By Bill Parry
Jackson Heights resident Jessica Ramos officially launched her campaign to challenge state Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) in the Democratic primary next fall.
Ramos announced her candidacy on the one-year anniversary of Peralta’s defection to the Independent Democratic Conference in an alliance with Senate Republicans allowing the GOP to maintain a majority and block progressive legislation such as the DREAM Act and the Reproductive Health Act.
“One year ago today, the bigot in the White House announced a travel ban on majority Muslim countries, targeting our fellow Queens residents and making them feel unsafe,” Ramos said. “That same day, our senator — who calls himself a Democrat — joined the conference that concedes control of our senate to Republicans. The Senate Republicans have the power because they have his vote. Today, we say it is time for a real Democrat to represent us in the state Senate.”
Ramos, 32, a married mother of two, resigned as Director of Latino Media at City Hall last month to launch her campaign. She is a strong labor advocate with deep experience championing union rights having worked with Build Up NYC to fight for construction, building, hotel and maintenance workers in New York City and served as a Democratic District leader from 2010 to 2014.
“As a mother of two, Queens native, and MTA rider, I know our community needs a real Democrat in Albany to fight for stronger schools, affordable health care, and a subway system that actually works,” Ramos said, surrounded by several dozen supporters in sub-freezing temperatures across from PS 69, where her sons go to school. “Now more than ever, state government should be our defensive line against the Trump White House — but instead, our state senator is siding with Republicans to block single-payer health care, the DREAM Act, and more. I am a real Democrat, and I will vote with my party.”
Meanwhile, Peralta marked the anniversary of his switch to the IDC by calling it a “successful year” in which he secured more than $5 million in state funds for local schools and community based organizations; answered nearly 2,000 constituent calls; and had bills signed into law to combat lead paint chips falling from the 7 train and the alienation of parkland to build a 300-seat pre-K school in Flushing Meadow Corona Park. He also delivered a $10 million legal defense fund to protect immigrants.
“Since I decided to join the Independent Democratic Conference exactly one year ago, I now have a seat at the table that allows me to deliver more and better services for my community,” Peralta said. “Clearly, this was an extremely effective year, both in terms of legislation and bringing much-needed resources to my constituents. My focus is on delivering for my community, whether it’s by bringing state funding for our schools and local organizations, or by passing crucial legislation.”
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr