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NEW YORK STATE Working Families Party: 2019 Local Candidate Questionnaire

The Moment We're In

Donald Trump’s presidency has been a disaster for working families across New York and across the nation. He has cut taxes on the wealthy, tilted the Supreme Court to the far right, and ramped up attacks on immigrants, Muslims, women, and transgender people. The fact that the Republican Party has embraced his presidency should surprise no one, since many in that party have long used race, gender, immigration status and sexual orientation to divide and conquer.

New York state is firmly in Democratic control, for the first time in generations, with the exception of a few short and chaotic stretches. The legislature has already begun taking action to oppose Trump. While we welcome that action, we are clear that opposing Trump alone isn’t enough. New Yorkers deserve leaders who will fight for a state rooted in equality, solidarity, compassion and justice -- and seek bold solutions that tackle the causes of the structural crises we face, from runaway inequality to structural racism to looming climate change to a democracy broken by the influence of big money.

New Yorkers deserve leaders who will choose to stand with working families even as powerful interests seek access and power in the Democratic Party. Will Democrats speak clearly and effectively to the needs of people of color, women, young people, LGBTQ people and working class people?  Will they embrace a bold progressive agenda to transform our economy from one that helps the rich get richer into an economy that truly works for all of us and a society in which we can all thrive?

The Working Families Party was formed in 1998 by a coalition of community and labor organizations, grassroots activists and progressive elected officials who believe that working families need a party of our own to stand up and fight for us -- to fight against the the power of corporations and the wealthy in our democracy and in both major political parties.  We are an independent, people-driven political party fighting for a New York (and a nation) that works for the many, not just the powerful few.

In the country we want to live in, all families have a roof over their heads, access to good healthcare, and the means to live healthy and stable lives. Jobs pay living wages and workers have the right to organize unions free from intimidation and coercion. People are free to walk down the streets without fear of their immigration status or the color of their skin. All children have great public schools and the supports necessary to realize their full potential. Our air, water and land are free from disease-causing pollution and we are taking measures to protect our communities from the impact of climate change commensurate to the threat it poses. The government serves the people, not corporations.  And human rights and protections are extended to everyone.

This past November, the Working Families Party realized one of our long held goals in New York: a Democratic and WFP majority in the State Senate. This was not inevitable, and the smart money believed we couldn’t win. Nevertheless, with the wind of an incredible base of volunteer power at their backs, seven WFP-backed progressives defeated seven corporate-backed incumbents in Democratic primaries. Then, in the general election, WFP supported progressives who felled entrenched incumbent Republicans as well as won in open seats.

Now, progressives have a chance to show another way forward. No longer will the real estate industry and the wealthy have automatic veto power over decisions in Albany.  But that doesn't mean progress will be easy: Preventing working class New Yorkers from being priced out of their homes will be a battle royale. Fighting for bold climate change legislation will face serious opposition. End mass incarceration will take courage to grapple with structural racism. Fair funding for all our schools and universities will require us to challenge elected officials and  wealthy New Yorkers to pay their fair share. Winning these policies, and the many others that we need to build a New York for all of us, will require a strong progressive movement.

It starts at the local level. Across New York State, thousands of local elected leaders can play a critical role advocating for these policies and more to improve the lives of working families. From protecting our environment to advocating for our schools and young people, to making meaningful reforms at the local level to reduce mass incarceration and protect our immigrant neighbors, there is so much that we can do together.

In 2019, the New York WFP is looking to support progressive candidates who will fight for bold and concrete proposals to improve the lives of all New Yorkers. If this describes you, please fill out the candidate questionnaire below and tell us why you should receive our endorsement.