I first met Alessandra Biaggi in December 2016, at the first Arena Summit in Nashville. She came through the doors like a bolt of lightning, talking about why she wanted to take on the leader of New York’s Independent Democratic Caucus (IDC), a group of breakaway Democrats who’ve caucused with Republicans to block progress on women’s reproductive rights, criminal justice reform, and ethics reform.
Many folks thought she was crazy.
But last night she won a historic victory – along with every Arena-supported candidate on the ballot. Those victories included:
- Jessica Ramos, challenger to IDC State Senator Jose Peralta
- Zellnor Myrie, challenger to IDC State Senator Jesse Hamilton
- Catalina Cruz, a DREAMer who won a seat in the State Assembly
- Christopher Marte, who took on nearly the entire Democratic establishment, including the Speaker of the Assembly, the Manhattan Borough President, and multiple members of the city council to win a little-known but important seat on the Democratic State Committee
As recently reported in Politico, The Arena has provided coaching and support to nine candidates in New York: four for congress (who were not on the ballot last night), four for state legislature, and one for Democratic State Committee. This effort also included a major investment in the Working Families Party because they’ve been our strongest allies in taking on the IDC.
Why does this matter?
As we celebrate, it’s important to remind you why these races are so important. New York ranks among the most corrupt states in the country. Our schools remain hopelessly segregated, our historically accessible neighborhoods are now unaffordable, and our transportation system is falling apart.
Beyond quantitative measures, our city is losing its character. To quote Adam Gopnik: “New York is safer and richer but less like itself, an old lover who has gone for a face-lift and come out looking like no one in particular. The wrinkles are gone, but so is the face.”
In the words of Ben Rhodes, “You can’t change things until you change the people making the decisions.” That change started last night.
Join us on October 18th. If you live in New York, sign up to attend our Scared S**tless For Our Democracy Halloween Party — where we will raise money and volunteers for candidates on the ballot in November.