The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) may be all about wealth sharing, but they are no schlemiels when it comes to dialing for dollars in raising money and getting paid.
That after DSA Candidate Jabari Brisport raised considerably more money than his two opponents – Assemblywoman Tremaine Wright and Jason Salmon – as the three bid for the open 25th Senate District seat currently held by retiring incumbent State Senator Velmanette Montgomery (Fort Greene, Boerum Hill, Red Hook, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Sunset Park, Gowanus, and Park Slope).
Brisport’s reported contributions received during 2020, despite campaigning through the coronavirus outbreak, totaled just over $128,600. He spent $75,692, including a hefty $12,000 to his NYC-DSA Leadership Committee member and Campaign Manager Fainan Lakha.
In total, including Brisport’s previous money raised, he has $89,138 left in his campaign coffers.
Brisport is openly gay and a third-generation Caribbean-American from Prospect Heights. A public school math teacher, he advocates for education, progressive legislation in housing and confronting homelessness, and guarantees quality healthcare for all.
“People are having to leave, people are being pushed out. We don’t invest in our communities,” said Brisport in last week’s live-streamed forum, supported by JACK performance arts space.
“It’s a disinvestment in education, I see that when my kids can’t get textbooks. We don’t have supplies for our students in schools. We see that in our healthcare system with 20,000 beds being lost in New York State, and now we’re unprepared for a pandemic. We don’t fully invest in clean energy. And ultimately, we have too much money concentrated at the top. We have too many politicians in the hands of wealthy developers and wealthy donors,” said Brisport.
Following closely behind in fundraising was Salmon, life-long Clinton Hill-Fort Greene resident and former community liaison for Montgomery. He received about $54,900 in contributions and after expenses has $27,535 in cash on hand.
Salmon prides himself as a biracial candidate that transitioned from music into community organizing. He is running on a platform centered around criminal justice and police reforms, ending mass incarceration, fighting for equity in education, and addressing the affordable housing crisis.
“The bottom line is we have a record high homeless population of 60,000 people that are cycling through shelters and sleeping on the streets,” said Salmon, “and still we are granting an exorbitant amount of tax abatements to private real estate developers to provide affordable housing that is one, unaffordable to everyday New Yorkers, and two, isn’t even provided to the people that are precariously close to being homeless.”
Wright, who currently represents Bedford-Stuyvesant and northern Crown Heights in the assembly raised $15,425 in contributions. However, together with past fundraising, she still has $44,539 in her campaign war chest to spend.
She has also received a large number of endorsements, including from 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, the largest healthcare union organization in the U.S. Among them is an impressive list of other unions, Democratic clubs and other lawmakers.
“What I think I’ve learned most is that when we work in coalition and that when we listen to communities we can act and realize policy and legislative outcomes that benefit our communities,” said Wright on Montgomery’s term. “She listens to all of her constituents, she tries to incorporate their ideas into the outcomes, she folds their narratives into the story so that we can all learn from them, and I think that’s what we have to do moving forward.”
Wright is a lawyer and former small business owner in Bed-Stuy. As an assemblywoman, she is chair of the New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic & Asian Legislative Caucus and of the Assembly Subcommittee on Foster Care.
“Our wellness is one of the initiatives I would definitely be supporting with our [senate] staff, and helping to promote those initiatives that exist in the community well beyond what I am able to do today,” said Wright about future projects. “There are lots of great organizations that exist in our district, the 25th has lots of people doing wonderful work, and we need to find ways to support them and lift them up. I think in the senate office you actually have the capacity to undergird and amplify the work that people are doing.”
Early voting starts June 13 and the primary is June 23.