UPD

UTICA, NY (August 22, 2017) —At a press conference on Tuesday at the Central New York Labor Council Office in Utica, community leaders and advocates from the 22nd Congressional District came together to urge Congresswoman Claudia Tenney to return $5,400 in campaign donations from hedge fund billionaire and political donor Daniel Loeb.

The Utica community groups join other organizations around the state who are calling on their elected officials to return campaign contributions they have received from Loeb and commit to not taking any funds from him in the future.

Loeb, a billionaire Wall Street hedge fund manager who supports the privatization of public schools, made a racist attack on State Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins earlier this month saying the African American leader had done more damage to communities of color than the Ku Klux Klan.

The coalition of groups believes that Loeb’s comments are antithetical to “the values of diversity, inclusion, and acceptance of the congressional district.” They call on Congresswoman Tenney to “immediately sever all ties with Loeb by refunding every dollar [she] have ever received from him or his affiliated political action committees.”

The letter is attached as a separate PDF document.

Speakers at Tuesday’s press conference included Tricia Walker of the Utica Teacher’s Association and NYSUT; Bill Perrotti of the AFL-CIO Labor Council; John Furman of Central New York Citizen Action; Delvin Moody of the Oneida County Young Democrats; and Trinh Truong of the Alliance for Quality Education.

“Daniel Loeb’s support of publicly funded yet privately run charter networks proves that he is no ally of students, teachers, or parents. We cannot allow him to influence education policy in our local Congressional District with his Wall Street dollars. It is imperative that Congresswoman Tenney return his money,” stated Tricia Warner, Vice President of the Utica Teacher’s Association.

“As our representative for the 22nd Congressional District, we urge Congresswoman Tenney to give back any and all funds received from Daniel Loeb. A person who equates the dedicated service of Senator Stewart-Cousins to the Ku Klux Klan is at odds with our district’s moral character. We are further appalled at his agenda of school privatization, which is against the interests of all public school students and teachers. His insidious rhetoric and agenda are troubling for our area and our nation,” said Delvin Moody, President of the Oneida County Young Democrats.

 “It would be unconscionable for Congresswoman Tenney to keep Mr. Loeb’s money, allowing him to influence education policy in our Congressional District. His campaign cash represents a push for education privatization and racism that is bad for our students and at odds with the values of our nation,” said John Furman, President of Central New York Citizen Action

 Daniel Loeb’s racist comments and privatization of public schools are equally troubling. By accepting his money, Congresswoman Tenney is complicit in bankrupting our public schools, denying equal educational access to all students who attend them, and perpetuating systemic racism inside and outside of the classroom.”

Trinh Truong, Legislative and Policy Fellow of the Alliance for Quality Education.

Dear Congresswoman Claudia Tenney,

At a moment when racism and white supremacy are re-emerging in our nation, we are extremely concerned that one of your campaign donors, Daniel Loeb, has made comments comparing one the highest ranking elected officials in New York State, Senator Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, to the Ku Klux Klan.

As reported in the New York Times on August 10th, Loeb stated that Senator Stewart-Cousins has done “more damage to people of color than anyone who has ever donned a hood.”

Senator Stewart-Cousins is a highly respected elected official and the highest-ranking African-American female elected official in the history of the state. Loeb’s incendiary and racist comments are an affront to the values of diversity, inclusion, and acceptance of our congressional district. Loeb’s extremely offensive and racist attack on Senator Stewart-Cousins requires a swift and steadfast response rejecting racism, sexism, and his toxic money.

We are outraged and distressed to learn that Loeb, a billionaire Wall Street hedge fund manager who attacks public education and supports privately run charter networks, contributed $5,400 to your campaign. Loeb finances educational policies that are in line with the Trump-Devos agenda to privatize public education and jeopardize the access and quality of public education for students in our 22nd congressional district.

As the elected representative for a congressional district that includes some of the most diverse and underfunded public school districts, we demand that you immediately sever all ties with Loeb by refunding every dollar you have ever received from him or his affiliated political action committees. It is imperative that you disassociate yourself entirely from Daniel Loeb and send a clear message that public schools are important, politics cannot be bought, and racism has no room in political discourse.

Sincerely,

Alliance for Quality Education

New York State United Teachers

New York State United Teachers Retiree Council 12

Central New York Citizens in Action

Oneida County Young Democrats

AFL-CIO Central New York Labor Council

Indivisible Mohawk Valley

Lockwood Law

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