Boylan: A Wonky Progressive Alternative to Nadler

U.S. Congressional Candidate Lindsey Boylan (Photo provided by Boylan Chief of Staff Veronica Calhoun)
U.S. Congressional Candidate Lindsey Boylan (Photo provided by Boylan Chief of Staff Veronica Calhoun)

In her primary challenge to U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan, Brooklyn), Lindsey Boylan offers unique government and policy experience amid candidates of the progressive insurgency.

Born in San Diego, Boylan moved to northern Virginia with her family in middle school. Living near D.C. piqued her interest in politics. In high school, she spent her free time at congressional hearings, aided in lobbying the nation’s highest legislature on civil rights issues after 9/11, and interned for former U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter, Sr. (R-CA).

“He’s not on my side of the aisle,” Boylan assured New York County Politics. “I was trying to intern for whomever I could get an internship with even though I’ve always been a Democrat.”

After graduating from Massachusetts’ Wellesley College, where she was student body president, Boylan came to New York hoping to get into urban planning. She met her husband while managing Bryant Park, and went on to business school at Columbia.

While working in the office of Governor Andrew Cuomo (D), she managed the Office of Storm Recovery when Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico, leading disaster relief efforts. Cuomo later appointed Boylan Deputy Secretary of Economic Development for New York, where she helped get $150 million of funding for NYCHA, pass paid leave, and minimum wage.

“Someone focused on economic recovery and jobs is gonna be really critical for New York after this moment,” she said, referencing the economic crisis that the coronavirus pandemic helped cause. 

Boylan continued, highlighting that she found Nadler and the congressional Democrats’ leadership against President Donald Trump (R) disheartening. 

“When I first started running, I would get the kind of comments like `Jerry is gonna save us from Donald Trump.’ or `He’s such a nice guy,’” she recounted. “Although the congressman is perfectly nice, I guess, he’s only passed a handful of bills into law on his own in thirty years. He takes a ton of corporate PAC money, and he’s really not present in our community, and he hasn’t `saved us’ from Donald Trump. He’s not going to. He can’t, and I think if anything we’ve learned that he takes orders from the Speaker and the leadership of the Democratic Party.”

Boylan then discussed her policy background to explain why she felt that she needed to run. “As much as we could do at the state level, we needed a federal government that works, and because we didn’t have one, we weren’t helping the people the way that they needed to be helped. I knew the bottleneck was at the federal government and I saw all of these women across the country getting out and saying `Enough is enough.’ And so I just knew I had to do it.”

Boylan’s campaign offers a comprehensive policy platform, for which she cites housing, the environment, mental health and jobs and economic recovery as her top priorities. She went on to discuss how they overlap.

“We can probably all agree that the trauma that people are experiencing in this moment first with the public health crisis and this deep need to respond to systemic racism means that everyone should have access to therapy, and we don’t,” she said.

When asked about fellow primary challenger Jonathan Herzog, Boylan indicated she doesn’t take his campaign seriously.

“I think he’s raised a few thousand dollars this whole time, he doesn’t have full time staff that are paid. As I understand it, he can’t do direct mail,” she said. “The most important thing you need to do is listen and respond and be able to organize around the things you hear in our community, and he’s not able to do that. I applaud him for running, but I think I’m gonna win this race.”