Last year, as part of a grassroots effort to break insiders’ hold on the Democratic Party, I became a member of the Democratic County Committee. There I helped kick off a broad reform movement to open up the Party and limit the role of lobbyists and consultants in the leadership. If elected to the State Committee, I intend to continue that work at the State level. For as long as anyone can remember, the State Committee has been little more than a rubber stamp for the Party machine. If elected, I will challenge the party bosses in Albany with a focus on:
Reforming Campaign Spending
Arguably the most important role of the State Committee is its oversight of the Party's budget and fundraising activities. This money is meant to be spent on mobilizing a new generation of Democratic voters and on flipping seats in battleground districts, but for too long the leadership in Albany has treated it like a piggy bank, siphoning hundreds of thousands of dollars for their own campaigns. If elected I will push for new rules mandating an affirmative vote on any campaign spending and banning fundraising from corporations and lobbyists.
Fair Elections and Primaries
Whenever there is an election for statewide office - U.S. senator, governor, attorney general, etc. - the State Committee votes to endorse a candidate, with the favored candidate being "fast-tracked" onto the Democratic primary ballot. This creates an enormous, unfair advantage for candidates with ties to the Party leadership, as the losing candidates must go through a burdensome signature-gathering process. I believe all candidates should compete on a level playing field, and will adopt a policy that allows all serious candidates equal access to the ballot.
A Renewed Focus on Ethics
New York has one of the most corrupt State governments in the nation, with both parties' leaders implicated in "pay-to-play" scandals and other unethical activity. Earlier this year, a proposal to investigate accusations of misconduct against a high-ranking Democratic state senator was blocked by the Democratic Executive Committee. If elected, I will call for a new Independent Ethics Committee to look into complaints against Democratic Party officials and politicians so that our voters know they belong to a party with integrity.
A Progressive Platform, Locally and Nationally
The State Committee authors the New York Democratic Party's platform and selects the representatives who do the same at the national level. With the 2020 Presidential Election upon us, it is important that we have a strong, progressive platform in order to fight back against Republicans and to change the future of our Party and national leadership who will support a progressive vision in areas like health care, housing, women's health, and voting rights. I will build and uphold a more progressive platform for our State Party, and I will hold our national Party representatives accountable to do the same.