“Harry understands what it’s going to take to move Norwalk forward,” said Bruce LeVine Mellion, president of the Norwalk Federation of Teachers, AFT Local 1723. “He has a fresh, positive vision for Norwalk’s future; one that includes a strong, vibrant educational system. And he’s got the experience to work with us, as well as all school district and city employees and the new superintendent, to realize that vision,” he said.
Candidates for municipal office completed questionnaires beginning in August on a series of policy issues important to the members of AFT’s local unions and their communities. Members of the federation’s legislative and political action committee reviewed the responses and made recommendations for endorsements in the 2013 General Election to its executive committee.
“All staff, teachers, aides, clerical, nurses, and custodians want to have a mayor who respects the employees who have the direct and indirect contact with children and parents,” said Rilling. “The employees of Norwalk Public Schools are professionals and need to be treated as such. They need to be listened to and have input in the operation and priorities of our education system,” he said.
Rilling, who served as chief of the Norwalk Police Department for 17 of his 41 year-career with the agency, has been an outspoken advocate for the city’s public schools. He announced in mid-October his platform for education, stressing that as mayor he intends to fully collaborate with the classroom professionals who teach Norwalk’s students in shaping effective policies.
“A political endorsement is a decision we do not take lightly,” said Melodie Peters, a former state senator and president of AFT Connecticut. “It’s not about picking the politician who can make the best promises. It’s about choosing the men and women who have the best potential to fulfill the real promise of public education and public service,” she said.
AFT Connecticut is 29,000 hard-working women and men from more than 90 local unions throughout the state serving in PreK-12 education, higher education, healthcare and municipal and state governments. Follow the union on Facebook at www.facebook.com/aftct.
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