“Working people in Hartford need advocates in city hall,” said AFT Connecticut President Jan Hochadel. “They need champions who will fight for them on the issues that matter; strengthening education, improving access to healthcare, addressing workplace safety and protecting vital public services. We’re confident that is exactly what Josh, Wildaliz, and Larry, working together, will do,” she added.
Candidates for municipal office completed questionnaires over the past four months 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 2015 Election to its executive committee.
“I am grateful to receive this endorsement, said Blanchfield. “As a member of the [AFT Connecticut-affiliated] Hartford Federation of Teachers (HFT), I know firsthand the important work educators do inside and outside of the classroom and will fight tirelessly on their behalf throughout my tenure,” added Blanchfield, who teaches social studies at the Annie Fisher STEM Magnet School.
Blanchfield has been a neighborhood, community and union activist in the city since his days as an undergrad at the University of Hartford. He was selected as an “emerging leader” of the Greater Hartford Central Labor Council (CLC) and now serves as the organization’s vice president. He has recently been active with the Hartford Rising! coalition in efforts to protect the city’s community schools from privatization.
Wildaliz Bermudez is a Hartford native and community activist who has also worked with the Hartford Rising! coalition to protect and strengthen free and equal education for all. Bermudez is currently community outreach advocate for the Legal Assistance Resource Center of Connecticut (LARCC) and previously worked in constituent services in the Hartford mayor’s office.
“I am honored to have earned AFT’s endorsement,” said Bermudez. “As an original Sheff vs O’Neil plaintiff and a life-long advocate for strong public schools, I understand the complexity of the problems ahead. We will make a great team in pushing for community-based solutions while fighting back against those that seek to privatize our public schools,” added Bermudez.
Deutsch, elected to the Hartford Court of Common Council in 2009, joined his first union as a member of an AFT affiliate while teaching in New York City schools. Working later as a physician and then as a healthcare consultant Deutsch remained an active member of the labor movement. In his two terms Deutsch has championed numerous issues impacting working families in Hartford and is currently serving as the city council’s minority leader.
“I thank AFT for their support during my re-election campaign,” said Deutsch. “I have always demanded that education and healthcare are vital public services – human rights – which must be controlled and financed through the public sector – not a private system with profit-making goals,” added Deutsch.
“A political endorsement is a decision we do not take lightly,” said Hochadel. “Our members support candidates who have pledged to tackle the issues facing working families. And we make sure any candidate we back understands that they will be held accountable once elected,” Hochadel added.
AFT Connecticut represents approximately 30,000 hard-working women and men in PreK-12 education, healthcare, public service and higher education from more than 90 local unions throughout the state. For more information, visit www.aftct.org or follow the labor federation on Twitter at @AFTCT and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/aftct.
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Paid for by AFT Connecticut. This message was made independent of any political party, candidate or other political action committee.