Valentine secures Stamford teachers union endorsement; Simmons gets support from CT service workers – The Advocate

Bobby Valentine chats at Bobby Valentine’s Sports Academy in Stamford, Conn. Wednesday, May 5, 2021. The renowned baseball player and manager announced that he is running for mayor of Stamford as an unaffiliated candidate.
STAMFORD — Bobby Valentine announced that the union for Stamford’s teachers has endorsed him in his campaign for mayor.
“As mayor, I will be a strong and passionate voice as a non-voting member of Stamford’s Board of Education, on behalf of our teachers, parents and students,” Valentine, who is running unaffiliated, said in a statement Wednesday. “We are at a critical moment, challenged by COVID, emerging technologies, and social pressures.”
The president of the Stamford Education Association, Diane Phanos, said to the best of her knowledge, it’s the first time the union has endorsed a mayoral candidate.
Affiliated with the Connecticut Education Association, the SEA has always endorsed Board of Education candidates, Phanos said, but this year, the union’s executive board decided to endorse a candidate for mayor as well.
“When the executive board met this summer … what they brought up was the 20 months of stress and being overworked and dealing with the COVID pandemic and all of the safety issues and unhealthy working conditions that Stamford teachers have been going through that has led to low morale,” Phanos said. “So the executive board felt, at that point, we needed to get more involved in politics.”
Valentine and Democratic candidate Caroline Simmons, a current state representative, met with members of the union’s PAC this summer, Phanos said. The PAC recommended that the endorsement go to Valentine. SEA’s executive board concurred with the PAC, and its faculty representative council concurred with the executive board.
Phanos said that in conversations with the union, Valentine expressed support for “having more teacher involvement in decision making” as well as “hiring and retaining quality educators.”
Simmons announced Wednesday that the Connecticut Employees Union Independent, which represents maintenance and service workers, had endorsed her.
“They join many other unions representing working families in our city who are supporting my campaign because they understand what’s at stake in this election and the important choice that Stamford voters face on Nov. 2,” Simmons said in a statement.
Simmons has also been endorsed by the Stamford Professional Fire Fighters Association, while Valentine has been endorsed by the Stamford Police Association.
The Stamford mayoral election is Nov. 2.
Brianna Gurciullo covers local government and politics for the Stamford Advocate. A Meriden native, Brianna came to the Advocate after four years at POLITICO, where she wrote about federal transportation policy. She is always looking for a dog or cat to befriend when she is not working — and sometimes when she is working, as evidenced by her photo.