2021 Endorsements – Sneak Peek

Our Endorsement Process

We believe that New York State and our entire country should work for all of us, not just a greedy few. Our endorsements work to move us closer to that vision of the future in many ways, including leadership in elected office and through policies that will actually change people’s lives.

All candidates we endorse are dedicated to fighting for everyday working people and our communities. They live and legislate by their values. They are deeply connected to the people they serve. And they aren’t afraid to use their power to move the needle forward — even if it goes against the status quo.

When we endorse, we put a lot of weight behind them to make sure our candidates are successful. We primarily endorse candidates in races where our involvement can have the most impact and where we already have a base. The amount of support varies for each race we’re involved in, but could be in the form of phone calls, knocking on doors, sending texts, running social media ads, or sending out mailers.

On rare occasions, we might support a candidate who doesn’t completely meet our ideal standards for an endorsement, but the opposing candidates in the race winning would mean an unacceptable setback to our goals and our movement.

Because of the time and energy we put into our endorsements, we have to be sure we’re making the right decision. Our endorsement process is guided by our values as an organization, as well as a deep consideration of what our involvement in each race would make possible for our communities. We invest a lot into each stage of this process, and we engage all areas of our organization, including staff, members, and students, through final endorsement decisions.

While we do not have a single fixed requirement by which we endorse candidates, we do consider questions like:

Is this candidate aligned with our values as an organization?

If elected, what power will this person have to champion the interests of everyday people?

How will this race shift power in this electoral body and in the state?

Could our involvement be the deciding factor of which candidate wins the race?

Do they have a path to victory?

Our first and only commitment is to our communities. Candidates we endorse will not only believe the same, but they will prove it through their actions. That means the candidate uses all the tools in their toolbox — their voice, platform, and power — to push us towards a more just future for all people.

Politics is also a shifting landscape. Gaining our support once doesn’t mean you’ll have it again the next time around. If another candidate in the race emerges that is more aligned with our values and priorities, we will consider them.

 2021 Endorsements 

Genesis Ramos

Orange County Legislator, District 6

Genesis is running to change lives and make history as the first woman of color in the Orange County Legislature. After growing up in Newburgh in a working-class immigrant family, Genesis  has dedicated her career to serving struggling families. So many of the issues they faced were the direct result of policy. Now, she’s fighting to change those policies — to put people before the profits of corporations and developers who push people out of their homes, pollute our water and air, and keep healthcare out of reach. 

Giselle Martinez

Newburgh City Council, Ward 1

Giselle is a young and fearless progressive. Growing up in Newburgh as the daughter of working class immigrants, Giselle’s seen and experienced the injustices of a city without good-paying jobs for all and with rising rents and discrimination. Now, she’s decided to fight back. Giselle has worked in federal and state government, and volunteered with us and many other organizations to make life better for everyone. Giselle is running for City Council so that the people who make up Newburgh can afford to stay in their homes, breathe clean air, trust the public transportation, and feel safe in their city.

Anthony Grice

Orange County Clerk

Anthony is a Newburgh City Councilman, father, educator, and friend of the community he loves so much. During his  time in office, Anthony has stood with us to pass Municipal IDs and support the fight to restore access to driver’s licenses for undocumented New Yorkers. Now, he’s running for County Clerk so that all Orange County residents — no matter what their race, income, immigration status, or zip code — can access the responsive services they need. As a life-long Newburgh resident, Anthony has been through  the same struggles many working people around him face. He listens to his neighbors and knows that too many people can’t afford to take a full day off for a DMV appointment or find a ride to a faraway office. Together, we can bring our County Clerk services into the 21st century, with respect and timely, equitable treatment for all.

Greg Johnston

Beacon City Court Judge

Greg has committed his life to ensuring that justice is served, For over 15 years, he has worked as a public defender, helping give voice to those who often go unheard. Before moving to Beacon, he saw that tenants in his community were being unlawfully evicted from their homes as surrounding properties became gentrified. Along with his wife, he started a tenant counseling drop-in clinic where tenants could learn more about their legal protections. He’s running to make Beacon City Court serve all members of our community with fairness and equity, regardless of race, class, or immigration status.

Sarah Salem

Poughkeepsie City Councilmember-at-large

Sarah is a champion for everyday people — distributing food and essential items to folks in need, marching at Black Lives Matter protests, working closely with us to pass historic legislation to support undocumented people, and so much more. Sarah knows that living in communities where working people have affordable housing, fair wages, great schools, and support for our youth is what keeps us safe, not more militarized police. Together, we can make Poughkeepsie a place where every one of us can live full and healthy lives, no exceptions.

Rachel Saunders

Dutchess Family Court Judge

Rachel believes that a Family Court Judge should listen to and support families through crises. Growing up in the Hudson Valley, Rachel encountered the family court system during her parents’ divorce. That experience inspired her lifelong commitment to helping people, particularly those who are unable to advocate for themselves. From serving as a public defender to offering free legal counseling to working class people, she knows the struggles families face. Rachel hopes to continue helping other children and families in crisis find a path forward as Dutchess County’s next Family Court Judge.

Laura Nordstrom

Kingston Common Council, Ward 7

Laura is a working mother who knows firsthand the struggle to make ends meet. She’s dedicated her career to working for her community — from the YMCA to the Boys and Girls Club. Now, Laura’s running for office so that all Kingston residents can thrive. She’s fighting for mental health services, community-centered solutions to gun violence, affordable housing, and good-paying jobs.

 Past  Endorsements 

Michelle Hinchey

New York State Senator for District 46

Senator Michelle Hinchey, a strong union advocate and champion on energy, environmental protection, and economic development, was elected to the New York State Senate in 2020, making history as the youngest woman to represent an Upstate district in the Democratic Majority Conference.

Jen Metzger

Former NY State Senator for District 42

Jen Metzger was elected to the New York State Senate in 2018 to represent the 42nd District, a largely rural district in the Hudson Valley and Catskills that includes all of Sullivan County, and parts of Orange, Ulster, and Delaware Counties. Committed to improving the lives and opportunities of those she represented, Senator Metzger’s legislative accomplishments and community-level initiatives spanned a wide range of issues, including environmental protection, agriculture, education, health, and broadband access. She championed reforms to expand voter participation and reduce the influence of money in politics, and in her own campaigns refused corporate and lobbyist contributions.

Karen Smythe

2020 Candidate for NY State Senate

Karen Smythe (Democratic Party, Working Families Party, Serve America Movement Party) ran for election to the New York State Senate to represent District 41. She lost in the general election on November 3, 2020.

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