How the IDC Fight Informed My Run for New York State Assembly and Why We All Must Vote
Three days out from the 2020 New York Democratic Primary, this piece today from the Gotham Gazette reminds me what I have accomplished as part of Empire State Indivisible, True Blue NY, the Indivisible movement and why I am running for New York State Assembly in District 37.
I lived every moment of the IDC fight. In 2017 helping to organize empty seat town halls in uptown in Manhattan, Jackson Heights, Park Slope, and Staten Island. Talking to constituents who were already scared of Trump and discovering they had Trump democrats in their district as their elected leaders.
We persisted. More town halls + canvassing and calling to educate and engage constituents. Organizing a group of volunteers from across our city and state to be a political force — to talk about the IDC problem, the issues and policy impacted, and eventually about IDC challenger candidates.
All of this at the same time, that as co-leader of Empire State Indivisible, I was organizing to hold our federal elected leaders to account and make sure they were doing everything possible to stop this president.
2018 started with a press conference at city hall and a rally with IDC challengers in Brooklyn. Then on a cold spring day, a kick-off for IDC challenger candidate Jessica Ramos n Astoria. And on a steamy July weekend in deep Queens getting thousands of petition signatures for another IDC challenger candidate John Liu — while getting yelled at and chased.
Part of my role at Empire State Indivisible was to recruit and organize volunteers for Sunday canvasses in the Bronx for IDC challenger candidate Alessandra Biaggi. I had to convince volunteers to take the nearly hour long weekend subway ride to canvass in heat, humidity, and rain. Motivate them to keep at it — to build the momentum and a movement. The volunteers were committed — a commitment I see repeated currently as many of these same volunteers make hundreds of calls for me in my Assembly race and for other progressive candidates.
I remember the conversations with voters — they were scared of Trump, their neighbors being taken away, luxury developers pricing them out. At doors we were invited in, offered cool drinks, and thanked — because no one else including their IDC Senator had bothered to talk to them.
By late August I had people I didn’t know texting, calling and emailing me asking to help. When Zephyr Teachout joined us in the Bronx one Sunday and Leah Greenberg of Indivisible the next Sunday we had more volunteers than minivan lists.
The state primary on September 13th was an incredibly special night. It was everything great about Empire State Indivisible, True Blue NY, the Indivisible movement, our democracy and the power of New Yorkers. That night will be a long chapter in a book I will someday write. But right now we must think of our right now.
After the IDC defeat we helped elect a democratic senate majority. In 2019 we started advocating for long stalled bills to finally pass in Albany including reproductive rights, voter access, criminal justice reform, congestion pricing, tenant protections, climate change action.
But it was also in 2019 when we discovered that a true blue senate alone could not get it done. Some in the assembly would not stand up and fight for progressive policy they long said they supported.
Now, myself and other challengers (and some progressive incumbent assembly members) push to change our assembly so we can get real, lasting progress for our communities and our state.
But we face the possibility of low voter turnout. We need to vote — the IDC fight proves voting makes a difference. Let’s make a difference, let’s make the change we need — by voting.
By absentee if you received a ballot or in person if you did not.
By early voting on the last day — tomorrow, Sunday, June 21.
Or on Election Day, Tuesday, June 23.
The IDC defeat showed status quo politicians what voting can do — let’s show them again!
I ask you to vote for me for assembly in district 37. I will bring the same energy, motivation, persistence, organizing experience, policy knowledge and fighting spirit to the New York Assembly that I brought to the IDC defeat and all the other causes I’ve championed.