Memo To:   All Buffalo Teachers

From:         Philip Rumore, President, BTF

Date:          October 22, 2020


Subject:     PAC 2020

Many have said that this may be the most important election of our lifetime!

On or before November 3, 2020, every registered voter will have the opportunity to vote for the next President and Vice President of the United States as well as many state and local offices. It is imperative that as educators, we use our collective voice to elect public officials that are supportive of our views and concerns regarding the well-being of all citizens and that are supportive of public education! We, our families and friends, must vote with the knowledge that the well-being of our country is at stake!

This year, there are several safe ways to vote in the November General Election.

  • You may request an absentee ballot through 11:59 pm on October 27, 2020. Your absentee ballot must be postmarked no later than November 3, 2020. To request an absentee ballot, Click Here.
  • You may vote at one of the thirty-seven (37) early voting sites from October 24, 2020 – November 1, 2020. To view the locations and hours of the early voting sites, Click Here.
  • You may vote on Election Day, November 3, 2020 at any of the three hundred thirteen (313) polling sites from 6:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
  • You also can hand deliver your ballot to the Erie County Board of Elections – 134 W. Eagle St, Buffalo 14202.

Please urge your family and friends to exercise their right to vote!


The BTF Executive Committee & Council of Delegates have endorsed the following:


JOE BIDEN and KAMALA HARRIS - United States President and Vice President
Joe Biden is a strong supporter of public education. Joe Biden will replace Betsy DeVos with a Secretary of Education that has knowledge of public education and doesn’t support private school vouchers. Joe Biden will support pay raises for educators and work to reduce student loan debt. Kamala Harris has proposed increasing Title 1 funding to make sure every student has access to a nurse and social worker. Biden and Harris will fund, not starve, public education.


Growing up in a working class family, Joe values unions and will work to support America’s middle class families. Supporting the America Cares Act, Biden and Harris will make sure health coverage is available for all Americans and will ensure that having pre-existing conditions will not prevent you from obtaining health care coverage.


Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will work with medical professionals to stop the spread of the Coronavirus by developing a national plan of action. They will listen to scientists and health care officials and understand that we must contain the pandemic before we can fully open the economy as well as schools and colleges.


NATE McMURRAY – Congressional District 27
Nate McMurray is a strong advocate for real public schools, not charter schools. He stated that all of us have a duty to ensure that public education is of the highest quality and accessible to all. He believes that community and educator-controlled public education is the way to ensure that we have more equitable results. Nate’s opponent was a member of the Buffalo School Board and was a proponent of charter schools.

Nate stated that teachers across the country are intensely dedicated and motivated and there is much that can be done with the national budget to support them. Students need additional resources when it comes to technology, vocational training and personal economic preparedness. Nate wants government to keep its promises to the children in our communities and help prepare them for the real world.


Schools in WNY are finding it more and more difficult to balance their budget. Nate wants to ensure that there is a “maintenance of effort” provision that prevents the state or local governments from reducing their share of school funding.


As a strong supporter of organized labor, Nate supports the rights of all workers to unionize and collectively bargain. If elected, he will continue to voice the needs of labor in Congress.


Nate will advocate for transparency in government and work to reform campaign finance. He has pledged not to take donations from corporate PACs and will dedicate his time in office to maximize justice for all, rather than just the wealthy. He understands that the well-being of our region lies in working people, not just a rich few.


TRACY MITRANO - Congressional District 23
As a teacher and a cyber-security expert, Tracy Mitrano is seeking office to represent the residents of Congressional District 23. The incumbent has been in office for ten years and supported Donald Trump in 2016.


If elected, Tracy vows to expand Universal Pre-K and strengthen our public schools by increasing federal funds. Tracy states that teachers should be paid commensurate with their critical importance to our society.
Tracy Mitrano will make sure that all Americans can have access to affordable health care and prescriptions. She also wants to revamp the student loan program in order to reduce the long-term debt that many students are facing.


JOHN MANNION - New York State Senate District 50
John Mannion has been the local union president for the West Genesee Teachers’ Association for the past eight years. As president of a four hundred-person organization, he fought to ensure that his members’ rights were protected. If elected, John will advocate for public education and push to lower class sizes. He would like to expand the pathways to graduation and the return of trades to our public schools.


John Mannion will oppose the expansion of charter schools and is against having different credential criteria for charter school teachers. He will introduce legislation preventing charter schools from removing “selected” students and sending them back to Buffalo Public Schools.


SEAN RYAN – New York State Senate District 60
As a New York State Assembly member for nine years, Sean Ryan has fought for increased funding for our public schools to keep students healthy and engaged whether they are learning in person or online. As the son of a teacher, Sean was raised to value a strong education. Sean has consistently supported the causes important to public school education.


Last fall, Sean Ryan declared his candidacy for the 60th NYS Senate District seat that will be vacated in December. If elected as a NYS Senator, Sean will work to bring additional funding to our area and for our public schools. Sean vows and has demonstrated that he will put our families first and never bow to the special interests.


JACQUI BERGER – New York Senate District 61
Jacqui Berger is currently the Deputy Supervisor and a Councilmember for the Town of Amherst. During her career, Jacqui has served as a teacher, labor leader, advocate and activist. She is passionate about ensuring that children, families, women and people with disabilities have a voice in the communities in which they live.

As a NYSUT member (UUP), Jacqui is a strong supporter of public schools. She continually advocates to fully fund public education including higher education, fully funding foundation aid and freezing and rolling back the number of charter schools. Jacqui wants public school monies to be used for district schools. Charter schools should be funded by the state.

In order to prevent occurrences of violence in our schools, Jacqui stated that schools should be required by law to develop and implement workplace violence prevention programs. She advocates for programs to be developed that address the emotional and behavioral concerns of students. She is recommending that a task force that is made up of administrators, teachers, social workers and psychologists be formed to address school violence issues.


Jacqui also supports increasing NYS revenue by raising the tax rate on ultra-millionaires and billionaires to address budget shortfalls and the chronic underfunding of education.

WILLIAM CONRAD – New York Assembly District 140
William Conrad is a twenty-year Social Studies teacher in the Ken-Ton School District and also a Town of Tonawanda Councilmember. As a NYSUT member, William will advocate for public school funding. He will also fight for an adequate number of mental health professionals, counselors, social workers and school psychologists with a caseload small enough to allow them to help students that need assistance.


As a public school educator, William is supportive of many of our positions. He is against eliminating the Triborough Amendment of the Taylor Law and favors eliminating the current Receivership Law, APPR and the current funding stream for charter schools.


William also supports increasing NYS revenue by raising the tax rate on ultra-millionaires and billionaires.

PATRICK BURKE – New York Assembly District 141
As a two-year NYS Assembly Member incumbent, Patrick Burke has focused on protecting the health and well-being of children. Pat wants New York State to pay its fair share to schools and stop the attacks on public education. He will introduce and support legislation requiring Districts to provide suspended students with “intervention” services by a school counselor, school social worker, school psychologist or an attendance teacher in order to determine the source of the disruptive behavior. Pat will also introduce and support legislation to limit the caseload of school counselors, social workers, etc.


Pat Burke will submit legislation establishing a separate funding stream for charter schools so that they don’t drain money from our schools and will submit legislation limiting the costs and number of charter schools within a single district to 10% of the district budget. He will also introduce legislation preventing charter schools from removing students and sending them back to Buffalo Public Schools.

MONICA WALLACE – New York Assembly District 143
Monica Wallace is a lawyer and a four-year incumbent of the NYS Assembly. During her tenure as an elected official, Monica has been a strong supporter of public education. Being the first person in her family to attend college, Monica continually works to keep our public schools and universities strong in order to provide educational opportunities for all New York residents.


Monica supports teacher developed and supported restorative justice practices as well as more funding for social workers and community resources to address underlying poverty issues that affect our students. She will advocate for requiring districts to provide suspended students with intervention services to ensure that disruptive actions are addressed.


Monica fought against a proposal to open a charter school in her district last year and opposed the proposition to reduce credentials for charter school teachers.

KAREN McMAHON – New York Assembly District 146
As a two-year incumbent, Karen McMahon strives to represent the values of her community in the New York State Assembly. She continually advocates for increased funding for public school education and the expansion of accessible, affordable and quality higher education.


In order to support students, Karen states that mental health interventions are critical. Funding additional school counselors and social workers will help students navigate the issues they face and give them the tools they need to succeed.


Karen McMahon stated that the Taylor Law and the Triborough Amendment are the bedrock foundation of public employment in New York State. She will oppose efforts to undermine the balance provided by the current laws.

JON RIVERA – New York Assembly District 149
Jon Rivera is running for the NYS Assembly to ensure that WNY’s voice is heard in Albany, delivering for working people and providing for a welcoming and inclusive community. Jon states that funding for public schools continues to be inadequate. He will fight to make sure BPS receives its fair share of state aid.


If elected, Jon will advocate for all schools to have a safety plan in place that protects the students as well as the employees of the school. School safety is a not just an educational issue, it is also a community problem. Jon will promote the use of wraparound services such as interventions by school counselors, school social workers and psychologists to play a critical role in assisting the child and his/her family.


Jon stated that he is against efforts to amend the Triborough Amendment of the Taylor Law. He sees efforts to amend the law as a way to take rights away from workers. He will not support amending the law to strip workers of their rights.


JUDGE AMY MARTOCHE – New York State Supreme Court

The Honorable Judge Martoche has received the following Bar Association ratings and the Buffalo Teachers Federation’s endorsement.

Bar Association of Erie County: Well Qualified
Minority Bar Association of WNY: Superior
Women’s Bar Association: Outstanding

We urge you to vote for the BTF endorsed candidates. Remember, BTF is one of the founders of the Working Families Party. It is critical that you vote for our candidates on the Working Families line.