Oct. 1, 2014

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UUP backs Woolf at press conference

uupdate 10-1-14

UUP supports candidates that support higher education, which is why union President Fred Kowal appeared at an Oct. 1 press conference for Congressional candidate Aaron Woolf.

“Millions of dollars in state aid have been cut from SUNY since 2010, and the result has been catastrophic. Classes have been cut, courses and student services have been downsized, and tuition is on the rise,” Kowal said at the afternoon event at Woolf’s Glens Falls campaign headquarters. “We need a candidate like Aaron in Congress to fight for these values, especially in a time when federal awards such as Pell Grants are shrinking, tuition rates are escalating, and students are plunging deeper into debt.”

More than 20 people attended the press conference, where Woolf called for Congressional action to make college more affordable. Woolf, a NYSUT-endorsed Democrat running for the 21st Congressional District seat, vowed to make student loan debt one of his “highest priorities.”

“As the cost of college student loan debt rises, it’s appropriate that the government increases its efforts to help our citizens afford college,” Woolf said, as photographers from the Glens Falls Post Star and The Chronicel newspapers snapped pictures and reporters scribbled notes.

An award-winning documentary filmmaker, Woolf said he supports doubling the maximum Pell Grant award, and said he will fight for passage of the Know Before You Owe Private Student Loan Act and the Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act. Senate Republicans, which blocked the Loan Refinancing bill earlier this year, stopped Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren from bringing the bill to the floor in September.

Three state-operated SUNY schools—Potsdam, Canton and Plattsburgh—are located in the 21st Congressional District, as are several community colleges and private schools, such as Clarkson College and St. Lawrence University.

UUP activism

Kowal’s appearance at Woolf’s press conference is another example of union activism for labor-backed candidates in November’s election.

On Sept. 27, Secretary Eileen Landy, Oneonta Chapter member Kyle Britton, center, and Albany Chapter member Barry Trachtenberg—with his nine-week-old baby in tow—joined members from the Service Employees International Union as they volunteered to carry campaign literature for Democratic State Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk in Schenectady County.

Earlier in the month, Landy and VPA Jamie Dangler, right, staffed a phone bank for Tkaczyk at AFL-CIO headquarters in Albany, along with union colleagues from PEF, SEIU, United Food & Commercial Workers Local 1, and United Association Local 7.

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