Women are leading from the front in the race to elect a new congress member for newly configured Congressional District 10, redistricted after the 2020 Census. According to recent polling, Councilmember Carlina Rivera and Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou were the two most likely to take the race among a crowded field of candidates.
Others running include Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon, U.S. Rep. Mondaire Jones, lawyer Daniel Goldman, former U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman, and Maud Maron. Former Mayor Bill de Blasio unceremoniously left the congressional race in District 10 last week.
The district now covers parts of Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan in predominantly Asian, Latino, and an Ultra-Orthodox Jewish community. The seat was held by incumbent U.S. Rep Jerry Nadler.
Rivera said she’s excited that the campaign has momentum but the only polls that really matter are on Election Day.
“I’m connected to the district, this is where my roots are. I’m running for Congress to continue representing the communities that raised me and to help build a city that everyone can see themselves in,” said Rivera about why she’s running.
Rivera was born and raised in what’s now District 10 on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. She grew up in Section 8 housing with a single mother who emigrated from Puerto Rico to Brooklyn. She’s been a council member since 2018 and has passed 24 laws, including the country’s first municipal abortion access fund.
Rivera said the main issues she’s concentrating on are housing, fully federally funding NYCHA, health care and an equitable COVID recovery, treating gun violence as a public health crisis, and transportation. Especially, since parts of downtown are prone to flooding and the effects of climate change, she said.
“People know me for being a hard working person that gets things done because I Iove these communities and this city,” said Rivera.
Niou, who was shadowing right behind Rivera in the polls, has been representing the 65th Assembly District for the last six years. Her assembly district is now completely inside of the new congressional district. She’s also excited at the prospect of continuing to represent her community.
Niou is a progressive Democrat for low-income, immigrant, and working families. Her parents immigrated to the U.S with her as a baby from Taiwan. In 2016, she was elected in a “historic landslide victory” to represent Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) in the State Assembly and she is the first Asian American to represent Manhattan’s Chinatown in the State Legislature.
Niou said that she faced incredible backlash and anti-Asian hate not only when she was elected but in recent years. She said there’s always a level of “state-sanctioned racism” that many don’t even recognize.
“I try to fight for more accessibility, transparency, and powerful representation in our government and making sure that folks are at the table,” said Niou. “We have to make sure that every single policy and bill that we do is looking through a racial, social, economic, environmental, and disability lens.”
Niou said the main issues she’s concentrating on are climate justice because of the waterfronts along Manhattan and Brooklyn, fully funding public housing, protecting Section 8 & 9 housing, and fighting for the Green New Deal in New York.
“We have an incredible ground game,” said Niou. “I think it’s really important that we have people who work in the area and care about the district in a real way.”
Ariama C. Long is a Report for America corps member and writes about culture and politics in New York City for The Amsterdam News. Your donation to match our RFA grant helps keep her writing stories like this one; please consider making a tax-deductible gift of any amount today by visiting: https://tinyurl.com/fcszwj8w