An Open Letter from Jews For Gustavo
We are write this letter as proud Jews and Bronx residents to urge our neighbors to support the reelection of State Senator Gustavo Rivera to the State Senate in the upcoming primary election on August 23rd, 2022. Recent changes to the district lines are bringing new communities into Gustavo’s district, including Riverdale. Riverdale is lucky to be included in the newly drawn District 33, which has one of the fiercest champions for racial and economic justice for New Yorkers as our State Senator.
We have seen Senator Rivera’s amazing work for the Bronx in the State Senate for the past 11 years. To us, what is important is Gustavo’s effective record in the State Senate on the issues that matter to us in the Bronx, and that we know are priorities to our neighbors, Jewish and not.
As the first Bronxite and person of color to chair the Senate Health Committee, Gustavo has been a champion of the New York Health Act, which will bring health care to all New Yorkers. He has been a leader in the fight against maternal mortality by extending Medicaid coverage to new parents to a full year after giving birth and establishing a process for midwives to operate in New York. He fought to codify Roe vs. Wade into state law and passed safe staffing legislation for hospitals and nursing homes.
Gustavo helped thousands of seniors and Bronxites with disabilities freeze their rent by enrolling them in SCRIE and DRIE. His office has prevented thousands of unjust evictions and foreclosures by helping constituents receive rent arrears, mortgage assistance and free legal representation through New York City’s Right to Counsel program. He has been a champion for education funding, fighting for CUNY and SUNY and helping secure $131 million owed to the 33rd district public schools by the State.
He has been a leader since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring that New Yorkers had access to PPE, testing, and vaccinations, and fighting for resources to support a just recovery and shore up New York against future pandemics. We know Gustavo stands for the values that we care about for New York State: access to health care, affordable housing, care for seniors, and constituent services.
Gustavo was at the very forefront of Albany’s progressive wave, defeating then-Majority Leader Pedro Espada (who later was sentenced for theft of federal funds from Bronx health clinics) with a commitment to be accountable to his constituents above monied interests or the Bronx machine. He has remained firm in that commitment to accountability and to be a champion for his constituents. It is no surprise then, that right-wing PACs and the Bronx machine have been pouring all of their resources into Gustavo’s opponent, Miguelina Camilo.
Unfortunately, his opponents’ supporters have been distorting his positions on several critical issues, including Israel. See here for a letter from Gustavo, setting the record straight. Right-wing PACs have been sending mailers that spread lies about Gustavo’s stance on Israel in order to discredit an effective Democratic legislator, and Bronx machine members have only enabled them instead of setting the record straight.
We should all be asking ourselves why big money interests representing real estate developers, privatizing public education and corporations are trying to take down Gustavo, and why right wing interests are supporting his opponent. But we also know that it’s because Gustavo won’t be bought out, and will fight for equitable education, tenant protections, and healthcare for ALL members of our community.
Supporting Gustavo puts us in great company! He has been endorsed by New York State Nurses Association, 1199-SEIU, Doctors Council, NYSUT, RWDSU, AFL-CIO and Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Senate Deputy Majority Leader Mike Gianaris, Liz Krueger, AOC, Jamaal Bowman, John Liu, Chantel Jackson, Althea Stevens
Elections may be the last thing on your mind as the summer draws to a close, but that’s exactly why it’s so important that you get out and vote for Gustavo. His opponents are relying on a low turnout to push through an establishment, right-wing backed candidate. We need everyone to get out and vote on August 23rd so we can send a true champion for our community back to Albany!
Raphy Jacobson, Riverdale
Beth Levine, Riverdale
Ethel Raim, Riverdale
Ann Rauch, Riverdale
Naomi Sharlin, Riverdale