Bertha Lewis: Why I’m Voting WFP

Bertha LewisI’ve been with the Working Families Party since the very beginning. And just like in any family, I know that sometimes we are going to disagree.

Four months ago, I stood in front of the WFP state convention to nominate Zephyr Teachout for governor. I supported Zephyr’s Democratic primary campaign over the summer, and I’m proud of what we accomplished. The majority of WFP state committee members made a different choice, which I also respect, to forge a new coalition to win a Democratic-Working Families majority in the Senate and pass policies like raising the minimum wage and campaign finance reform — important changes that will make our state a fairer, more decent place for millions of New Yorkers.

But as in all families, there is a time for disagreement — and a time for coming together.

That’s why I’m joining with progressives across our state to vote on the WFP line this November.

Other people may vote personalities, but I believe it’s also important to vote for the party — it’s only through organized people that we will transform our state.

For 16 years now, the Working Families Party has provided a place on the New York ballot where working families from upstate, downstate, and all across the state could join together in support of a common agenda of fairness and equality. Way back in 1998, the Amsterdam News put it best:

“Imagine a political party that unites Caribbean and Latino low-wage workers in Brooklyn with white pipe-and-steam fitters from Buffalo. Imagine that party proposing good jobs at living wages, affordable housing, access to child and healthcare — and meaning it.”

Over these past 16 years, we’ve been more successful than I could have ever imagined. Taking on some powerful opponents, we’ve helped win increases in the state minimum wage, the passage and extension of a millionaire’s tax, reform of the Rockefeller drug laws, paid sick days, an end to the abuse of stop-and-frisk in NYC, and so much more. Again and again, we have taken our progressive vision and made it real. And we have the chance to do even more this fall.

That’s why I’ve always voted WFP — and it’s why I am going to be voting on the WFP line again in November. Are you with me?

What you and I have built is more than just a ballot line. It is a force to be reckoned with. But we need to go even further. We need to build a more muscular, robust party — a party that can both help elect candidates to office who agree with us on a progressive platform and then, as FDR famously put it, “make them do it.”

I believe 2014 is a real turning point for our state. So don’t get lost in the Democratic sauce — let’s show all of Albany our strength on the WFP line in November, and make sure our momentum and our party both keep growing.

Bertha Lewis
Founding Co-Chair, Working Families Party