A wintery mix greeted constituents Sunday as they escaped into the new office space for State Senator Julia Salazar (D-Bushwick, Cypress Hills, Greenpoint, Williamsburg, parts of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brownsville, East New York) of the 18th District.
Tucked into the residential front of a large apartment building in the heart of Bushwick, the 212 Evergreen Avenue location is central. The 18th District extends from Greenpoint to East New York, and it’s right below the M train. The permanent location is long overdue, especially for a freshman senator.
“We’re so fortunate to have finally found a suitable space. Also, a space that is ADA (Americans with Disability Act) compliant, and accessible to folks. That is something that we’ve been searching for for months, right, and to finally have a space that checks off all the boxes really is a huge blessing,” Salazar said, standing in front of staff, well-wishers, and constituents.
The State lawmaker has cited several reasons for the hold-up on the permanent location, including the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) compliance. Other reasons include financial strain and state bureaucracy in approving locations. Although, as a Kings County Politics report outlined in October, her district is not the most expensive in Brooklyn, and none of the other freshman state representatives seem to have had this problem.
As for the new office, there are two parts – a front and a back space. In the front, there is enough room for two desks, and the back housed about ten desks. Mingling around yesterday was a who’s who of DSA-members including Boris Santos, Salazar’s former Chief of Staff, and currently running a campaign for the 54th assembly district, and Salazar’s current Cheif of Staff Sihem Mellah-Sliker.
Slowly, a diverse crowd filled the room as the afternoon rolled on, including local police members, community organizers, TV-news crews, Assemblymember Joe Lentol (D-Greenpoint, Williamsburg) and even someone with a Bernie Sanders puppet.
Salazar said the last 11 months were spent going from temporary locations before settling on this one. After getting sworn in, she and her staff found a temporary space at 1068 Broadway right at the Bushwick-Bed Stuy border. After a few months, they found another temporary space on South 1st Street in Williamsburg.
Since moving out of that temporary space, Salazar and her staff have been hard to pin down. They kept an office in Manhattan, at 250 Broadway across from City Hall, and maintained various pop-up offices in libraries across the district, but, until now, the outreach to her constituents has been limited by her offices’ transient nature.
Salazar was one of the first DSA-endorsed candidates after the success of U.S. Rep. Alexandria Orcasio-Cortez (D-Queens-Bronx) and she succeeded in unseating a long-held incumbent Martin Dilan in 2018 during a controversy-filled campaign. Since then, the absence of a permanent campaign office has dogged her tenure, although it’s unclear how it will affect her upcoming primary in June.
The office is open to the public from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday.