Housing and Immigration, Priorities For Latina Running For City Council

Carlina Rivera (Photo via El Diario)

On Monday, young Democrat Carlina Rivera received Rep. Nydia Velázquez’s endorsement to her campaign for the 2nd District City Council seat. Rivera is running to replace Council member Rosie Méndez, who must leave the position at the end of the year, having served the maximum number of terms permitted by law.

“As the representative of one of the most diverse districts in New York City, my main priority is to advocate against the growing Republican racism, sexism and xenophobia,” said Velázquez as she announced her support for Rivera.

“We need the real leaders of the neighborhood to step up to the plate and fight against Trump’s agenda and in favor of affordable housing, better schools and our quality of life. Carlina has experienced that struggle every day for the last decade, and she will continue in the trenches as our next councilwoman,” predicted Velázquez.

“My story is the same as that of many New Yorkers: My mother migrated from the town of Las Marías, near Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, and, although I was born at Bellevue Hospital, I grew up and have spent all my life in Loisaida [the Lower East Side],” said Rivera in an interview with El Diario. She prefers to be identified as a community worker, and lives with her family in a Section 8 housing complex.

Rivera has studied law and journalism, two careers she did not practice but that she says “helped me communicate and to defend people’s rights.”

“If I am elected, my priority will be to fight for affordable housing, support education through the improvement of my district’s schools, defend low-income families and the immigrant community, and promote the development of small businesses,” said Rivera about her political platform.

The candidate has an extensive career in her community, where she has occupied several positions including after-school program coordinator for children in need of improvement, member of Community Board 3, leader of Assembly District 74, member of her building’s tenant association and volunteer at the senior center. Recently, the Good Old Lower East Side organization acknowledged her role in negotiating community benefits that were included in several development projects.

“The work I do is based on my own experience. I come from a working class family, and I know the needs firsthand. That is why I am honored to be supported by Congresswoman Velázquez, who has dedicated her life to public service and is a leader for progressive issues in our city, particularly in the Lower East Side,” explained Rivera, adding that her agenda also includes working to bring more resources and create well-paid jobs in her community.

Rivera also played a crucial role as director of the office of Council member Méndez, where she participated in shaping pieces of legislation to improve residential air quality and public health, mitigate landlord harassment of vulnerable tenants and improve inefficiencies within city agencies to save tax dollars.

She also knows the process of configuring the city’s budget firsthand, and assisted in the allocation of more than $5 million for beautification projects for our parks and to upgrade technology in our classrooms, as well as more than $600,000 to increase and expand resources at senior centers and youth programs.

The Democratic primary election will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 12. Of the 51 members in the New York City Council, 13 are women. Four of them end their terms and must leave their seats at the end of the year, three of whom – Melissa Mark-Viverito, Rosie Méndez and Annabel Palma – are Latina.

“It is important to ensure that the Hispanic presence in the council continues, not just because as women we need to be represented, but because, proportionately, we are entitled to it,” said Rivera.

Rep. Velázquez joined Council member Méndez, the Council’s Progressive Caucus, state Sens. Dan Squadron and Brad Hoylman, Assembly members Yuh-Line Niou and Deborah Glick, former state Sen. Tom Duane and the Democratic Club of the Coalition for a District Alternative (CODA) in supporting Carlina Rivera.

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