Primarying Joe Crowley Is A Noble, Heroic Act-- Alexandria Ocasio Just Took It On

I was very excited yesterday. Do you recall the post about how the big shots and recruiters at the DCCC are not among the 110 co-sponsors of John Conyers' Medicare-For All Act? In it I made the point that Wall Street-captive and Pelosi/Hoyer heir apparent, former New Dem chairman Joe Crowley, the backroom boss of the Queens Democratic Party Machine, is one of the House Democratic Leaders refusing to sign on as a co-sponsor. Soon after the post went up, an inside source called me and said Crowley or one of his staffers read the piece and he decided to become an official co-sponsor. Whatever his motivation-- that's awesome. There are now not 110 but 111 co-sponsors. So I was ready for a victory dance and was even boasting about it on Nicole Sandler's radio show when another congressional staffer sent me a note saying that she thought Crowley was frightened of Alexandria Ocasio and that that was why he signed on.

Who's Alexandria Ocasio? I did a little looking around and BOOM-- more great news! Alexandria is a Bronx-based activist and trained economist who worked for Ted Kennedy and, more recently, was behind Bernie's efforts in New York. She's a BrandNewCongress and Justice Democrats candidate running for the NY-14 seat currently held by... yep, Joe Crowley. I admire Alexandria for taking on such an onerous task. The Democratic Party establishment HATES when one of their members gets primaried. Few deserve one more than Crowley, one of the most corrupt Democrats in Congress. I think he managed to get his House Ethics Committee case thrown out but most powerhouses in both parties can do that fairly easily. The House Ethics Committee only gets serious when the complaint is about a racial minority. Crowley, who lives in Virginia, is the Queens County boss and he never really ran for Congress in a traditional sense. He was just kind of conveniently eased into his seat by the powers that be (retiring Congressman Thomas Manton to be specific). He sees himself as a potential Speaker of the House-- a horrifying prospect on a level with John Boehner-- and he was recently anointed chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, a top leadership position, technically the #4 job among House Dems. If he ever does rise to the speakership, he would certainly be the most corrupt Speaker in contemporary history.

Bronx-born Alexandria has been eager to help effect positive change for working families in her district and is especially eager to do something about "the dearth of educational opportunities in my birthplace and personally address the lack of growth that had forced me out of my original home. I applied for and received a social entrepreneurship grant from NHI and I finally got to return to the Bronx where I launched Brook Avenue Press, dedicated to developing products and curriculum focused on childhood intervention and literacy."

The 14th has a unique capability to lead this country. It’s one of the most progressive districts around. But we need new leadership that amplifies that progressive spirit and energy. Our current congressman is not a representative voice for our community. With over $6M in PAC contributions since 2010, and his failure to co-sponsor, let alone introduce and seriously fight for, any legislation that would help the working families of our district shows he has a different set of priorities.

This district deserves to be represented by someone who’s been in the workforce, someone who has spent more time climbing subway steps than the steps of Capitol Hill. We need a new voice, a new face, a new energy that reflects our evolved community. We need someone with hustle to be our voice in Congress, who is ready to organize and inspire-- both at home and in Washington-- for Queens, for the Bronx, and for our country.

When we have the building blocks for economic mobility in place for more members of our community, we all benefit. If we're committed to bootstrapping to improve the lives of our citizens, we need to make sure everyone has boots to begin with. Free college tuition for all, early childhood education intervention, medicare for all and preventive care access are the strongest laces there are-- and we need them, if we’re to pull ourselves up together as a community and as a country.

Goal ThermometerTrump didn't even get 20% of the vote in NY-14. Neither had Romney in 2012. The PVI is D+26. It's exactly the kind of district that should be sending smart, dedicated progressives to Congress, not leaders of the Republican wing of the Democratic Party driven by careerism and corruption. Crowley has never had a serious opponent in his entire congressional career. Usually the second highest vote-getter isn't a Republican but votes that are cast blank and as write-ins (sometimes more than a third of the votes cast.) Demographically, the district is about half Hispanic, 25% white, 16% Asian and 10% black. 60% of the voters live in Queens and 40% in the Bronx. The district starts up in Pelham Bay and includes City Island, Baychester, Pelham, Parkchester, Middletown and Throggs Neck in the Bronx and then crosses over the Whitestone Bridge into Queens-- encompassing the Malba, College Point, Jackson Heights, East Elmhurst, Corona, Steinway, Sunnyside, and Woodside neighborhoods of Queens, as well as Rikers Island and La Guardia Airport. Crowley may have been an OK fit for this district 3 or 4 decades ago-- but not now, which is, I suppose, why he lives in Virginia. If you'd like to help drag the Democratic Party into the 21st Century, please consider giving Alexandria a hand by tapping the ActBlue primary thermometer on the right.

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