I begin this New Year kicking-off a campaign for the New York City Council in the district I have always called home. After serving nearly three years as the Bronx director for the Mayor’s public priorities, this bid for the New York City Council is in part an answer to President Obama’s recent call to action – at the most local level of government – so we all can become advocates and co-authors of A New Bronx Tale, one where progressive policies and opportunities are shaped and shared by all our neighbors.
This New Bronx Tale of leadership is needed now more than ever in order to counter the new abnormal of national hateful rhetoric against immigrants, Muslims, LGBTQ Americans, and women that has now reached out local election for city council. And as the son of an immigrant from the Dominican Republic, I empathize with the trepidation my Bangladeshi-Muslim neighbors’ voice after witnessing some local elected officials praise the most anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim president this country has ever seen.
As the only openly gay candidate in this race, I feel a special obligation to strengthen our advocacy by increasing the number of LGBTQ members on the City Council. To prepare for my run, I attended the Victory Institute’s Candidate & Campaign Training – it solidified my understanding of voter contact, messaging, budget priorities, and campaign management. This comprehensive campaign bootcamp has given the edge I need now as the only openly candidate in a competitive race for New York City Council. And as the only candidate in this race to have worked mentoring youth in Bronx public housing, I am able to approach the city’s public housing challenges from a uniquely human scale, as the new administration nominates the most controversial HUD Secretary ever.
As a proud alumnus of President Obama’s re-election campaign, our New Bronx Tale will offer a progressive grassroots contest of ideas to any fear mongering Trump appeaser looking for cheap sound bites with a divisive right-wing message.
Now more than ever – as progressives work to rebuild our bench – we cannot allow any candidate who remotely sounds like Trump to succeed. We need the children of immigrants and marginalized groups like the LGBTQ community to claim a stake in our democracy – beginning at the local level. Nor more than ever, we need the next generation of progressive Americans to set up and run for office; we need #ANewBronxTale.
Elvin Garcia, Candidate for New York City Council, District 18