FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Sunday, May 22nd, 2016
CONTACT: Josh Hyman, 518-495-1324
PAUL NEWELL ANNOUNCES FOR ASSEMBLY
EIGHT YEARS AFTER FIRST RUN, AIMS TO WIN IN SILVER’S OLD SEAT
Flanked by supporters from Chinatown, Grand Street, Loisida and elsewhere, Paul Newell, Democratic District Leader for the 65th Assembly District, announced his second run for State Assembly, focusing heavily on the opportunity Lower Manhattan now had to tell its own story and fight for its most urgent priorities. Newell famously challenged then-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver in 2008, coming in second place and scoring the endorsement of all three major New York City newspapers. Newell ran for Democratic District Leader the following year, winning 67% of the vote, and has served continuously as District Leader since.
Newell unveiled a populist and unifying theme to his campaign. He tied in his years of community advocacy in the face of hospital closures, rent deregulation, and Superstorm Sandy with the activist tradition of Downtown Manhattan. He was surrounded by supporters, many drawn from that activist community, and several spoke to his qualifications as the most earnest, thoughtful and hard- working candidate in a crowded field. They spoke of him as the clear choice for his long-standing and authentic advocacy, and his proven ability to get things done across the district.
Carolyn English, a 45-year resident of Paul’s building, the Masaryk Towers, said, “One day after Paul moved into our building, the Masaryk Towers, Superstorm Sandy hit. Paul and I wound up coordinating the emergency response for the community. He wasted no time, bringing hard work, humility and organizational skills to a community he'd barely come to know, but already adopted as his. It's no wonder to me that Paul has attracted a small army of friends and followers over the years. He represents exactly the kind of service- first, community-first ethos you want in a representative."
Alex Li, a 27-year-old immigrant and longtime Chinatown resident, originally from Fujian Province, China, said, “I’ve known Paul for over a decade now, initially as my supervisor when I interned at Ubuntu Education Fund, then as a candidate in 2008 and throughout our history as close friends. Paul has been a constant teacher, a supporter and an ally to me and I know he will bring the same open- mindedness, fairness and dedication with him to Albany so that he can continue to fight on behalf of this community. I am proud to call Paul Newell both a friend and a mentor, and I could not ask for a better person to represent me in Albany.”
Lower Manhattan tenant leader Joel Roodman expressed gratitude for Newell’s central role in the fight to prevent 421g units from being exempted from rent-control regulations: “Paul has worked tirelessly as an advocate for me and thousands of other tenants fighting for rent stabilized housing so desperately needed to continue to build a vibrant financial district.”
Newell himself focused on the great activist tradition of the district, emphasizing primarily housing, transportation, and support for the working and middle class. He said, “This district is an amazing place, with an amazing story that was first written before America existed and is now ours to pass on. We are not passive people in Lower Manhattan. It's not who we are. We stand up, we organize and we demand what we need - not by trading favors with the well-heeled and well-connected, but by standing up for our communities and our inherent dignity as people. When I ran for this office 2008, I did it, among other reasons, because so much of what we love about Lower Manhattan was threatened by displacement. When three men sit in a secret room and write laws for 20 million New Yorkers, you can guarantee it is not us making the decisions. The culture of corruption and failure in Albany must end. The costs of corruption are not a few million dollars in bribes, or someone’s son’s no-show job. The costs of corruption are higher rents, higher taxes, overcrowded classrooms, and crumbling subways.
“In this race, we see all sorts of machines and interests poking their fingers in, because this part of the world is valuable real estate, and powerful people want to control our story. But this story is ours. We're used to adversity. But what we'll never get used to or accept is that story being taken away from us. This is a neighborhood of the working and middle class, a place of opportunity, and so it will remain. Never give up, and this time next year, for the first time in decades, we will control our story and how it's told from Battery Park, all the way to Albany. And because we tell our story, it will go on, and be here again to tell when our children live and work in this great place we call home.”
Masaryk Towers Resident Carolyn English Speaks at the Newell Campaign Kickoff
Text of Remarks as Delivered
Paul Newell, Official Campaign Kickoff
May 22nd, 2016
Thank you Dr. Xueyuen, Mathew, Jill and Joel, Carolyn, Lee and Alex for those kind words.
Buenas tardes, vecinos y vecinas! Gracias por estar con nosotros en este gran viaje.
Shalom khaverim un khavertes. A groysen dank far zayn mit undz af aza min nsyeh.
Da Jia Hao.
Good afternoon, brothers and sisters! Thanks for being with us on this great journey.
My name is Paul Newell, and I am proud and fortunate to be a Lower Manhattanite, born and raised. This district is an amazing place, with an amazing story. It's one of the most important gathering places of the world, with Chinatown, Little Italy, Grand Street, Loisaida, Battery Park City, and the financial district all in walking distance. It's a district of old communities, each with their own history and heroes. It’s also a district of new communities, and neighborhoods reborn. New immigrants and migrants constantly renew that vibrancy by coming here from all around the world, contributing their own stories and hard work.
I myself come from a proud Yiddish activist tradition in the Lower East Side. On my mother’s side, I am the fourth generation of my family to make our home in Lower Manhattan. My father emigrated here at the age of 16 from a Europe destroyed by war.
It was at this very square that Clara Lemlich and Rose Schneiderman spoke for livable conditions for garment workers, before and after the Triangle Shirtwaist fire. And it was right here, in this building, that the Jewish Daily Forward cried out for justice for generations of Lower East Siders dreaming the American dream.
A few blocks north of here the activists and artists of the Nuyorican movement demanded – and still demand – fair housing and a voice. Not far from there – when I was a kid – Keith Haring’s murals expressed the defiance of an LGBT community beset by a plague.
We are not passive people in Lower Manhattan. It's not who we are. We stand up, we organize, and we demand what we need - not by trading favors with the well-heeled and well-connected, but by standing up for our communities and our inherent dignity as people. Our communities are beautiful - Chinese, Jewish, Latino, black, and Italian, working class, middle class. We live in NYCHAs and Coops, Mitchell-Lamas and Section 8s, tenements and lofts, and yes, even condos. Our beauty lies in our incredible, dynamic diversity. As Lower Manhattan hero Jane Jacobs put it “Different people using the same streets for different reasons at the same time.” That diversity gives our neighborhood its hope and its electricity. And we have had to fight for it every step of the way.
When I ran for this office 2008, I did so, among other reasons, because so much of what we love about Lower Manhattan was threatened by displacement. And because when three men sit in a secret room and write laws for 20 million New Yorkers, you can guarantee it is not us making the decisions.
So let me be clear today as I was then. The culture of corruption and failure in Albany must end.
The costs of corruption are not a few million dollars in bribes, or somebody’s son’s no-show job. The costs of corruption are higher rents, higher taxes, overcrowded classrooms, and crumbling subways.
We can, and must, do better.
The following year I was elected District Leader and we continued the struggle. I’ve helped lead the charge to extend rent-regulation to thousands of apartments in the Financial District under the 421g tax abatement. It is still possible to live in Lower Manhattan without being a millionaire, and we intend to keep it that way. This is our community.
When St. Vincent’s Hospital was about to close, I co-founded the Coalition for a New Village Hospital – bringing thousands of neighbors to rallies and collecting tens of thousands of signatures. We continued to struggle and managed to preserve the largest HIV clinic on the East Coast for Lower Manhattan.
Today we hear that Beth Israel is under threat. Our message to the Board of Mt. Sinai, as it was to the Boards of St. Vincent's and Long Island College Hospital, is simply this: no. You will not take away the last lifelines of our communities, one of the only remaining hospitals outside of Flood Zone A. Health care decisions for a city of eight and a half million must be based on an assessment of needs, not the corporate bottom line. I can assure you that any attempted changes to the Certificate of Need at Beth Israel will be vigorously opposed by a community that has organizing in its bones.
Speaking of organizing, I want to salute our brothers and sisters in CWA. I am immensely proud that CWA Locals 1101 and 1180 have endorsed our campaign. They are not giving up until good, middle-class jobs are given more priority than Verizon’s corporate greed. And Lower Manhattan stands with them.
In this race, we see all sorts of machines and interests poking their fingers in, because this part of the world is valuable real estate now, and powerful people want to control our story. But this story is ours. We're here because we've been living and writing this story, proudly and at times through great adversity. We're used to adversity, from storms, from displacement, even from terrorist attacks. But what we'll never get used to or accept is that story being taken away from us. This is a neighborhood of the working and middle class, a place of opportunity, and so it will remain. And if I'm honored to represent you in Albany, I will tell that story, and I will push for an Albany that is capable of hearing it.
That is why I am announcing my campaign for New York State Assembly from Lower Manhattan today.
I am also asking you to join us. First and foremost, I am asking for your vote on September 13th. But we’ll need more than that. I am asking for your time, your wisdom and your story.
The next step is petitioning, the opening of an office, and the sharing of this great story with our neighbors. This will all starts in the next week or so. And now, without further ado, I'd like to do what our neighborhoods are known for, and simply roll up our sleeves, and get to work. Thank you all so much for coming out today, for your amazing support, and for your continued faith. Thank you in advance for the all hard work you are going to do on this campaign. Remember that we're believing in each other. Never give up, and this time next year we will control our story and how it's told from the Battery all the way to Albany. And because we tell our story, it will go on, and be here again to tell when our children live and work in this great place we call home.
Meltzer Towers Tenant Leader Paulina Rosario Speaks at the Newell Campaign Kickoff