Nov. 9, 2016

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UUPer Wallace easily wins WNY state Assembly seat

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Even as a political newcomer and freshman member of the New York State Assembly, Buffalo Center Chapter member Monica Wallace knows this is a particularly crucial time to take state office.

“I’m now in a position to ensure that we can hold firm to some of the protections we’ve come to enjoy in the last two decades, if the federal government peels some of them away,” said Wallace, above, with, from left, Buffalo Center Chapter President Tom Tucker, Buffalo State Chapter President Rich Stempniak, and Buff State Chapter member Fred Floss. She easily defeated her Republican opponent, Russell Sugg, in the race for the 143rd District seat Nov. 8.

Wallace, 48, a lecturer at the University at Buffalo Law School, handily won the Democratic primary in September. She thanked UUP President Fred Kowal for strongly backing her, and she credited his support with helping her win critical endorsements from NYSUT and several labor and progressive organizations.

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UUP and NYSUT members, above, who welcomed Wallace, center, at Buffalo's Labor Day parade in September, turned out in force to help her during her campaign.

“UUP and NYSUT recognized a strong candidate in Monica Wallace, and we are very glad that we will also have another strong advocate for SUNY in the Assembly,” Kowal said. “Public education is an essential right, and affordable public higher education is a gateway to a secure future for New Yorkers.”

“We couldn’t be happier for Monica,” added Buffalo Center Chapter President Tom Tucker. “Buffalo area UUP members worked hard to help her win and we’re excited about working with her as an Assembly member.”

Wallace spoke as she relished her decisive victory and the country absorbed the possibility of unprecedented changes with Republican Donald Trump as president. She cited the right of workers to organize, gender equality and protection for disabled people as issues that may require additional safeguards at the state level.

Wallace’s advocacy for public schools and public higher education may also prove to be especially important at the state level, given that Trump has questioned whether there is even a continued need for the U.S. Department of Education.

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