ATF COPE Celebrates Election Victories!

Thank you to all members who volunteered for phone banking and canvassing during the Board of Education and Bond/Mill Levy elections! Thank you to all our members who contribute to our Committee On Political Education (COPE). Initial polling results show that your hard work and contributions paid off.

Candidates endorsed by COPE, all of whom are pro-workers’ rights, pro-student, and pro-educator, fared well. In the District 1 School Board race, Yolanda Montoya-Cordova won re-election, garnering almost 72% of the votes cast. “Yolanda has shown herself to be a solid advocate for educators and students across APS, as well as a champion for her constituents,”  said ATF President Ellen Bernstein. “We congratulate her on this victory and we look forward to her advocacy for our public schools over the next four years.”

Barbara Petersen, current Board member from District 4 and member of AFT-NM Retirees, retained her seat on the Board, winning handily with over 66% of the vote in a three-way race. “Barbara Petersen’s time on the School Board has established her as a true champion of public education and a defender of students’ and educators’ rights,” said ATF President Ellen Bernstein. “We are fortunate to have her as an advocate for our public schools. Her re-election is great news for APS. Barbara embodies the spirit of collaboration that our union seeks to continue with the district. When APS and ATF work together, we can provide the highest quality programs and policies for our students.”

Recently-retired teacher and AFT-NM Retirees union member, Laurie Harris, won ATF’s endorsement in District 2 and ran a very high-energy campaign. Despite the tireless volunteerism of our members, she was unable to unseat incumbent Peggy Muller-Aragon. “We want to thank Laurie for representing educators and for her dedication throughout the campaign,” said COPE Chair Sara Attleson. “We hope that she will be willing to throw her hat in the ring again in four years so that we can have a District 2 Board member who truly represents our members’ and our students’ best interests.”

We are very pleased to announce that both of the Bond/Mill Levy Questions passed by wide margins. Our school district can now release funds to fix and improve our aging school buildings. Question 1, the Mill Levy, won approval from the electorate with over 63% voting “FOR” the measure. Question 2, the General Obligation Bond, fared even better with more than 68% of voters casting ballots “FOR” the measure.

ATF COPE hosted a well-attended Election Watch Party Tuesday night at O’Niell’s on Central. The celebration was attended by candidates, Board members, the mayor, and the State House Majority Leader along with dozens of rank-and-file members and union leadership. We’d like to thank O’Niell’s for hosting the gathering.

These electoral achievements show the power of our union’s voice and what we can do when our members volunteer and choose to be masters of our own destinies in the political realm. These victories are only the beginning. We must begin to focus on the 2020 Legislative races so that we continue to build a Legislature that supports our public schools and workers’ rights.

Our jobs as educators are undeniably political. Our Committee On Political Education is our vehicle for broadcasting teachers’ voices on political matters. COPE utilizes members’ voluntary contributions to support our phone banking and canvassing endeavors. We contact members and educate them on the issues and our endorsed candidates. We also focus on getting members and retired members elected.

Your small donation to COPE multiplied by similar contributions from our thousands of members really adds up. You can begin to help our efforts in 2020 now by joining ATF COPE or increasing your voluntary contribution here. Our regular COPE meetings are held on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays each month at the ATF Office. If you’d like to get more involved, email

Join us. Get involved! When we work together, we win!