June 18, 2022 Op-Ed By Johanna Carmona Candidate for Assembly District 37
The importance of the New York State government often goes overlooked in our big city.
As someone who worked in Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan’s district office during my college years, before I went on to law school and became an attorney, I want to explain to our community how state government is part of our daily lives.
Connecting with constituents and delivering for you at the State-level are a couple of the reasons I am running for the New York State Assembly in the Democratic Primary on Tuesday, June 28 with early voting starting Saturday, June 18th.
State laws keep our families safe. As a special victims prosecutor in the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office, I was a fierce defender of children and families victimized by serious crimes.
Any efforts to hurt survivors will not have my support. I know that I have the skills to serve in the Assembly on the committees that will re-examine, redraft and pass laws to address the crime crisis. It takes consensus, listening, and leading to make a difference in this area and I know that I will be a full-time Assemblywoman in the criminal justice arena.
My parents have lived in Sunnyside for almost 35 years, immigrants from Colombia. When my mother had a stroke, it was community-based health care, regulated by New York State laws that helped our family. My mother continues to live at home because of good home health care.
I am a lifelong tenant who played in our parks, studied in our public libraries, and took subways and buses to school and work. Housing laws, public transit funding, and funds for health care, parks, libraries, and schools are all part of Albany’s billion-dollar taxpayer-funded budget.
My background in community work and volunteering means I can immediately be an effective advocate for local groups. As the Latina/Hispanic community liaison in Cathy Nolan’s office, I worked with Woodside legend, the late Alice Cardona, an activist who devoted her life to fighting for equality and women’s rights. She taught me to listen to people and use my Spanish language skills to help resolve their problems and provide resources to those in need.
Diane Ballek, chair of the 108th Precinct Community Council, and I helped tenants with their rent stabilization, Section 8 paperwork, and Senior Citizens Rent Increase Exemption programs. I know that our seniors and families need help to stay in their homes. I will go to Albany ready to serve and review health, housing, and other vital laws.
There is a long tradition in our district of women serving in elected office but that is not the case statewide. Women legislators still make up less than 50 percent of the state legislature. As the only woman running and as a lawyer, I pledge to preserve and protect women’s reproductive choices, their health care, and their privacy to make decisions with their doctors and family. I will be a leader in this no matter what men in Washington or Albany do.
My campaign has earned the support of unions like the Laborers, Firefighters, and Law Enforcement unions because they believe I will hit the ground running in Albany, protecting workers’ rights, as I have as an attorney for 9/11 victims, many of whom include first responders.
I have the support of our retiring Assemblywoman in part because I will continue to work on paid family leave for our families, rights for the neglected like farm workers, and rights for communities like my LGBTQIA+ friends and neighbors, whose lives are under attack nationwide.
And I have the support of many in the community in which I grew up. In particular, my neighbors and immigrant groups in our district because I will never forget where I came from, and how hard my parents worked to help me achieve an education and success.
I am running for the Assembly because this is my time to give back to my beloved neighborhood and those that supported me in my journey to do good work for all the people in our district, to fight for families, for a clean and resilient environment, public safety, education, health care, and for our future.
Join me, I will listen to you and all voices, and we will go to Albany together and keep our community strong and our families and local businesses thriving.
Johanna Carmona is a candidate running for the 37th Assembly District, which covers Sunnyside, Woodside, Long Island City, Maspeth and Ridgewood