing the community’s taxpayers and students. We also need to consider paying teachers at least in part based on their performance rather than automatic salary increases of 3-4%, and we need to give young teachers who do a very good job, rather than an older teacher doing a poor job, a chance of keeping his/her job when layoffs occur rather than favor the poorly performing teacher with more years on the job. While I personally like both candidates, I strongly recommend a vote for Elaine Phillips as the better candidate to keep our school taxes lower and our educational quality higher.
Regarding the Assembly, I very much like and respect Tony D’Urso, but in my view Matt Varvaro is the better qualified candidate and he also is less controlled by our powerful teacher unions. Matt is a highly intelligent recent graduate of Schreiber HS and I believe he is very interested in doing what’s right for the entire community, dealing with the unions in a fair and equitable manner. Elaine Phillips & Matt Varvaro are the state legislative candidates I believe will best and most fairly serve our community, our taxpayers and our students.
Frank J. Russo, Jr.