Bay Ridge

Justin Brannan lands major endorsement from the United Federation of Teachers

August 28, 2017 By John Alexander Brooklyn Daily Eagle
City Council candidate Justin Brannan receives endorsement from the UFT. Eagle photo by John Alexander

Justin Brannan has made the grade with the United Federation of Teachers (UFT). The District 43 (Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights-Bensonhurst) City Council candidate announced Monday that he has landed a key endorsement from the UFT in the race for outgoing Councilmember Vincent Gentile’s seat in Southwest Brooklyn.

This adds another powerful union to Brannan’s labor support, alongside Teamsters Joint Council 16, Professional Staff Congress and others. The UFT is the sole bargaining agent for most non-supervisory NYC public school teachers, with approximately 200,000 members, according to the group. 

“As a community activist, Justin Brannan is no stranger to city government and understands how the system works,” said UFT President Michael Mulgrew. “On the Council, he will serve as a voice for working families and New York City public schools,”

Brannan said he was honored to receive the endorsement from the UFT.

“I’ve always believed education to be the great equalizer. My mom’s a teacher, my wife’s a teacher, so I know that a free, high-quality education is the key to building a strong middle class, lifting families out of poverty and helping new arrivals succeed in our community,” said Brannan.

He said it was vital and more important now than ever to defend the public school system. “I will stand up against any privatization attempts,” said Brannan.  “Moreover, I will continue to push the Department of Education to focus on teaching, not just testing, more arts in schools and a more comprehensive approach to students with special needs.”

The UFT is NYC’s most prominent union for teacher’s paraprofessionals, school secretaries and other professional staff in the city’s public school system, the group stated. Its political branch, UFT Political Action Department, emphasizes relationships with the community and supports candidates and policies that strengthen public education.

Brannan has campaigned on the promise of building a new school in the district during his term to help diminish overcrowding. During his time with the Department of Education, Brannan worked on the Pre-K for All initiative. He is also an advocate for Career and Technical Education and the NYC Community Schools Initiative. Brannan and his wife Leigh own The Art Room, a fine arts school for children in Bay Ridge.

Brannan has also received endorsements from state Assemblymember Peter Abbate, Public Advocate Letitia James and Gentile, for whom Brannan worked as chief of staff.

Brannan is running against fellow Democrats Kevin Peter Carroll, Vincent Chirico, Rev. Khader El-Yateem and Nancy Tong in the Sept. 12 primary. Gentile, who has served on the City Council since 2003, is prohibited from running for re-election due to the city’s term-limits law.

There is also a Republican primary on Sept. 12. The candidates are Bob Capano, Liam McCabe, Lucretia Regina-Potter and John Quaglione.

The general election will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 7.