If we want to win a higher minimum wage for low-wage workers, we need a Democratic-Working Families majority in the State Senate. If we want comprehensive public financing of elections, we need a Democratic-Working Families majority in the State Senate. If we want to end policies that needlessly and disproportionately incarcerate young men of color for marijuana possession… well, you know what we need.
That’s exactly the WFP plan for November — and I hope we’ll have you with us by our side.
There are already positive signs that we’re on track to a more progressive State Senate next year. Consider these results from last night’s primaries:
- In Queens, WFP-endorsed Leroy Comrie resoundingly won against State Sen. Malcolm Smith, who is currently under indictment.
- In the Bronx, progressive champion State Sen. Gustavo Rivera, who unseated the corrupt Pedro Espada four years ago, held off a primary challenge.
- And in western NY, a split on the right means that WFP candidate Marc Panepinto now has an excellent chance to win a Republican-held seat in November.
Not every State Senate race went the way we had hoped. Some outstanding advocates for working families, like Dell Smitherman, ran terrific campaigns but unfortunately ended the evening coming up short.
But now, it’s on to November. If we can break the Republican-Conservative hold on the State Senate, lots of important changes in Albany are possible.
Of course, the big story last night was the battle at the top of the ticket.
Zephyr Teachout, who first emerged as a candidate at our convention earlier this summer, ran a spirited and important primary campaign that tapped a deep reservoir of progressive values, and we salute her for doing so. Primaries are healthy. Gov. Cuomo, to his credit, won the votes of a majority of Democrats last night in no small measure because he pledged to fully fight for a progressive platform. Those commitments include raising the state minimum wage and allowing local governments to raise it even higher, passing comprehensive public financing of elections, decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana, passing both a full Women’s Equality Agenda and Dream Act — and securing a Democratic-Working Families State Senate that will deliver on all of this.
We know that our fight is in many ways just beginning. It’s going to take all of us working together — community groups, labor, progressive organizations, and supporters like you — to take this vision of a New York that works for all of us and make it real next year.
It all starts with the State Senate.