Even as the Brooklyn Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) electoral working group declined to make a recommendation in the 50th Assembly district, spirits continued to soar in a dimly lit bar packed with supporters of Emily Gallagher.
Former co-chair of a community organization called Neighbours Allied for Good growth, and a self-described progressive, Gallagher launched her campaign at Pete’s Candy Store, 709 Lorimer Street in Williamsburg, against incumbent Assemblyman Joe Lentol (D-Williamsburtg, Greenpoint) in next year’s Democratic Primary.
“Competitive elections should be normal, and expected,” said Gallagher, referring to Lentol’s foothold in Albany, and the fact that this would be his first primary challenge in a decade.
She continued, “Our current Assemblyman has been in office since 1973, and I’m only the second new democratic candidate to run in 47 years. There’s too much at stake to put our democracy on autopilot. I think we deserve to have a real choice.”
As a community member and long-time resident of northern Brooklyn, part of Gallagher’s effectiveness as a candidate, she argues, stems from the fact that she is intimately familiar with the struggle faced by her constituents.
Stating some of the major issues plaguing northern Brooklyn, Gallagher said, “We have crumbling infrastructure next to gleaming glass towers. We have regular floods of raw sewage lapping up on our long-promised parks. Bikers and pedestrians are killed every week.” Additionally, citing the lack of affordable housing, unchecked environmental contamination, and loss of working-class communities of color to gentrification.
“I am so tired of the state and city and state fighting over who is responsible for what. Hoarding information that prevents real solutions. From transportation to housing to the environment, we need to work together.”
Gallagher revealed, in no uncertain terms, that women’s rights issues would feature prominently in her campaign.
“North Brooklyn deserves a champion for women. We need someone who is unapologetically pro-choice. We need someone who doesn’t drag their feet on sexual harassment hearing or laws and doesn’t make excuses for serial abusers who are in power. It’s not enough to be a convenient ally, we need allies when it’s inconvenient,” she said.
Gallagher said she is depending entirely on small-dollar donations to fund her campaign, foregoing corporate donations.
Amidst thundering applause and cheers, Gallagher ended her speech with a rallying cry, “I’m asking you to join me on this journey. Sign up to canvas, make a donation if you can. We’re gonna need all hands on deck here because we have a future to build, thank you.”