May 25, 2021 By Allie Griffin
The influential teachers union endorsed candidate Julia Forman last week in the crowded District 26 Council race.
The United Federation of Teachers (UFT) announced a slew of endorsements last Wednesday — including Forman for the seat representing Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside, Dutch Kills and parts of Astoria.
“Julia Forman is a committed public servant having served as Assistant District Attorney in the Office of the Bronx District Attorney,” UFT President Michael Mulgrew said in a statement. “As the daughter of two public school educators, she will fight to make sure students and teachers are set up for success both in the classroom and in remote learning.”
Forman said she was honored to have the union’s support.
“To be recognized by labor — by UFT, by CSA [Council of School Supervisors and Administrators] — means a lot,” Forman told the Queens Post, noting that her campaign has put a strong emphasis on public education. “It’s also very meaningful on a personal level.”
The endorsement was especially significant for the former attorney, whose parents both worked in the city’s public school system. Forman’s father retired as an assistant principal and her mother retired as a District 75 teacher. The pair met while working in a school.
Forman credits the UFT for teaching her the importance of unions at a young age.
“This is the union that helped me get health insurance and taught me from a young age about how important unions are for workers,” she said.
If elected, Forman wants to lower class sizes in public schools, invest in after school and extracurricular programs and ensure each school has support staff like social workers, librarians and nurses to assist students.
“I want to make sure that all of our students — no matter what school they go to, no matter which ZIP code they’re in — that they are being provided a holistic education,” Forman said.
Expanding subjects like arts, music and sports programming will support students with social emotional learning and help boost their college applications, she said.
“All of these opportunities are really a great way to make sure that kids are invested in their education and that we’re giving them as much of a leg up as we can when it comes to the college admissions process if that’s what is right for them,” she said.
Forman also wants to boost vocational training in public schools to give students an alternative career path to one that strictly requires college.
“I am also in favor of bringing back the technical training that our schools lost during the Bloomberg administration. I think that that was really a disservice to students who could benefit from it,” she said. “And it’s a way for us to work hand-in-hand with unions to create a pathway into the apprenticeship and eventually union careers.”
Forman is one of 15 Democratic candidates vying for the Council seat currently held by term-limited Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer.