Nov. 16, 2023 By Bill Parry
When embattled Assemblymember Juan Ardila seeks re-election next year, he will not have the scores of volunteers from the Working Families Party knocking on doors in western Queens for him like they did in 2022 when the Maspeth native was elected to represent District 37 in Albany.
Ardila officially filed on Nov. 8 to run in next April’s Democratic primary and on Nov. 16, the Working Families Party announced it endorsed his challenger Claire Valdez of Ridgewood, who was also endorsed by the New York City chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America in September.
Ardila, who declined to comment, 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 from elected leaders including Governor Kathy Hochul, U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Councilmember Julie Won, who received more than 14% over her total vote on the Working Families Party line in her re-election earlier this month. Council Member Jennifer Gutiérrez, who represents part of Ridgewood, received more than 28% on the WFP line in her own re-election.
Valdez is a Latina, tenant and union member and organizer with UAW Local 2110. Her campaign is focused on stabilizing the high cost of housing, raising wages for workers, and strengthening CUNY and public education.
“As both a tenant and union leader, Claire understands the impacts of the affordability crisis on working families,” said Ana María Archila, co-director of the New York Working Families Party. “Too many people are working harder for wages that don’t keep up with the cost of living. They don’t know if they’ll be able to afford to live in their homes and neighborhoods in one or two years. We can trust Claire to fight for an affordable Queens where families have every opportunity to thrive.”
Members of the Working Families Party will knock on doors, make calls and actively volunteer for Valdez in her primary against Ardila in the race to represent the neighborhoods of Maspeth, Ridgewood, Sunnyside and Long Island City in Albany.
“I’m so proud to receive the Working Families Party endorsement,” Valdez said. “WFP is one of the most powerful voices fighting for working people in New York and across this country. From organizing for the Secure Jobs Act to fighting for a People’s Budget, they are showing the power that progressives and organized labor hold when we work together, and I am honored to be in the fight with them.”