By Mark Hallum
The Working Families Party and Bronx Congressman Jose Serrano endorsed state Assemblywoman Ari Espinal (D-Jackson Heights) Monday in her bid to hold the seat she won in a special election less than three months ago.
Citing their advocacy for the passage of the Dream Act at the state level and her stance on progressive issues, the Working Families Party said the 30-year-old Corona native will continue to push important legislation they advocate in favor of such as protecting the rights of workers. The Dream Act would protect undocumented young people brought to this country as children.
“Born and raised in this community, Assemblywoman Espinal has been an advocate for our working families and our progressive values throughout her career and has worked with us for years on the Dream Act. She has the drive and commitment to continue bringing important change in Albany,” said Juan Antigua, New York City political director of the Working Families Party.
Espinal won as the only candidate on the ballot in the April special election after receiving a nod of approval from the Queens Democratic Party chaired by U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-Jackson Heights). Crowley was later unseated in a stunning upset by insurgent Democratic Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, which launched the 28-year-old into the national spotlight.
“With Trump in the White House, our community and progressive values are under attack, and I will continue working hard at the state level to protect our immigrants, students, seniors, and working families from his bigoted and disastrous policies,” Espinal said.
But with Crowley all but fading from the forefront of the city’s political dynamic after his defeat, Espinal grabbed an endorsement from U.S. Rep. Serrano (D-Bronx) in the past week as well.
“Assemblywoman Ari Espinal has been a fighter for Queens throughout her life, and I am excited to support her as she runs for re-election. She truly understands the needs of her community and has dedicated her life to making a difference. She brings a strong voice to the Assembly,” Serrano said.
Espinal began her career in politics as director of constituent services for then-Assemblyman Francisco Moya when he served in the 39th District. Moya now serves in the City Council.
“She is a dedicated community leader and activist who has worked throughout her career to serve others,” Crowley said in his endorsement of Espinal in February. “Ari will be a fierce advocate for Queens families and I look forward to working with her.”
Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhall