Sept. 25, 2023 By Bill Parry
In the race to unseat embattled Assemblyman Juan Ardila, the New York City chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America has endorsed Ridgewood’s Claire Valdez over Democratic Party district leader Émilia Decaudin, who announced she was suspending her campaign.
The DSA electoral working group decisively voted to recommend the 33-year-old Valdez and the Citywide Leadership Committee followed suit over the weekend in the deliberation process to back Valdez as a demonstration of the growing progressive and labor consolidation against the incumbent.
Ardila has been shunned by progressives after being accused of sexual assault by two women earlier this year. He has so far refused all calls to step down as the representative for Assembly District 37 which covers the neighborhoods of Long Island City, Sunnyside, Maspeth, Ridgewood and parts of Woodside.
“I’m so excited and humbled to be endorsed by my comrades in NYC-DSA,” Valdez said. “I’ve been a proud member — and elected leader — in DSA for years, and we’re ready to work together to make sure our neighbors in AD-37 have the unbought, socialist, feminist representative they deserve in Albany.”
The endorsement of Valdez over Decaudin, another DSA member, signals that the political organization will be putting a considerable grassroots effort behind the challenge to Ardila in next year’s Democratic primary. QNS reached out to Ardila and is awaiting a response.
In the last election cycle, DSA engaged nearly 3,000 volunteers and knocked on almost 200,000 doors for its endorsed Assembly candidates alone.
“Claire Valdez is a worker, a tenant, and a union organizer who knows the power working people have when they come together and fight,” said New York City DSA co-chair Jeremy Cohan. “She’s putting the wealthy and the Albany establishment on notice. Working people deserve better and we’re not going to wait.”
Decaudin, 24, of Long Island City, who was aiming to become New York’s first transgender state legislator, announced she was suspending her campaign and threw her support behind the Valdez campaign in a message to her supporters on social media.
“While I look forward to the day when my trans siblings gain representation in Albany, I intend to continue my work as an advocate for a New York where trans people are not just protected, but are able to thrive,” Decaudin wrote. “I am suspending my own campaign for State Assembly and enthusiastically endorsing Claire—a working-class Union organizer who will deliver the change we need in the legislature; who will put us first over the interests of the rich.”
Valdez was endorsed earlier this month by UAW Region 9A, which represents 50,000 active and retired members throughout the Northeast and Puerto Rico.
“We are thrilled to endorse a UAW member and organizer for Assembly District 37,” UAW Region 9A Director Brandon Mancilla said. “I have seen firsthand Claire fight to turn the UAW into the militant union it is today. She organizes everyday for workers as Unit Chair for UAW Local 2110, and she will bring that same fight for workers across Queens and New York state.”
Valdez is a longtime member and the current Unit Chair for Columbia Support Staff, UAW Local 2110.
“It is a tremendous and humbling honor to receive the endorsement of UAW Region 9A,” Valdez said. “UAW is leading the fight for workers in this historic moment of labor militancy across America, and I cannot wait to work with my union to build worker power in Queens and across the state.”