Who am I?
At present, I am the New York State Democratic Committeewoman for the 67th Assembly District, which is the Upper West Side of Manhattan. When I ran for this office, I said in an interview that, "I have been an unabashed progressive for my entire life". My views and values have not changed, only my understanding has deepened.
My parents were survivors of the Holocaust who bought me to America as a baby. I was enormously grateful to be an American and even more so because I am a progressive and love the ideal of what this country can be, even when the reality sometimes falls short. I count myself among the fortunate of the world that I am here.
I know full well, where paying attention to only one’s own life can lead us. When there is public indifference to hatred and fear, no one is safe.
I am well known as long-term member of the Board of NARAL ProChoiceNY, and I have been nationally recognized as a leader in the fight for women’s rights, reproductive freedom and healthcare, including my work on the landmark New York City and State Clinic Access bills.
I am a progressive neighborhood activist, a tenacious fighter for health care and I have worked for economic and social justice at the local, state and national levels.
I was elected to the State Committee with the support of Congressman Nadler, Borough President Stringer, State Senator now AG Eric Schneiderman and Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal. Since my election in 2006, my colleagues have acknowledged my strong voice on the Committee. I wrote the resolution on continuing the Millionaires Tax. I have also written resolutions on social justice, women’s rights, marriage equality as well as including co-sponsoring the ban on fracking.
I am on the Board of the Progressive Congress Action Fund which amplifies the liberal agenda of the Progressive Caucus members of the House.
“We need to see our City once again as a place where the middle class can prosper, where newcomers can rise up, where our schools educate all children and our infrastructure is solid and functioning. These are dangerous times for democracy. The unequal distribution of economic and political power has accelerated. We need to work hard to reverse the inequality. We need to return to that era which kept reaching for the common good and bring the dream of my parents alive again.”
I graduated from Brandeis University and have a Masters in Education from Boston College.
Why am I running?
I moved to the Upper West Side to raise my two daughters. I picked this neighborhood because it was a place that welcomed everybody. It was a middle class utopia – at least, MY idea of a middle class utopia. That is changing here in Manhattan and in this community.
What brought me back to political involvement after working in my local community - I was president of my coop board and on the board of my synagogue – was the election of George H. W. Bush in 1998. The next day they decided to ask the Supreme Court to overturn Roe. I marched into the offices of NARAL ProChoiceNY where I would be almost every day for a very long time. First I was a volunteer and then a Board member. Still I have followed the same progressive, inclusive and activist principles all my life. Those principles created a better world for everyone, because the poor, the middle class and even the rich benefit from a more just and equitable society. And we all benefit when women are free to be agents in their own lives. That is where I began my local political life.
Women in political life are often content to only work on the issues they care about and support leaders whom they think can make those values a reality. What I have come to realize is the best person to make my values a reality is me and now this City Council race is the time to do so.
For most people New York City is a place to visit. For the rest of us it is a place to live and over the years that I have lived here it has grown more economically unequal. NYC is the top of many things, but sad to say, it is also at the top end of economic inequality. And while the Upper West Side is a bastion of liberalism, it too suffers from this. The poor and middle class is being squeezed and we need to create ways to maintain the economic and social diversity of my neighborhood and New York City.
My political goal, oddly but appropriately, is to Go Back to the Future. For 30 plus years the building blocks of an equitable distribution of wealth and power have been undermined and dismantled. Ever growing inequality in income and wealth create anger, despair, and even incompetence, undermining the economic dynamism of this country. Most dangerously for democracy, we are still in a negative feedback loop that the unequal distribution of political power has accelerated. We need to decelerate AND then reverse inequality. We need to return to an era which is part of the legacy of the greatest generation that created the New Deal and the fully shared economic prosperity of the 50s, 60s, 70s.
We have achieved social progress by including former excluded groups like African Americans and now the LGBT community. As a political goal, we need to marry that social progress to a more economically equitable society. There is a phrase in Hebrew, l'dor v'dor, from generation to generation. We need to entrench these changes so that the next Republican whirlwind can't blow them away.
For example, I want to maintain public education as a public good. Charter schools undermine and could destroy public education (41% of all schools in Washington, DC are now charters). They erode support for public education by leaching needed monies, the attention of the central school administration and the enthusiasm of committed parents.
Second as NYC rebuilds and plans for a future which is more vulnerable to climate change, we must do so in a way that ensures that the poor and middle class get their fair share in our common future.
My DFA Values
My long term goal is to strengthen the progressive movement. Movements are essential to making political parties stay true to their principles. They are also essential to making those principles into real programs, policies and legislation.
As a long time, I hew to the same progressive, inclusive and activist principles all my life. I know that they have created a world that is better for everyone. The poor, the middle class and even the rich benefit from a more just and equitable society. We ALL benefit when women are free to be agents in their own lives. Reproductive rights is at the heart of my involvement. Without the right to make decisions about their reproductive lives, women can NOT be free or equal participants in the social, economic or political life of the worlds they occupy.
We all benefit when the disdained and even persecuted are brought into the larger society. As an immigrant myself, I know full well that this country would not even be America without the enormous gifts bestowed upon it by our immigrants. As a New Yorker I know well this country benefits from religious and ethnic diversity.
Security at home means protecting us from further climate change and mitigating its continued effects. Security in a democracy is an educated citizenry.
My Campaign is People Powered!
I have been involved in the community for over 25 years.
I have relationships and have worked politically with people from all communities in this district from young to old as well as those from religious political and community groups. Second, I have created a Kitchen Cabinet of people from educators to health care specialist(s). They are drawn from the community to advise me and keep me informed. I integrate their input into my campaign.
Additionally, I have kept my ear to the ground attending local community hearings. I have had conversations with tenants groups on their rights and the dangers that vacancy decontrol has on middle class housing. I have worked with elected leaders and grassroots activist to ban fracking. I worked with grassroots groups and Occupy Wall Street housing and foreclosure fraud issues. Politically, I have coordinated with those addressing the growing school age population and the to the encroachment of charter schools on the Upper West Side.