Challengers vs. worthy challengers
by Emily Gallagher
Jun 26, 2018 | 1372 views | 0 0 comments | 69 69 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The congressional primary for North Brooklyn was held on Tuesday, and I voted for Carolyn Maloney.

As a progressive and someone concerned with good government reform, I am always happy to see a challenger in the race.

However, it is my belief that a good challenger is one who has a solid track record of civic engagement, a history of local involvement, and demonstrates that she or he has the wherewithal, the experience, and an informed and knowledgeable social network that will enable them to turn progressive values into actionable policy.

Many of us who have made community advocacy our lives have real concerns with the direction and leadership of our local Democratic Party. The party desperately needs fresh faces who are inspiring, politically attuned and policy smart.

We need more leaders that can stay true to a long-term vision for progressive change while navigating the practical realities of transactional politics. Unfortunately, Suraj Patel did not appear to be such a leader.

I had the chance to talk to Patel's policy director at a recent event, and I was flabbergasted to learn that his cohort had zero knowledge of the ways in which a congress person impacts local decision making.

In fact, I would even venture a guess that this policy director did not actually know how the local, state and federal levels work together. He kept parroting catch phrases instead of showing knowledge or interest in the inner workings of governmental affairs or the history of issues and advocacy in our community.

To choose a candidate at the highest level of office based on good visual design properties and feel-good, progressive catch phrases is not utilizing our due diligence.

We are at a far-too-critical time in our country's history to take a risk that is not calculated.

Maloney has strong knowledge, connections, and policymaking skill. So much of what she does to support our local issues, including strong anti-domestic violence protections, support for the homeless community, and proactive and meaningful land use issues, will never be on the national news, but they are effective and meaningful lawmaking for those of us here at home.

If you feel that Maloney is unresponsive to your concerns, reach out for a dialogue. But I felt we should stick with an experienced and proven leader and hold her accountable.

If she falls short, organize around a truly worthy challenger. This strategy is much more productive than voting an inexperienced and ill-informed candidate into office.
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