Williams chooses activist Ana Maria Archila as Lt. Gov. running mate

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Public Advocate and Gubernatorial Candidate Jumaane Williams, left, lifts the hand of Ana Maria Archila, his pick for lieutenant governor as his running mate. Photo by Ethan Stark Miller.

Public Advocate Jumaane Williams today named Ana Maria Archila as his pick for lieutenant governor in his bid for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.

Archila and Williams made the announcement in Foley Square along with city Comptroller Brad Lander and members of the New York Working Families Party.

Archila is also one of the two activist women who infamously confronted Arizona Senator Jeff Flake in a Congressional elevator during the controversial U.S. Senate confirmation vote for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh a little more than three years ago. 

“Ana Maria is awesome, she’s known for Congressional elevator fame,” Williams said. “But she’s done so much. Fighting for immigrant rights, fighting for worker rights, fighting for LGBTQ rights, fighting for women’s rights, fighting for human rights. And that’s what this is about, fighting for the humanity of working class New Yorkers.”

Archila immigrated to the United States from Columbia at 17 and has had a career fighting for several progressive causes including immigrants’ rights and worker protections. She’s currently the co-Executive Director for the Center of Popular Democracy – an organization she helped found along with Make the Road NY.

During her announcement, Archila said she wants to be New York’s next lieutenant governor because the state welcomed her as a young immigrant and has supported her with its thriving LGBTQ community.

“But New York should also be the place where everyone, no matter who you are or where you’re from, can live with dignity,” Archila said. “And right now, our state is falling short of that promise. New York is one of the richest states in the richest nation. But if you’re a working person, if you’re a poor person, you don’t feel it. And you didn’t have that dignity and that promise before the pandemic or during the pandemic.”

Archila, also an adjunct professor of public service at New York University, listed affordable housing scarcity, a lack of elder and child care, rising gun violence, failing public transit and a lack of unionized jobs as just some of the reasons why she’s jumping into the race.

“I am running to make sure that all New Yorkers have an affordable home, excellent health care and high quality education,” Archila said. “I am running to make sure that immigrant Black and brown workers, whose labor has carried us through the pandemic, are met not just with nice words, but with policies that honor their sacrifice. I am running especially to make sure that young people in this state can pursue their dreams, can have a planet to live in and can have joy and safety in their life. I am running because I cannot sit and watch the politics of business as usual in these moments.”

Archila echoed Williams’ campaign messaging that working class New Yorkers are suffering from these multiple crises – while, they claim, the wealthy and powerful are doing better than ever. Williams said Archila’s activist background makes her the best person to join his bid for the Governor’s Mansion.

The Public Advocate faces an uphill battle against current Gov. Kathy Hochul, who has most of the state’s prominent Democratic elected officials lined up behind her campaign and received the party’s formal backing at its convention earlier this month.

Williams’ climb is made even steeper by the fact he has to petition to get on the ballot, after receiving less than 25 percent of the vote at the same convention. But, he said, he sees having to petition as more of an opportunity than a deficit.

“I tell you, even when we went to a convention, it was always glass half full because petitioning is a great organizing opportunity,” Williams said. “Everybody’s going to be on the ground, talking about our campaign.”