Q&A With Carlina Rivera: NY-10 Democratic Congressional Candidate Is Keeping It Local

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NEW YORK ― State courts whitethorn person snuffed retired New York Democrats’ gerrymandering dreams, but for immoderate of the party’s up-and-comers, the final, nonpartisan territory lines inactive clasp promise.

Nowhere is that truer than successful the Empire State’s wholly new 10th Congressional District, which comprises little Manhattan and a clump of contiguous neighborhoods successful cardinal and South Brooklyn.

A fig of hopefuls pounced astatine the uncommon accidental to tally successful an open, overwhelmingly Democratic seat. Former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou, and U.S. Rep. Mondaire Jones are conscionable 3 of the candidates who person already declared their volition to tally successful the Aug. 23 primary. Rivera precocious picked up the endorsement of 1 of Jones’ colleagues successful the House, Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.).

HuffPost is moving an interrogation bid with the 10th District candidates, and our archetypal sit-down was with New York City Council Member Carlina Rivera successful Hamilton Fish Park.

The Lower East Side location, conscionable crossed the thoroughfare from the Section 8 lodging wherever she grew up, exemplifies Rivera’s profoundly section reasons for running. Rivera played tiny guardant connected the park’s hoops courts arsenic a youngster and present uses her perch connected the City Council to money a younker hoops tourney there.

Unlike different candidates with wide nationalist constituencies and ideological lanes, Rivera, the girl of a azygous Puerto Rican parent who migrated to the mainland, eschews labels and favored argumentation issues. She and her husband, Jamie, unrecorded conscionable northbound of New York 10th’s boundaries, but she is moving arsenic a autochthonal girl of the Lower East Side’s working-class Latino precincts anxious to proceed warring for her neighbors.

Rivera is arrogant of her enactment establishing New York City’s archetypal nationalist money for out-of-state residents seeking abortions, helping tiny businesses past astatine the tallness of the COVID-19 pandemic, overseeing the city’s public infirmary system, and supporting unit prevention programs.

She is besides a sneakerhead who practices blistery yoga and enjoys touring the mediate of the state with her husband, whom she met portion serving connected Manhattan Community Board 3. For the couple’s adjacent roadworthy trip, they’re flying to Cleveland and past driving from determination to Detroit.

HuffPost spoke with Rivera astir however she got into politics, wherefore she’s running, and wherever she falls connected the ideological spectrum.

This interrogation has been edited for clarity and length.

Rivera (right) attends a groundbreaking alongside then-New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (second from right) successful  November 2020. The 2  are present  rival legislature  candidates.
Rivera (right) attends a groundbreaking alongside then-New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (second from right) successful November 2020. The 2 are present rival legislature candidates.

Pacific Press/Getty Images

Tell maine a small spot astir however you got progressive successful politics.

Being a portion of section programs — going to the library, playing ball. I got progressive due to the fact that we would ever beryllium talking astir what’s going connected successful the neighborhood, what’s important. My household and the families that I grew up with wanted to cognize what was free, what was affordable. So we would ever beryllium sharing information. And that’s erstwhile we would larn erstwhile things were changing oregon immoderate of our favourite tiny businesses were closing.

The run that I was truly a portion of that got maine funny successful section authorities was the Essex Crossing operation project connected Delancey Street. We wanted to marque definite that affordable lodging and those Essex Street marketplace vendors were a halfway portion of the redevelopment program that was going on.

We decided arsenic a assemblage what was perfectly indispensable erstwhile it came to this project. We wanted it to beryllium community-led improvement with our voices astatine the table. We said it has to person affordable housing. We wanted an unfastened space. We wanted to marque definite determination was section hiring for the jobs and that determination was a seamless relocation of the Essex Street Market vendors. In the end, I thought determination was a bully equilibrium there.

How bash you spot yourself replicating that benignant of enactment successful Congress, which is evidently a antithetic assemblage than the City Council?

What I’m excited astir and what I deliberation an effectual subordinate of Congress does good is that they’re capable to look astatine the section issues and things that are happening successful their community. They person their receptor to the crushed and they tin necktie it into a nationalist dialog and bring those nationalist resources for section problems.

So whether it’s supporting unfastened spaces successful the look of clime change, and looking to physique a greener infrastructure, whether it’s transit dollars, wellness attraction dollars — each of this I deliberation is very, precise related. Looking astatine issues intersectionally and with an equity lens has been thing that I’ve done connected the council. When we sermon the issues that are affecting radical successful NY-10, those are cosmopolitan issues that are felt crossed the country: lodging insecurity, wellness care, nationalist safety, clime alteration — things that we person to enactment on.

“We can't apprehension our mode retired of the transgression spike.”

- New York City Council Member Carlina Rivera

Your parent is simply a unionized civilian worker for the New York Police Department. What are your conversations with her astir policing like?

We tin hold that if the beingness of constabulary and a large policing fund were capable to halt crime, determination would beryllium very, precise antithetic circumstances successful this metropolis [which has a ample constabulary force].

But policing unsocial is not enough. That’s wherefore the strategies person to beryllium based connected assemblage investment. There has to beryllium community-led programming and services.

We can’t apprehension our mode retired of the transgression spike. It conscionable hasn’t worked and galore of the radical who are incarcerated truly request services that absorption connected their wellness attraction and that are truly trauma-informed.

Murders person gone down nearly 9% from this clip successful 2021. Obviously, that’s inactive mode higher than it was successful 2019. But tin you property immoderate of the advancement to the greater beingness of constabulary successful the subways oregon different things that Mayor Eric Adams has tried?

It truly has to bash with our weapon power issues. The slightest that we tin bash for the families of radical who person been killed successful our supermarkets and successful our churches and successful our schools is to walk commonsense gun-control legislation. This hits adjacent to home.

Even with New York having immoderate of the strongest weapon power laws successful the country, determination is inactive a existent quality to bring those guns from different places and impact the families present arsenic well.

It takes constabulary to enforce weapon power laws though, right?

There’s a relation for instrumentality enforcement. Absolutely.

But determination person to beryllium complementary strategies that are community-led that see unit interrupters, and dainty weapon unit arsenic a nationalist wellness issue. And we person immoderate large programs close present successful New York City. We person Avenues for Justice, which is simply a programme that’s a nationalist exemplary for alternatives to incarceration. We besides person the Stand Up to Violence program successful Jacobi Hospital wherever determination is involution close determination with the weapon unit victims and with credible messengers, radical from the assemblage who are asking, “How did they get present successful the archetypal place?”

So determination are things that are working. Those are immoderate of the tools that we person to use, successful summation to an effectual constabulary presence.

What bash you deliberation of the occupation Mayor Adams is doing overall?

What I similar astir him is that he’s a cheerleader for the metropolis — nary question astir that.

Some of the issues similar the spike successful transgression are hard to navigate and we person a batch much to bash connected that.

Rivera marches successful  the Puerto Rican Day Parade successful  2018. She supports authorities   that would let  land  residents to find  their aboriginal   presumption    vis-a-vis the mainland United States.
Rivera marches successful the Puerto Rican Day Parade successful 2018. She supports authorities that would let land residents to find their aboriginal presumption vis-a-vis the mainland United States.

Rob Kim/Getty Images

You ran for City Council talker past twelvemonth and lost. Why were you unsuccessful?

I’m a precise autarkic person. And I deliberation I’ve shown that successful my decisions that I’ve made and however I operate:first and foremost, taking attraction of my community.

For assembly speaker, I deliberation I built a truly large conjugation of radical that knew that I would beryllium a large person — idiosyncratic who was a listener, who was precise pragmatic and compassionate. My independency possibly conscionable led maine down a antithetic path.

How bash you spot yourself ideologically? Would you beryllium a subordinate of the Progressive Caucus? Would you beryllium a subordinate of “the Squad”?

My grounds speaks for itself. As the Supreme Court’s preparing to gut Roe v. Wade, I was preparing New York for a post-Roe satellite establishing the nation’s archetypal termination entree fund, looking astatine however to pb connected issues related to climate, transit and nationalist safety. That benignant of advancement is important for each cities and municipalities.

I stay eternally, cautiously optimistic connected what the constitution of Washington volition beryllium like.

But we besides person to enactment our section towns and cities. There are a batch of akin interests among immoderate of the candidates. However, my acquisition and what I’ve been capable to bash connected the council, what I program to bash successful Washington, the section enactment that I person — NY-10 voters privation that section position successful Washington. I’m a homegrown candidate, and I deliberation each of that is unparalleled.

What is your narration with progressive groups similar the Working Families Party? Would you question their endorsement?

I person a large narration with the Working Families Party and I’ll surely beryllium talking to them astir supporting my race. We person akin ideals and values and we person campaigned for a batch of the aforesaid candidates.

Do you person immoderate thoughts connected Rep. Mondaire Jones moving to the metropolis to run?

I don’t attraction if you’ve been present 2 weeks oregon forever. New York City is the welcoming city. That’s our full past — welcoming antithetic radical in, welcoming waves of immigrants.

Including members of Congress from the suburbs?


“Housing has to beryllium a priority. I judge it’s a quality right.”

- Rivera

Do you deliberation there’s excessively overmuch section absorption to caller existent property development, particularly erstwhile it comes to units for low-income and susceptible people?

We request a existent absorption connected gathering affordable housing. The instauration of affordable lodging is yet astatine the forefront of the nationalist agenda. President Biden mentioned that, the politician mentioned that — it has to beryllium our precedence for low-income radical and middle-income people; for seniors and members of the LGBTQ community; for at-risk youth, and those who are overcoming addiction. There are populations that are not being straight served. And overall, we conscionable bash not person capable affordable housing.

Housing has to beryllium a priority. I judge it’s a quality right.

How would you advocator for Puerto Rico successful Congress?

I person truthful galore memories there, and precise recently, of what my household is going done determination — each clip we can’t scope them, due to the fact that the powerfulness is out, oregon a catastrophe has devastated the infrastructure.

The radical of Puerto Rico should person the resources and the enactment for self-determination to fig retired what they privation to do. So I cognize there’s legislation similar that successful Washington close present that is supported by aggregate Puertorriqueños that would let them to ballot connected their status, beryllium it for independence, statehood, oregon different alternative.

The self-determination portion is so, truthful important. Taxation without practice is wrong. Puerto Rico does request to constitute its ain story.

What bash you deliberation of moving against erstwhile Mayor Bill de Blasio?

The question that comes to caput is: Why is each campaigner running? I’m moving connected a large record, arsenic a homegrown candidate. And whenever I permission my relation arsenic a assembly subordinate I’m going to beryllium arrogant of my legacy.

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