Making Brooklyn politics more progressive starts with supporting reform-minded candidates in the run-up to September's primary, and that means petitioning, canvassing, phone-banking, and other volunteer efforts! We endorsed five fantastic candidates this year and now they need YOUR help to win on Thursday, September 13.
Sign up to volunteer for the campaigns this summer. And read on to learn more about these five candidates and why New Kings Democrats endorsed them.
Nydia Velazquez For Congress in the 7th Congressional District
Congressperson Nydia Velazquez has represented the district since 1993. She is currently running unopposed in the general election.
The 7th Congressional District includes Bushwick, Greenpoint, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn Heights, Sunset Park, Red Hook, East New York, and Williamsburg, as well as parts of Queens and Manhattan.
Congressperson Velazquez has been a pioneer throughout her political career. She was the first Latina ever elected to the New York City Council and one of the only candidates brave enough to go up against the Vito Lopez-run Brooklyn political machine and win. In Congress, she sits on the House Financial Services Committee and she is the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Small Business.
Congressperson Velazquez has had major accomplishments in the areas of affordable housing and environmental preservation. She is perhaps most notable for her advocacy for her native Puerto Rico, particularly following Hurricane Maria in 2017. Throughout her career, she has fought for progressive political reform and encouraged and led good-government grassroots organizing efforts. She has been instrumental in supporting New Kings Democrats since the club’s founding in 2008 and NKD members have voted to endorse her in every election cycle since then. She not only fights for her constituents, but she works to engage them in civic and political life. This year, in addition to taking a stand in Washington D.C. against the administration's inaction in Puerto Rico, she is actively involved in the #RepYourBlock campaign and fighting for electoral justice in her home district.
Campaign Website: www.reelectnydiavelazquez.com
Zellnor Myrie For State Senate in the 20th State Senate District
Zellnor Myrie is a first-time candidate going up against Senator Jesse Hamilton. Senator Hamilton has held the seat for the past four years. Within hours of his election in November 2016, Senator Hamilton joined the Independent Democratic Caucus (IDC). He is currently back in the mainline Democratic conference after the disbanding of the IDC in April of this year.
The 20th State Senate District includes Brownsville, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Gowanus, Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, South Slope, and Sunset Park.
Zellnor Myrie is a native of Prospect Lefferts Gardens, a lawyer, and an affordable housing advocate. He cut his teeth in government serving as a Legislative Director at the New York City Council.
Senator Hamilton earned himself a challenger by caucusing with the Republicans in the State Senate, but Zellnor is a candidate worthy of any race. Politically savvy and personable, he is well-versed in the issues facing his district and knows that to win, he must convince constituents that he will be able to address their everyday struggles. Zellnor knows his campaign must be about more than the IDC and he is prepared to make it so.
Campaign Website: zellnorforstatesenate.com
Genesis Aquino For Female District Leader in the 51st Assembly District
First-time candidate Genesis Aquino is going up against incumbent Female District Leader, Arelis Martinez, who has held the seat for 14 years.
The 51st Assembly District includes Sunset Park, Red Hook, South Slope, Greenwood Heights, and parts of Bay Ridge.
In her day job, Genesis serves as the NYCHA coordinator for Housing Court Answers, supporting public housing residents as they navigate the New York City Housing Court system. Through this work and her tireless community activism, Genesis is well aware of the challenges facing her district, which includes a large number of public housing residents and individuals without immigration documentation. A first generation immigrant and longterm resident of Sunset Park, Genesis is prepared to push for a more responsive, accountable Democratic Party that works for everyday people in her district.
Winning the title of District Leader would formalize the work that Genesis has already been doing in her district for years, and would give her a platform for her ideas about how to make County Committee more inclusive and transparent. Genesis is playing an active role in #RepYourBlock and NKD's Vision Project. She exemplifies the kind of candidate NKD should elevate and endorse for elected office in order to bring real reform to the Brooklyn Democratic Party.
Campaign Website: www.genesisaquino.nyc
Jumaane Williams For New York State Lieutenant Governor
Third-term East Flatbush City Councilmember Jumaane Williams is challenging incumbent Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, who has held the position for the past four years and is running again as an ally of Governor Cuomo.
This is a statewide race.
A former tenant organizer, Jumaane has been one of the most vocal progressive voices on the New York City Council. He is unafraid to take principled stances on issues like criminal justice and affordable housing and push for bold, progressive legislation. He is the founder of the Ernest Skinner Political Association, a progressive Democratic club based in East Flatbush.
Jumaane’s proposes making the Lieutenant Governor position less about ribbon-cutting and echoing the Governor, and more like the position of Public Advocate in New York City. He wants to create a bully pulpit that stands up to the Governor and legislature when they make decisions that are not in the best interest of all New Yorkers. Given his record on the Council and his independence as a politician, we have no doubt that he will follow through on these plans.
Campaign Website: jumaanewilliams.com
Cynthia Nixon For New York State Governor
Actress and public education advocate Cynthia Nixon is challenging incumbent Governor Andrew Cuomo, who is running for his third term.
This is a statewide race.
Though best known for her work as an actress, Cynthia has spent decades fighting for progressive causes, most notably public education and LGBTQ rights. An avid supporter of labor, she has positioned herself as the grassroots candidate against the Democratic machine helmed by Governor Cuomo.
Cynthia has already pushed Governor Cuomo to the left simply by announcing her campaign. She is working hard to build relationships with communities across the state who have been marginalized by the way he runs the government. New York needs a governor who will actually use its overwhelmingly Democratic character to enact progressive policies, rather than constantly compromise with Republicans to stay in power and maintain support from special interest groups.
Campaign Website: cynthiafornewyork.com