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Photo: Max Parrott/QNS
The campaign launch party of Rep. Carolyn Maloney (r.) featured an endorsement from California Rep. Eric Swalwell.

Fourteen-term Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney held her official 2020 campaign launch for New York’s 12th Congressional District on Wednesday, Jan. 22.

Maloney touted her recent legislative record and made the case for her re-election based on her appointment as the first female chair of the House Oversight Committee.

The launch party featured an endorsement from special guest Congressman Eric Swallwell (D-CA), whose outspoken stance on ending gun violence helped emphasize Maloney’s record on gun control.

“I’ve got a record to run on, passing a lot of bills but I’m running for gun safety,” Maloney said in her speech. 

Over the summer, Maloney introduced a trio of bills that aim at promoting gun safety, which are expected to encounter roadblocks in the Republican-controlled Senate. On Wednesday, she argued that her new role as chair of the House Oversight Committee would represent a new approach to the issue: an investigation into NRA.

“One way to win this election is to crack down on their illegal transfers of money,” said Maloney.

She went on to cite several legislative accomplishments over the past year including the passage of the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund and the re-authorization of the Debbie Smith Act, a 2004 bill that provides funding for local governments to provide DNA analysis, including rape kits. 

She added that her platform in 2020 involves pushing for a Green New Deal, Medicare for All and infrastructure improvements in her district, which stretches over northern Brooklyn, Long Island City, Astoria and a large chunk of eastern Manhattan.

Maloney helped secure 85 percent of the funds of the $873 million new Kosciuszko Bridge connecting Greenpoint, Brooklyn, to Maspeth. Over the past year she has also rallied to build a new rail link that would provide direct access for LIRR riders from Sunnyside Yards to Grand Central Terminal.

The congresswoman chose to hold the launch party in a prototypical Long Island City office building that had been converted from an industrial manufacturing building.

After winning a competitive primary race against former Obama staffer Suraj Patel in 2018, Maloney’s opponents have multiplied in 2020. Patel will challenger her again, along with three other progressive insurgents including former J.P. Morgan employee and comedian Lauren Ashcraft, tenant organizer Peter Harrison, and activist Erica Vladimer.

The party also included endorsement speeches by Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Long Island City-based Bishop Mitchell Taylor, and Manhattan Councilmen Ben Kallos and Keith Powers. 

After thanking her supporters, Maloney ended her speech idiosyncratically by connecting the  amount of work to be done in her district to the average lifespan of a New Yorker.

“New Yorkers live longer than anyone in the country,” Maloney said. “I think we’re all just too busy to die. We have too much to accomplish to help people.”

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