By Sheldon Ranz
EMILY GALLAGHER FOR NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY
Emily Gallagher wasn’t supposed to win her contest back in 2020. Up against a long-term centrist Democratic incumbent, Joseph Lentol, she was depicted in the press as a flake for mooning her noisy neighbors back in college But that’s what was appealing about her: her tendency to make good trouble. Despite her membership in DSA, it was not endorsing her for bizarre, sectarian reasons
But we in SDUSA liked her enough to endorse her to represent Assembly District 50 -Greenpoint, Brooklyn (Nine for New York). But we did more than that: we committed money, resources, and volunteers to her campaign. Gallagher needed them because it was a close race that went down to the wire. It was a matter of accurately counting mail-in ballots and examining the expiration dates stamped on those mail-in ballots that turned the tide in her favor. Ironically, it is in those close races that smaller organizations like SDUSA can play outsized roles!
Since her election, Assemblymember (AM) Gallagher has been exemplary. She has kept her promise to her constituency to pursue their best interests. A recent example is the following: A few months before she took office, a group of tenants contacted her. Their building was falling apart, and they tried to get in touch with their landlord to enact repairs, but they couldn’t find him. Instead, all they found was an anonymous shell company, a LLC (limited liability company) with a PO box. To hold landlords accountable, AM Gallagher introduced The LLC Transparency Act .
For more information on the Gallagher 2022 re-election campaign: https://www.emilyforassembly.com/
RON KIM FOR NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY
Ron Kim, the Assemblymember from the 40th District (Flushing, Queens), became well-known statewide – and deservedly so – as one of the key figures in ending the reign of Governor Andrew Cuomo. Kim exposed the corruption in New York State’s nursing homes, where neglect was rampant and Covid-19 needlessly took the lives of countless residents. Cuomo’s sputtering, out-of-control public responses to Kim’s probe revealed an abusive Nixonian persona that needed to be removed from office, and he eventually was.
Kim is also a social democratic innovator who is sponsoring an Inclusive Value Ledger bill in the NYS Assembly .Designed to include more people into the economy who don’t have bank accounts, it would create the country’s first publicly owned electronic banking platform, as well as a digital currency that can be exchanged for goods and services within the state. A statewide complementary currency would encourage the recirculation of money in low-income communities.
We are as pleased to support Ron Kim now as we were two years ago (Nine for New York).
For more information on the Kim 2022 re-election campaign: https://www.ronkimnewyork.com/
For those of you who have been paying attention to the inner workings of New York State (NYS) politics, after you get a respirator and are sufficiently coherent when trying to make sense of it all, you might have noticed, that NYS’ outgoing corrupt Governor, Andrew Cuomo, had appointed a number a non-Democratic judges to the New York State Court of Appeals . These judges’ overturned the NYS Democratic Party’s attempt to maintain its Congressional seats, as well as changing the boundaries of state assembly and senate districts well after many local election campaigns were already underway.
The ensuing chaos had a deleterious effect on various progressive candidates, including several endorsed by SDUSA. Rana Abdelhamid was running a strong race for Congress against incumbent Carolyn Maloney, uniting the progressive bloc. We liked the human rights-oriented foreign policy approach that she would have brought to Congress if elected. But redistricting removed Brooklyn and Queens – Abdelhamid’s home base – from the redrawn district, forcing her to suspend her campaign.
Another casualty of redistricting was public defender Alana Sivin, who was in a four-way race in State Senate District 26 (and then in State Assembly District 65, post-redistricting, until she had to withdraw.). Sivin’s race was challenging, not only because she was facing an entrenched incumbent, but also because all of her fellow challengers were, like her, members of DSA. SDUSA has a general policy of not making endorsements in electoral contests in which where there are multiple progressives, since it is a waste of valuable energy for the Left to be engaged with each other in this manner. However, we made an exception because Sivin approached us for an endorsement. After checking her background and that of the other candidates, we endorsed her due to her greater legislative experience working for members of the New York City Council. She is also sympathetic to our Democratic Zionist support for BDS.
Without this freakish incident of redistricting, who knows how far Abdelhamid and Sivin would have gotten? But both already achieved a lot, beyond name recognition. Abdelhamid, one of whose whose goals is to establish a lasting political power base for Arab-Americans in New York City, did at least expand that sphere of influence beyond the Palestinian-American enclave of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. Sivin established herself in the debates as the candidate most likely to hit the ground running, knowing how the system works and using that to make it work best for those most in need. We look forward to working with both of them in the future on ventures of common concern!
Sheldon Ranz is Director of Special Projects for Social Democrats USA and the editor of Socialist Currents.