We’re preparing for a Democratic primary challenge of Senator Michael Gianaris.
Before it was even announced, Senator Gianaris stridently opposed the Amazon deal that was going to bring 25,000 jobs to his district. He did so without conducting any meaningful constituent outreach. He ignored independent Quinnipiac University and Siena College polls showing strong support. He refused to join a community advisory committee composed of 45 of community leaders and stakeholders, which he dismissed as window dressing. He refused to meet with Amazon. He then gladly accepted the nomination to a position that would have allowed him to veto the deal. The rest is history.
Voters need to have a real opportunity to hold him accountable. In Senate District 12, that means he needs to be challenged in the Democratic primary.
More than anyone else, Senator Michael Gianaris is responsible for killing the Amazon deal, which would have brought 25,000 jobs and tens of billions in dollars in tax revenue to NYC, and would have been a transformative opportunity for Long Island City. He was for Amazon bringing 50,000 jobs to NYC, before he was against 25,000. Senator Michael Gianaris joined with numerous other elected officials to declare in an October 2017 letter, “We, as a united body of elected officials, urge Amazon to make New York City the home of its second headquarters.”
Then on June 26, 2018, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez upset incumbent Joseph Crowley, whom Senator Michael Gianaris endorsed against AOC.
After AOC, Senator Gianaris now clearly felt that his political future was in the hands of the activist base that got AOC elected. Before the deal was even officially announced, Senator Gianaris stridently opposed it without conducting any meaningful public outreach. He ignored an independent December 5 poll conducted by Quinnipiac University showed that 60% of Queens residents wanted Amazon in LIC, and only 26% were opposed. He was unswayed by a February 12 Siena College poll that showed that 58% of NYC residents were in favor, and only 35% were opposed. Rather than reaching out to his constituents in a good faith manner, or conducting his own polls to see how his constituents felt, he spent money on flyers.
Call it old-fashioned, but it would be nice to have a representative who is committed to looking out for the interests of the majority of his or her constituents, not just the demands of the activist base, and who is looking out for his or her community’s future, not just his or her political future.
Election after election since 2010, Senate District 12 has gone literally or virtually uncontested. That is 5 elections. 2020 is going to be different. The practice of the local party anointing a candidate to be on a ballot with no other real options is not good for our democracy. Voters in Senate District 12 deserve the opportunity to hold Senator Michael Gianaris accountable. We’re going to make that happen.