This election cycle, New York saw tough races across the aisle. From immigration policy and gender equality to community safety and health care coverage, candidates and elected officials put forth and called for constructive solutions to the issues facing the city and the state. With the help and support of PR experts, campaign managers, political consultants, lobbyists, and other professionals in politics, 2022’s candidates’ demonstrated a commitment to public service that inspires us all. Our Power Players in the 2022 Elections played key roles in this past year’s outcome, working hard to win their races and continue the progressive movement forward.

Adams Buckner Advisors (Left to right: Amelia Adams and Yvette Buckner)
Left to right: Amelia Adams, Yvette Buckner

Adams Buckner Advisors

Amelia Adams, Co-Founder and Partner | Yvette Buckner, Co-Founder and Partner

Adams Buckner Advisors (Left to right: Amelia Adams and Yvette Buckner)
Left to right: Amelia Adams, Yvette Buckner

Earlier this year, Amelia Adams and Yvette Buckner created Adams Buckner Advisors as a result of their successful experiences in government relations, lobbying, and political consulting. They joined forces after helping make ‘herstory’ as chair and vice-chair, respectively, of 21 in ‘21–now the New Majority NYC–which played a role in ushering in the first female-led majority of the New York City Council. They both started their careers as community organizers, worked in government, and helped run successful campaigns for some of today’s most influential elected officials and leaders.

What motivated you to pursue a career in politics?
The saying “we didn’t choose politics, politics chose us” rings true. In our respective careers, we both recognized the homogeneity of people in leadership positions and proactively started working for candidates to diversify and expand the status quo. We became inextricably more involved upon realizing that the NYC Council would have only 5 women remaining after the 2021 election cycle if serious efforts were not made to prioritize and help elect more women.

What do you think are the most important issues facing the United States today?
Basic kitchen table issues – inflation, education, healthcare/reproductive health, the opioid epidemic, housing, public safety and mass incarceration are some of the most important for our families, communities, children and future children. We are also as a country grappling with mental health and how to treat those who are most vulnerable.

What are you most looking forward to now that the elections are over? 
A lot of sleep and rejuvenation! Amelia served as a senior advisor for Governor Kathy Hochul and Yvette was the campaign manager for Attorney General Letitia James. We are looking forward to watching them lead and succeed and also to elevating other women into leadership roles. We are also very excited to help maintain the women-led majority in the City Council during the 2023 election cycle and get more women elected.

Ana María Archila

Ana María Archila

Senior Advisor, The Action Lab

Ana María Archila

Ana María Archila has been a leader in New York and nationally in the fight for immigrant rights, worker justice, LGBTQ+ rights, and women’s rights for two decades. Born in Colombia, Ana María immigrated to the U.S. and co-founded and led several grassroots progressive organizations, including Make the Road New York and the Center for Popular Democracy, and has dedicated her life to fighting for the rights and dignity of working people. In 2022, she was a Democratic candidate for New York Lieutenant Governor.

What motivated you to pursue a career in politics?
I love building power that belongs to people. My work of 20 years building people’s organizations is a way of doing politics from the outside. I ran for Lt. Governor because, after the pandemic ravaged immigrant communities and communities of color, I couldn’t sit quietly while Albany failed to address the housing crisis, exclude immigrant workers from basic protections, and continue to ask working families to give and give, while the billionaires take and take.

What do you think are the most important issues facing the United States today?
I am deeply concerned about the concentration of wealth and power of a handful of billionaires who have a stranglehold of our economy and our politics—using their money to deprive working people of what they need, while fueling reactionary and racist politics to divide and distract us. We have to support the rights and needs of workers over these billionaires, and level the playing field of our democracy.

What are you most looking forward to now that the elections are over? 
I really enjoyed campaigning, and I am filled with gratitude for the many ways that New Yorkers of all stripes shared their stories, ideas, and brilliance with me. I am also excited to keep fighting to make sure that in New York, one of the richest states in the country, everyone has a dignified home, a living wage, excellent schools, affordable childcare, and more. I’m also very excited to spend time with my beautiful kids!

Juan Ardila

Juan Ardila

Assembly Member, New York State Assembly

Juan Ardila

Juan Ardila is a lifelong Queens resident with the heart and soul for public service. As a first-generation New Yorker and as the son of a Colombian father and an Honduran-Cuban mother, Juan understands the hardships of working-class families in this state. Juan worked as a consultant at the NYCDOE, expanding universal pre-K and the 3-K for All program. Most recently, Juan was at the Legal Aid Society, where he worked to ensure that New Yorkers have access to legal representation.

What motivated you to pursue a career in politics?
When I was 17, my mother was unjustly denied her residency and nearly deported. A few years later, my family in Central America faced persecution from gang violence. Rather than lose hope, I resolved by channeling the fear and trauma of almost losing my family into a career in public service. That’s why I am committed to protecting other families and vulnerable communities so that no one has to face the fear I endured.

What do you think are the most important issues facing the United States today?
I think climate and housing are huge issues that are impacting people in the country on a daily basis. We need to ensure that housing is implemented as a human right, not a speculative investment. In addition, we must ensure that we are preserving a livable habitat for human flourishing, for this and for future generations, and enact the policies that will sustain the earth and biodiversity.

What are you most looking forward to now that the elections are over?
I am very excited to represent such a diverse and vibrant district in the State Assembly. I want to make sure we are pushing for a progressive & inclusive Queens that works for everyone. From issues ranging from housing, to climate, to employment, to transit, making sure Queens families are set up for success will be my priority.

 

Joann Ariola

Joann Ariola

Council Member, New York City Council | District Leader, Queens County GOP

Joann Ariola

Council Member Joann Ariola represents District 32, where she is a lifelong resident. Elected in 2021, Council Member Ariola is a member of the Republican Minority Caucus as well as the Common-Sense Caucus within the Council. In addition to her role as council member, Ariola also serves as a district leader for the Queens County GOP. In her role she represents the 23rd Assembly District which includes Broad Channel, Hamilton Beach, Howard Beach, Ozone Park, Lindenwood, and Rockaway.

 

Jamaal T. Bailey

Jamaal T. Bailey

Senator, New York State Senate | Chair, Bronx Democratic Party

Jamaal T. Bailey

Senator Jamaal T. Bailey represents New York’s 36th State Senate District which includes the  Bronx neighborhoods of Norwood, Bedford Park, Williamsbridge, Co-op City, Wakefield and Baychester and the Westchester city of Mount Vernon. Senator Bailey also serves as chair of the executive committee of the Bronx Democratic Party. Within his role at the Bronx Democratic party, Senator Bailey works alongside other members towards their collective mission of electing democrats throughout the Bronx who will champion progressive causes and fight for Bronx residents.

Berger Hirschberg Strategies
Pictured: Stephanie Berger

Berger Hirschberg Strategies

Stephanie Berger, President | Josh Arker, Associate Partner | Annie Weir, Associate Partner

Berger Hirschberg Strategies
Pictured: Stephanie Berger

Stephanie Berger laid the groundwork for Berger Hirschberg Strategies by working as a political fundraiser for 16 years. She served as the California finance director for Al Gore’s presidential campaign, finance director for the Democratic National Convention, and finance director for John Kerry. Throughout her career, she has launched successful strategies for high-profile political candidates and advocacy organizations, helping to elect public officials nationwide and elevating public awareness on critical issues, such as education, and the environment. Annie Weir is an independent fundraising consultant who develops and executes fundraising strategies for a variety of non-profit and political clients. Her current and past clients include State Senator Mike Gianaris, State Senator Brad Hoylman, former New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Congress Member Sean Patrick Maloney, Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, and the American Foundation for Equal Rights.

What do you think are the most important issues facing the United States today?
Voting rights, economic equality, and women’s empowerment – Stephanie Berger

 

BerlinRosen (Left to right: Valerie Berlin and Isaac Goldberg)
Left to right: Issac Goldberg, Valerie Berlin

BerlinRosen

Valerie Berlin, Principal and Co-Founder | Isaac Goldberg, Executive Vice President

BerlinRosen (Left to right: Valerie Berlin and Isaac Goldberg)
Left to right: Issac Goldberg, Valerie Berlin

Valerie Berlin is a principal and co-founder at BerlinRosen providing strategy and communications counsel across the firm’s practice areas, with an emphasis on public affairs, social impact, philanthropy, and campaigns and elections. Valerie partners with clients and funders to design, build, and scale major initiatives, and her expertise has helped elect Democrats across 21 states. Isaac Goldberg is an experienced campaign strategist who develops and runs paid media programs for presidential, Senate, congressional, and municipal campaigns, leading BerlinRosen’s work for Pete for America and the effort to elect progressive prosecutors across the country. He is recognized as the go-to Democratic political consultant for winning tough suburban races around New York, including victories for County Executives Steve Bellone and Laura Curran. 

What motivated you to pursue a career in politics?
At the risk of being sappy, I wanted to try and make the world a better place–which is still true today. Along the way, I fell in love with my colleagues, the strategy, the tactics, and the joy that comes from winning and making a difference. – Isaac Goldberg  

What do you think are the most important issues facing the United States today?
Achieving success in America just never gets easier. Housing costs are skyrocketing everywhere, health care and college costs are almost laughable, and the institutional barriers that make it harder for women and people of color grow as fast as they shrink. – Isaac Goldberg  

What are you most looking forward to now that the elections are over?
We always take a vacation after Election Day (this year to Mexico City and Oaxaca) and celebrate the holidays with my in-laws in Iowa. My wife and I are also expecting our first baby girl this Spring–which will certainly keep us busy!  – Isaac Goldberg  

Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn

Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn

Majority Whip, New York State Assembly | Chair, Kings County Democratic County Committee

Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn

Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn is the assembly member and district leader for New York State’s 42nd Assembly District representing Flatbush, East Flatbush, Midwood, and Ditmas Park in Brooklyn. At the start of the new legislative session in January, she was also appointed the key role of New York State Assembly Majority Whip in the Democratic-controlled legislature. She is the first Black woman to lead a county party in New York City as chair of the Kings County Democratic County Committee, one of the largest county parties in America, where she was re-elected for a second term in October. Born and raised in Brooklyn, Assembly Member Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn is the first Haitian American woman elected in New York City. 

What motivated you to pursue a career in politics? 
I was raised with three siblings by a working mother in the District I represent and I dealt with many hardships, including getting hit by a speeding car – leaving me with permanent injuries – and being sexually assaulted that same year at the age 10. I turned that pain into purpose through higher education and career accomplishments, with the goal to help by passing laws for a safer and better quality of life.

What do you think are the most important issues facing the United States today? 
America is so diverse—I can’t fit all our issues in here, but one I’m focused on is economic equity and the opportunity for my constituents to participate. The looming recession is only going to exacerbate the economic woes and divide. As chair of the MWBE oversight committee, I recently got my law passed to increase business opportunities for those who have been denied their fair share. I’m also focused on passing more legislation in the upcoming session, and I’m laser-focused on the laws I’ve introduced on health equity and maternal care.

What are you most looking forward to now that the elections are over?
First is spending even more time with my two-month newborn Daniel Jean Jacques. Politically, I am looking forward to uniting Democrats from all corners of Brooklyn as the county leader and to usher in a new era for our borough. With GOP election threats gone (for now) and the Brooklyn Democratic Party elections over, we have over 1.3 million Democrats who can stop fighting Republicans and each other to unify and better our borough, city and state. As Majority Whip, I will relentlessly work to ensure that our esteemed legislators are united and laser-focused on aiding their constituents and uplifting all New Yorkers.

Blue State
Left to right: Joe Rospars, Tessa Simonds

Blue State

Joe Rospars, Co-Founder and CEO | Tessa Simonds, Managing Partner

Blue State
Left to right: Joe Rospars, Tessa Simonds

Joe Rospars founded Blue State, an award-winning agency sought by organizations around the world for creative strategies to mobilize people. Blue State has raised more than three billion dollars for charities, causes, and campaigns. Joe previously served as chief strategist for Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign and was the top digital strategist overseeing Barack Obama’s groundbreaking campaigns in 2008 and 2012. Tessa leads Blue State’s work for political campaigns and committees. As a veteran organizer and campaign strategist, Tessa brings over a decade of experience building organizing and digital programs for progressive candidates, political committees, and advocacy organizations, including Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign. Before Blue State, Tessa was senior advisor for digital organizing on the Biden-Harris National Coordinated Campaign at the DNC. 

What motivated you to pursue a career in politics?
An unhinged Republican-led march to war in Iraq and the obvious corporate plundering of our common purpose, along with a captured Democratic leadership that thought it clever and strategic to loudly cheer on both. – Joe Rospars

The US needs to invest more in public education and public higher education. Attending community college put me on the path of having a career in politics and advocacy that I love—working to increase funding for public higher education in Massachusetts as a student in public colleges and universities put me on the way to career in politics and government. – Tessa Simonds

What do you think are the most important issues facing the United States today?
The fight ahead is the same fight we’ve had since the beginning—whether patriarchal white supremacy and entrenched wealth control our government, or whether we have a political system that is responsive to the multi-racial coalition of people who want an America that works for everybody. – Joe Rospars

We need to invest more time and resources into protecting our democracy and ensuring voting rights for all. –Tessa Simonds

What are you most looking forward to now that the elections are over?
The elections are never over. Seriously: when one of the two main political parties has decided to dispute election results with bad-faith lies, violent insurrection, and nihilistic attempts to grind government to a halt, despite what so many candidates/staff/volunteers need for their own lives and mental health, unfortunately “election season” never ends. – Joe Rospars

Alec Brook-Krasny

Alec Brook-Krasny

Assembly Member, New York State Assembly

Alec Brook-Krasny

Alec Brook-Krasny was born in Moscow to a shoemaker and a bookkeeper who worked at a beauty salon. Brook-Krasny attended the Moscow Technological Institute and graduated with dual degrees in Engineering and Economics. After arriving in Brooklyn, speaking only 21 words of English, where he already had relatives, he became a stock person at an East Village shoe store. As his English skills improved, he was promoted to manager, and eventually became an award-winning entrepreneur, founding director of a non-profit, and a long-time community leader, husband, and father of three.

What motivated you to pursue a career in politics?
I became acquainted with Councilman Howard Lasher and Assemblyman Jules Polonetsky, who appointed me to Community Board 13. Two years later, my hard work and leadership were recognized and I was elected treasurer of Community Board 13. In 2000, I ran for NYS Assembly and set a record for 1,800 write-in votes. With public service still a strong desire, I founded the Council of Jewish Émigré Community Organizations, providing programs for the community.

What do you think are the most important issues facing the United States today?
I understand the needs of small businesses. New York must become the engine of growth that is supportive of businesses, setting a nationwide model. Too many wasteful programs benefit from business taxation, but over-taxing businesses is not a solution. A solid core basic education system is an important issue. We need a system that will teach our children to be independent and productive adults. It’s also time that our elected officials stop siding with criminals and start siding with law-abiding citizens who want to live their lives in safety and peace.

What are you most looking forward to now that the elections are over?
I’m looking forward to spending time with my family and returning to the New York State Assembly to continue the work I started. It’s been an interesting election, and I am happy to see that hard work and dedication, especially from those that helped me, brought in a win. This is a victory for all the people of New York’s 46th Assembly district–the voters chose and I am grateful to them for their trust in me.