At a time when our government and establishment politicians are working only for corporations and the rich, democratic socialist candidates across the country are taking on the corrupting influence of obscene wealth in politics and returning power to the people.
In Seattle, socialist City Council member Kshama Sawant took on the richest man on the planet and won, beating back Amazon’s multimillion-dollar campaign and paving the way for legislation to finally make Amazon pay for skyrocketing housing costs. In Chicago, six Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) candidates won seats running on a social justice platform, and now make up more than 10 percent of the City Council. In the halls of Congress, DSA member Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is not only bringing a seismic shift with legislation like the Green New Deal—she’s using her position to help to lift up other candidates from outside the establishment, including with a new PAC devoted to bringing diverse working class voices to Congress.
And right here in New York, the DSA is running a diverse slate of candidates for state office who will bring the energy and ideas we need to keep winning big, bold change in the halls of Albany.
That’s why I’m so excited to introduce you to them: Marcela Mitaynes, Phara Souffrant Forrest, Boris Santos, and Zohran Mamdani for state Assembly, and Jabari Brisport and Julia Salazar for state Senate.
In 2018, I ran for governor as a proud democratic socialist because DSA’s values and mine are the same. I believe in health care, housing, and education for all, and in a better distribution of wealth in this country. I believe that we need to raise taxes on millionaires and billionaires, fully fund our public schools, and that corporations and the rich have far too much influence in our democratic process.
I ran for governor because I couldn’t stand by and watch as corporate democrats worked to undo our education system, our subways, and our public housing. I didn’t run for myself: I ran for a movement. That’s why I was proud to be an early endorser of Julia Salazar—a young, energetic democratic socialist running for state Senate. Julia and I campaigned alongside one another for universal rent control, to fully fund our public housing, and to fix our transportation system.
In Albany last year, Senator Julia Salazar led the charge for our new rent laws and to decriminalize sex work. She helped usher in desperately needed criminal justice reforms and pass the most ambitious state-level climate protection legislation in our country.
We’re facing a crisis of inequality and greed in our country and in our state, and that’s why we need more people like Julia Salazar in office. After decades of slashing taxes to line the pockets of the rich, New York State faces a politically manufactured budget deficit. To solve it, we need elected officials who have the political courage to raise taxes on the wealthy and corporations to fund the life-saving public goods and services that our communities rely on.
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Marcela, Phara, Boris, Zohran, and Jabari have what it takes to meet the challenge.
As a proud public school parent and education activist myself, I know that public school teacher Jabari Brisport has what it takes to stand up to the charter school industry and their friends in Albany. Our public schools are owed billions of dollars. Jabari’s passion for his students and his community, along with his background as an organizer, make him the best candidate to fight for our students’ future. He will strive to bring our schools the resources they need to close the achievement gap so every student can succeed.
Boris Santos grew up in north Brooklyn, has worked for years as a teacher and housing organizer, and intricately understands the interconnectedness of the two. A hundred and twelve thousand students are homeless in NYC’s schools—a crisis with lifelong impacts on our children. Boris will fight to make sure that the number of homeless students in our public school system is reduced to zero, and that every child has a quality public school to attend.
Zohran Mamdani and Marcela Mitaynes are both tenant organizers and foreclosure prevention counselors. They come out of the housing justice movement that won groundbreaking reforms to our rent laws last year in Albany. Let’s send them back to the state capitol—but on the inside this time—to finish the job and win “good cause” eviction, a true investment in our public housing, and an end to New York’s homelessness crisis.
Phara Souffrant Forrest is a union nurse and a rent-stabilized tenant who serves working-class families in Brooklyn every single day. As a daily witness to the horrors of a for-profit health care system, she is uniquely poised to fight to make health care a human right in New York State.
Every single one of these candidates understands that our state already has the resources needed to solve inequality in our housing, education, and health care. They know we can end homelessness and have safe and affordable living conditions for all—if we just have the political will. But billionaires have rigged our democratic process, and they are robbing us of our shared wealth.
Right now conservative forces are pushing to roll back some of the hard-won progressive gains of the 2019 legislative session. That’s why in this moment it’s so critical to have young, energetic, visionary democratic socialists in Albany. They represent our best hope for breaking the stranglehold that money and power have on our politics.