The New Kings Democrats (NKD) last night adamantly stuck behind State Senate candidate Julia Salazar, despite her appropriating being an immigrant and a series of strong embellishments concerning her religious, educational and socio-economic background.
Salazar, a darling of the progressive Democrats, is running against State Sen. Martin Dilan (D-Bushwick, Williamsburg, Greenpoint, Cypress Hills, East New York, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brownsville) in next week’s Democratic primary.
Salazar has been a subject of enormous controversy in the past month, due in part to the discrepancy between her family history and what she claimed during her campaign. Late last month, a report by the Jewish publication Tablet revealed that her claims about being a working class immigrant were fabricated.
This week several media stories reported that she grew up in a wealthy neighborhood and while house sitting for her next door neighbor, baseball star Keith Hernandez, there were allegations involving a messy divorce, guns, drug paraphernalia including open syringes, the theft of $1,175 in Pottery Barn vouchers, alleged bank fraud, an arrest, a libel suit, and eventually a court settlement.
“New Kings Democrats endorsed Julia Salazar because she is the right candidate for North Brooklyn,” said NKD Communications Director Jessica Thurston. “We’re proud to get out the vote for progressive candidates working to make Brooklyn politics more transparent and accountable.”
Thurston’s comment came as the NKD held their monthly general last night at the Brooklyn YWCA in Boerum Hill. The purpose of the meeting was threefold; first, to give a rundown of the candidates the NKD will be endorsing for next week’s primaries; second, to provide an overview of the NKD’s new platform and allow members to vote on it; and third, to discuss how the organization will be preparing for the upcoming County Committee meeting on Sep. 27.
The meeting began with a brief discussion about their endorsements. The NKD announced that they will be canvassing for the following candidates in the coming days: Genesis Aquino for the 51st Assembly District, Jumaane Williams for Lieutenant Governor, Cynthia Nixon for Governor, and Zellnor Myrie and Salazar for New York State Senate.
“I really want to emphasize that we need all hands on deck to support our endorsed candidates over the next week,” said Thurston.
After providing a rundown of their endorsed candidates, VP of Policy Mariana Alexander summarized the NKD’s proposed new platform, which would serve as a guideline for what the organization should expect from Democratic Party candidates going forward.
The first half of the platform, in their words, would, “outline clear ways the Party should broaden participation, provide impartial forums, and offer no special support.” The second half concerned the issue of “gatekeeping”, or the process by which the Democratic Party should filter out candidates who are running fraudulent campaigns or who don’t represent the party’s best interests.
“Platforms in NKD are supposed to be the initiation point or the guide for further action,” explained Alexander. “It’s also important so that we’re engaging with county, when we’re talking with people, we’re all saying the same thing about how politics, government would work in our borough.”
The platform was voted on halfway through the meeting, and it passed with an overwhelming majority of the votes.
The second half of the meeting was centered around the upcoming September County Committee meeting – and why it’s important for everyone to attend, even those who aren’t running for County Committee.
At the meeting, the roughly 2,200 County Committee members will vote on the 13 seats that constitute the County Executive Committee. The Executive Committee will then elect a chair, a vice chair and a secretary. It was pointed out that, until recently, this annual meeting was restricted to County Committee members only – but now that non-members are allowed in, it’s imperative that they take the opportunity.
“Transparency matters,” Thurston wrote in a blog update on the NKD’s site the week prior. “The more eyes on this process, the better.”