Friends and Allies,
We launched our people-powered campaign knowing we’d be up against the powerful status quo, but the potential to bring a new voice to Washington was critical -- for our district, our city, and our nation. Most importantly, we knew we were joining a larger movement already in progress -- a cause much bigger than our one race. We consistently sought ways to best lend our voices, passions, and ambitions to that cause. Ultimately, the biggest question for us was: How could we best advance that larger mission of a more compassionate, inclusive, forward-thinking society?
The answer we’ve come to is a difficult one. And so today, with a broken heart, but with clear eyes and fierce determination to achieve those ultimate goals, the time has come for me to end my candidacy for Congress in NY-12.
I cannot thank you enough for your unwavering support through this transcendent process. I am so damn proud of what we accomplished over the past eight months. Together, we forced long-overdue conversations regarding the most critical issues facing our district. We helped center the voices of those previously relegated to the sidelines of our political processes.
We did that. You did that.
We shined a light on the places where our current elected officials fail to act in our best interests. We called out hypocrisy when we saw it. We exemplified what a new era of electoral politics should look like, especially in New York City, the progressive capital of America. And we indeed made the case that our leaders should always use that core belief to drive everything they do on behalf of their constituents.
We did that. You did that.
But there is still so much more work to be done, and I need you to know that I will never end my fight for a more just society. Here are just a few things on my immediate agenda:
Real talk: I am ending my run in part because we have a corrupt federal campaign finance system that might as well be called an incumbent protection program. Status quo politicians refuse to make meaningful reforms because they know that banning corporate PAC money and instituting a matching funds program would level the playing field for insurgents, threatening their safe, lofty perches. I will continue to call bullshit on this stifling of new voices and work with groups like Common Cause to fix this inequity.
Our elected officials continue to ignore or feign helplessness when it comes to addressing gender-based violence, pointing at everyone else to come up with solutions. This is a national, public health crisis that I have already dedicated my life to fighting, and that battle continues with my allies at Reform the Sex Crimes Unit, Know Your IX, the Sexual Harassment Working Group, and so many more.
I spent much of this campaign without health insurance and, as a result, often in a significant amount of pain because I could not access the care I need for my endometriosis. I’m not holding myself up as some kind of hero for fighting through that, because millions of Americans have it far worse. But my personal experience has only intensified my belief that We 👏 Need 👏 Medicare 👏 For 👏 All 👏. I will continue to shout this from the rooftops until everyone has high-quality, free health care. Campaign for New York Health and Center for Popular Democracy, expect a call from me soon.
If we want real systemic reform, we need to find ways to work together, not against each other. Forming candidate slates and promoting common platforms -- coalition building -- is what’s needed. We must call-in those who kowtow to machine politics when our movement needs them the most. I witnessed, and was even on the receiving end of, the divisiveness, expediency, and cowardice in today’s politics. It was personally painful to see in action, but eye-opening -- and ultimately inspirational. So I am committed to working with those candidates who embody the unwavering boldness needed in an enlightened democracy.
It couldn’t be clearer that we need more committed advocates and fewer career politicians in office. To that end, and finally, I am going to use my experience to help elect Congressmembers who are committed to our true progressive values; to secure a supermajority in the New York State Senate; to build a State Assembly chamber that’s as progressive as our Senate, and to bolster like-minded candidates for City Council in 2021. If you pour your heart and soul into fighting for a more compassionate, inclusive, forward-thinking society, I will fight alongside you.
Two special thank yous are in order: To the amazing Zephyr Teachout for her endorsement and inspiration. I know I will continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with this Jedi Master of social justice for years to come, speaking truth to power. I also feel an overwhelming debt of gratitude to Downtown Independent Democrats for walking the walk and endorsing me. Your leadership as the only local political club so far to endorse a first-time, truly progressive candidate exemplifies the very kind of movement we are building here in New York.
A personal journey has ended, but a lifelong mission continues. Neither would be possible without your trust and support. So from the bottom of my heart, thank you. All of you. And believe me when I say this is not goodbye.
I’ll see you out there.
In strength and determination,