by Jocelyn Jane Cox
Raise your hand if you’re having “trust issues” when it comes to politicians. Raise your hand if it seems to you like politics has become a shameless money grab. Raise your hand if you’re sick and tired of special interests and corporate funding dictating policies and laws affecting women’s bodies, gun safety, health care, and voter reform. Raise your hand if you’re ready for a change in Albany, and for an end to back room deals. I’m raising all of my hands over here in Clarkstown (which is admittedly making it difficult to type).
These are just a few of the reasons why I’m frustrated with the status quo and, in turn, excited about the candidacy of Julie Goldberg, who is running for State Senate against David Carlucci here in the 38th District. The NY Primary is on Thursday, September 13. Go figure: a Thursday! This is apparently due to the Tuesday of that week falling on both September 11, and also Rosh Hashanah.
Goldberg, who lives with her husband in Chestnut Ridge, is a mother of two and a school librarian with graduate degrees in Education, Literature, and also Library and Information Science. Though she has long been an activist and an engaged voter, this is her first bid for public office…and she is on fire.
I was in New City on the day she announced her candidacy. She explained, to rousing applause, “As a librarian, I care about knowledge, and truth. In my work with high school students and teachers, I teach technology and research skills, as well as news, information, and media literacy. I show people how to distinguish truth from truthiness, propaganda, deception, and plain old lies. Hunting down the truth is a librarian’s superpower.”
Considering what’s going on at the federal level and also in Albany, I’m heartened that Goldberg’s campaign is based on the truth: seeking it, revealing it, and sticking to it.
Additionally, her campaign is entirely powered by the grass roots. In lieu of big money and big mailers, local volunteers have been canvassing all over the district for her. My friends have been leaving their kids with their partners for dinnertime and bedtime in order to knock on doors in their “Julie” T-shirts. A dedicated group of people are making the phone calls and hand writing postcards. In fact, you may have received a postcard from me, which I wrote while on vacation in Ohio, sitting at my in-law’s dining room table, brandishing some stylish red, blue, and green pens.
You may have also received a handwritten postcard from someone located elsewhere in the country. This was a big deal: a group called Postcards to Voters picked up Goldberg’s campaign. With over 20,000 volunteers, this group organizes postcard writing efforts for Democratic candidates in key races around the country. They don’t usually get involved in primaries but they make “exceptions most notably when the incumbent Democrat had a Republican voting record.” Impressed by her mission, volunteers sent out approximately 65,000 postcards to registered Democrats in District 38 in a matter of days. Indeed, Julie Goldberg is inspiring a lot of us.
I’m grateful, along with many others in the district, that Julie Goldberg has stepped up to the plate because we like living in what we consider to be a “blue state.” Unfortunately, what I’ve discovered in the last few years about the state senate, the IDC debacle, and the shady funding situations, is that New York is not in actuality as progressive as I thought. Sadly, laws that would help so many of us have passed through the state assembly but have languished in the Senate. I’m talking about laws that would help to fully fund our public schools, protect the environment, expand health care to all New Yorkers, address criminal justice reform and ensure women’s reproductive rights. Sure, bills get “introduced,” bills get “endorsed,” but in the end: not enough follow-through (or none at all). It feels like its all for show.
All of this has really forced me to double down on my long-held belief that corporate money needs to be kept out of politics. I get it: money makes the world go ‘round. Money pays for slick mailers and advertisements galore. Money helps politicians keep their jobs, if they’ve decided to make politics their careers. But money from Real Estate and For-Profit Charter School Investors, for example, muddies the waters (ok, that’s an understatement) and can make an incumbent’s bankroll more important than his constituents’ actual needs. I can no longer support a candidate with that mindset.
I believe that Julie Goldberg will fight – I mean really fight, not just say she’s fighting – for the issues that are most dear to me, and to many of us. As an educator, she believes that all children deserve equitable education and that districts like Ossining and E. Ramapo deserve necessary funding and correct oversight immediately so that all students have an opportunity to thrive. She will push for voter reforms, such as early voting and online voter registration, laws that will make voting easier. She will push for gun safety measures such as The Effective Background Check and a Ban on Bump Stocks. I trust that she will work to pass the Gender Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) and other legislation that will protect and support the LGBTQ community. The list goes on. In a nutshell, I trust that she will truly represent all of us. And she will do so with integrity.
Julie Goldberg and David Carlucci faced off at a debate hosted by the NAACP at the Nyack Center last week. It was clear to me that David Carlucci has become very accustomed to justifying his actions to disappointed constituents. It was also clear that Julie Goldberg has what it takes to both win this election and lead our state into a better, more equitable place. Julie Goldberg won the room that night, and, I suspect that she and her highly-motivated volunteers are steadily winning her a lot of votes around the district.
Jocelyn Jane Cox lives in Valley Cottage.
See also: Democrats Should Value Carlucci’s Principles More Than Politics, 9/9/2018