New York Jewish Life has increasingly become an important read for New York’s diverse Jewish communities, as well as an important part of the New York media landscape. With the backgrounds of our founders and our coverage so deeply entrenched in city, state, federal, and global politics and policy, New York Jewish Life feels compelled to weigh in on important races taking place this upcoming Democratic Primary Day in New York. While NYJL may not subscribe to the following candidates’ entire platforms, we believe they will best serve their communities’ interests and the interests of our readers.
For Kings County District Attorney — NYJL endorses Eric Gonzalez. With the passing of Ken Thompson, a truly transformative district attorney, his former deputy Eric Gonzalez has stepped into the late Mr. Thompson’s big shoes in stride. A lifelong resident of Brooklyn with over 20 years in the Kings County D.A.’s office, Gonzalez has continually demonstrated that he is up to the challenge and ready to build on the legacies of his predecessors. Whether working to allocate resources to protect immigrants and the undocumented, or reviewing and overturning wrongful convictions, Gonzalez has shown that Brooklyn can, and should, lead on national criminal justice and social issues from a law-enforcement standpoint. With much of the country in a state of turmoil and transition in the criminal-justice and law-enforcement–policy arenas, NYJL strongly endorses Eric Gonzalez—amid a field of very qualified contenders—for Kings County district attorney to continue to move Brooklyn and the country forward.
In Council District 2 — NYJL endorses Carlina Rivera. As the chairperson of Community Board 3 and former legislative director for current Councilmember Rosie Mendez, Rivera is well positioned to represent the community in which she grew up; she is a lifelong resident of the Lower East Side. In a district that has undergone dramatic changes and development, a lifelong resident who has worked on important issues such as housing and education is the right choice for CD-2.
In Council District 5 — NYJL endorses Ben Kallos. Ben has done yeoman’s work pushing for increased transparency in city government. After spending his childhood at Rabbi Arthur Schneier Day School, he worked with Assemblyman Jonathan Bing and Public Advocate Mark Green. As such, Kallos has a long history in the communities he represents, performing public service and possessing an understanding of the machinations of city government. The people of CD-5 will be well served by voting for Ben Kallos in the upcoming Democratic primary.
In Council District 6 — NYJL endorses Helen Rosenthal. She replaced Gale Brewer in 2013 and has served with distinction since then. A long-time member of Community Board 7, Rosenthal has shown a clear interest in the communities she serves, with a focus on health and social issues. She has also served in both Democratic and Republican administrations, which is becoming an increasingly rare feat among New York City’s elected officials.
In Council District 7 — NYJL endorses Mark Levine. As a leading contender for the speakership, Levine has shown his qualifications to his constituents and colleagues. As chair of the New York City Council Jewish Caucus, he has been a strong voice on issues of importance to the city’s diverse Jewish communities. This is of particular consequence given the current climate of anti-Semitism spreading across the country. Moreover, Levine’s opponent has blamed Jews for long-standing housing problems and other issues in his official campaign material and in public speeches. NYJL strongly encourages voting for Mark Levine in the upcoming primary.
In Council District 13 — NYJL endorses Mark Gjonaj. Currently serving as an Assembly member in the district, he has a unique understanding of the district and local government. A lifelong resident of the Bronx, the son of Albanian immigrants and a former small-business owner, Gjonaj is the clear choice to serve the residents of Council District 13.
In Council District 21 — NYJL endorses Francisco Moya. Moya—who has the backing of many current Council members, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, countless labor unions, community groups and more—is far and away the best choice in the Democratic primary in Council District 21. His history of fighting for policies like the DREAM Act, a $15 minimum wage, and other important labor and immigrant protections is unmatched. Again, at a fraught time for New York’s immigrant and minority populations, it has never been more important to elect Council members who will fight for these populations within our communities. While we could focus on his opponent’s shortcomings, we believe Moya’s strengths stand on their own. The only choice for Council District 21 is Francisco Moya.
In Council District 30 — NYJL endorses Liz Crowley. With decades of diverse experience and a long-standing connection to the community she currently serves, Crowley is the right choice in the upcoming Democratic primary in Council District 30. This is a key moment in city, state and federal government for women to have a seat at the table. Having served as co-chair of the City Council Women’s Caucus, she brings an understanding of how best to advocate for women’s issues in city government. Council District 30 would be well served by sending Crowley back to the Council.
In Council District 45 — NYJL endorses Jumaane Williams. Williams is one of the hardest-working Council members in New York City. As co-chair of the Council’s progressive caucus, he has been a part of important advocacy work and reforms in New York City. As a man of faith, he has deftly balanced the needs of his community with his own personal beliefs on important social issues—which is of deep importance to our readers. A rising star that has risen.
In Council District 48 — NYJL endorses Chaim Deutsch. While a primary between Kalman Yeger and Chaim Deutsch would certainly have been a race to watch, Yeger is now poised to take over David Greenfield’s seat. Jewish voices in the City Council are key to advocating for issues of importance to the diverse Jewish communities of New York City. The constituents of the 48th Council District would be well served by voting for Deutsch on Primary Day.
In Council District 43 — In both the Democratic and Republican primaries there are excellent options. Justin Brannan, Nancy Tong, Kevin Peter Carroll and Rev. Kader El Yateem have energized and enlisted new voters in what looks to be a robust turnout in a well-contested Democratic primary. In the Republican primary, John Quaglione and Liam McCabe are both very qualified candidates, and have also energized and enlisted new Republican voters in this unique district. With so many choices, NYJL can easily say the clear winner on Primary Day is democracy and the residents of Council District 43.