Sunday, March 4, 2018

NY BATs Applaud Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's Ban On PAC Donations by NY BATs

For Immediate Release: Feb. 28, 2018

The largest state chapter of the Badass Teachers Association, NY BATs is composed of over 3,600 member educators, parents and public education advocates. Since 2014, we have informed diverse communities across the state about harmful school privatization and standardization policies.

Today we applaud Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s recent announcement that she will be banning corporate PAC donations from her campaign. Because this development came on the day of the Parkland tragedy, it was all but lost in the news cycle. See the Senator’s video here.

We hope this will set an example for all of Members of Congress as well as state and local legislators and candidates in New York and beyond. Senator Gillibrand’s statement calls out the corrosive effect of concentrated wealth in elections, especially after the awful Citizens United ruling, and says herself this is "just a first step" towards an eventual ban on "the corporate money and dark money that is flowing into politics”.

NY BAT members hold many differing opinions on Senator Gillibrand’s record, including her actions and inactions, past and present, but as a diverse grassroots coalition of politically active teachers, administrators and parents, we all agree this announcement is positive progress and long overdue.

In recent years, New York state has seen targeted PAC donations tip the balance of power in its legislature, seating a Republican majority in the State Senate thanks in large measure to charter school and real estate PACs. The breakaway Independent Democratic Conference (IDC) also partakes, as well as Governor Cuomo, with an astounding 90% of his direct campaign donations exceeding $1,000.

Senator Gillibrand’s move is a welcome shift as growing contingents within the Democratic Party want a national ban on corporate donations in order to help win back House, Senate and state legislature seats. But NY BATs also urge all Republicans, Independents and other candidates to reject corporate PAC donations and embrace small-donor campaigns that level the playing field for everyday people.

So signed, NY BATS

NY BATs are vocal members of our communities working to inform state and local policymakers on the in-classroom consequences of Albany’s education policies. Allied with parent groups, we foster public engagement in education and electoral debates via a resolved grassroots presence.

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