PRESS RELEASE from American Federation of Teachers
For Immediate Release
October 3, 2007
Chuck Porcari

American Federation of Teachers Endorses Hillary Clinton
1.4 million-member union cites proven abilities, bold plans

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Acting on behalf of its more than 1.4 million members, the executive council of the American Federation of Teachers today endorsed Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination for president, citing her proven ability to advance our nation’s key priorities, and her bold plans for a stronger America.

“Our members have told us that they want a leader they can trust to strengthen public education, increase access to healthcare, promote commonsense economic priorities and secure America’s place in the world,” said AFT President Edward J. McElroy. “Hillary Clinton is that leader.”

Clinton thanked the AFT executive council for the union’s endorsement and said that, as president, she will be “committed to improving and strengthening our public schools, providing support for teachers, and ensuring our education system is able to meet the needs of the global economy and that we have commonsense laws that make that possible.”

Clinton added that she looks forward to working with the AFT to ensure that all Americans have affordable, quality health insurance; to protect the right of workers to organize and bargain collectively; and to strengthen pension systems and retirement security.

The vote of the 41-member AFT executive council capped a deliberative seven-month process designed to solicit from membership their issues of concern and the candidate they believed would best address those concerns. As part of that effort, the AFT created the “You Decide 2008” page on its Web site, which to date has received more than 50,000 individual visits. AFT leadership also solicited input through meetings at the local level, regional caucuses and individual member outreach.

The AFT invited all the major presidential candidates to meet with its executive council. The seven major Democratic candidates accepted the invitation and individually participated in an extensive question-and-answer session with the council, and with rank-and-file members in attendance. All of the announced candidates also were asked to respond to an AFT candidate questionnaire.

Each of the major Republican candidates also was invited to participate, but all either declined or did not respond to the invitation.

“The candidates we met with have an impressive depth of experience and commitment to strengthening America,” McElroy said. “With so many strong candidates focused on the needs of America’s working families, it was really an embarrassment of riches. In the end, our members and leaders determined that Hillary Clinton is the strongest leader to advance these causes.”

Clinton said that the AFT’s “support and leadership will be invaluable to the success of my campaign.”

She also praised McElroy for his leadership, saying, “For over 40 years, Ed has been a proud trade unionist and champion for teachers, students and the basic ideal that all children have the right to a good education.”

The AFT endorsement activates the union’s considerable member education and political mobilization program on behalf of the endorsed candidate. The AFT immediately will put in motion a grass-roots campaign to engage its members throughout the country to help nominate Hillary Clinton.

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The AFT represents 1.4 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers, paraprofessionals and other school support employees, higher education faculty, nurses and other healthcare workers, and state and local government employees.