Brooklyn Boro

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez joins Julia Salazar at Williamsburg event, Eagle follows campaign in canvassing Brooklyn

September 4, 2018 By Andy Katz Special to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle
NYS Senatorial candidate Julia Salazar (left) and US Congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez chat with supporters at Our Wicked Lady event space. Eagle photos by Andy Katz

“Well-behaved women never make history,” said Democratic Congressional nominee Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as she took the stage at Our Wicked Lady, a rehearsal space and studio in East Williamsburg, to introduce the woman of the hour, NYS Senatorial candidate, Julia Salazar. “Real power is never given, it is always taken.”

The audience cheered.

Of the dozens that filled the East Williamsburg event space most had spent the day canvassing Bushwick, Greenpoint, Williamsburg and Bed-Stuy neighborhoods on behalf of the young challenger’s campaign to unseat seven-term incumbent Martin Dilan of the 18th Senatorial District.

“What I have found is that every single major female elected official in the state of New York unseated a multi-decade incumbent. No one tells that story. They act if we were the first ones and the only ones there in the Bronx,” said Ocasio-Cortez, who is running for a district including parts of Queens and the Bronx.

Ocasio-Cortez’s allusion to her own shocking upset against Bronx and Queens Congressional incumbent Joe Crowley set more cheers and applause through the audience while she named Nydia Velazquez, Carolyn Maloney and Andrea Stewart-Cousins as women who had all defeated multi-term incumbents in spite of being inexperienced and outspent.

“Our time has come, not because the sands of time have finally shifted in our favor, but because we have finally stood up and demanded change,” she said.

Will Julia Salazar, a 27-year-old community organizer whose activism shifted from pro-life conservatism just a few years beforehand to democratic socialism replicate her slightly older colleague’s upset win? No one really knows.

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“Accurate polling data is expensive,” Salazar told the Eagle later in the evening. “So for these local races, we don’t have much to go by, except the enthusiasm with which people seem to respond to our message.”

In contrast to another progressive challenger, Cynthia Nixon, whom polls suggest would require divine intervention to unseat Gov. Andrew Cuomo, even Salazar’s most fervent supporters admit they’ll have to wait till Sept. 13 to learn if their efforts have born fruit.

In the meantime, taking a break from the band and the noise that filled Our Wicked Lady’s dance floor, the candidate chatted briefly with the Eagle. The subject at hand was transportation, and how her presence in Albany stood to benefit North Brooklynites already battling a creaky mass transit infrastructure, and facing down the loss of one its principle foundations, the L train.

“Foremost,” Salazar said, “Albany needs to step up and fully fund the MTA Capital Program. In my district we are, I don’t want to say disproportionately affected by the L-train shutdown. The L Train goes through a great deal of my district. We need alternatives to the train when the L shuts down. We need more express buses to take up the slack. That’s a long time to be shut down. There needs to be an increasing flexibility.”

Volunteer canvassers set forth from Salazar for State Senate headquarters intending to reach every potential voter in District 18 before the end of Labor Day weekend

Asked about some of low-footprint, personal transportation methods recently introduced or proposed such as the Torrot or Bird scooters, Salazar nodded. “While I’m skeptical of their ability to impact residents on a large scale, I do support their implementation. And also, subway delays in general. Even folks who have to take the J or F are struggling. What it amounts to is that we don’t have control over our lives. There is a need to repair signals and track … really the whole system is in a dire state.”

“Can the state Legislature act to bring Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo together?”

“Oh, absolutely.”

A few days later, at Salazar for Senate headquarters in Bushwick, more than a dozen volunteer canvassers assembled at noon. Their goal, a final push to reach all of the district’s registered voters before Labor Day weekend was over. Organizers estimate they will need to knock on 18,000 doors in the process.

“Transportation, healthcare and tuition and housing,” said veteran canvasser Sam Lewis, asked what issues seemed to concern most voters.

 

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