From: Newindiatimes.com

‘Local Heroine’ Continues Bid For State Assembly Despite Odds

By Ela Dutt
March 2016

jennifer

Declared a “Local Heroine’ by the Battery Park paper The Broadsheet, and named a “Rising Star” in New York by City & State news outlet, Jenifer Rajkumar, 33, a civil rights attorney, is continuing her bid for the state Assembly from the 65th District. The seat opened up when former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver stepped down after his conviction.

Rajkumar is optimistic despite the Democratic County Committee in the 65th Assembly District overwhelmingly endorsing someone else for the Special Election primary scheduled for April 19.

The Indian-American has been an elected Democratic Leader since 2011 and has deep roots in the area, which she emphasized would carry her through. At the fundraiser March 7, held in Jing Fong restaurant, Chinatown’s largest unionized eatery, activists and supporters, felt the same. Organizers estimate there were close to 150 attendees at Jing Fong. It was a multicultural crowd that represented different economic strata and included a Council member, long-time residents and advocates for workers rights, as well as leaders of local initiatives on which Rajkumar has worked.

Among those present were City Councilman Rafael Espinal; Dr. Marc Wilkenfeld, known for his work with victims of 9/11; Abhishek Rathore, president of NetIP, Network of Indian Professionals; Wendy Cheung, long-time resident of public housing in Lower East Side and a workers’ rights advocate in Chinatown; Maggie Martinez, also a leader and long-time resident of La Guardia public housing complex; and General Sid Baumgarten, a Lower West Side Battery Park activist.

Rajkumar has been endorsed by the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club named after the well-known gay rights advocate. Last December, a coalition of national women’s groups endorsed Rajkumar, including the Women’s Campaign Fund. A few weeks ago, a coalition of Latino leaders in the Lower East Side endorsed her as well.

But 7 Democrats are in the running and Rajkumar has her work cut out for her. Democratic District Leader Alice Cancel, was overwhelmingly endorsed in February by the Democratic County Committee of the 65th District, where Rajkumar trailed 3rd in the vote count. Others include Working Families Party candidate Yuh-Line Niou, chief of staff to Queens Assemblyman Ron Kim, who has been endorsed by the chairman of the state Assembly’s Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus; District Leader Paul Newell; and a local community board chairwoman Gigi Li.

Rajkumar says regardless of the endorsements others have received, it is an open primary and “I have a very good shot with a very strong base and lots of experience in the District.”

At the March 7 meeting, Councilman Espinal said he believed in Rajkumar and that she was well-known all over the city and was a very hard worker.

Rajkumar, who spoke after several others, dwelled on the theme “This is the time for the possible,” and noted how she broke through naysayers predictions in the past and would do so again come September. Closely involved with education and affordable housing issues in Lower Manhattan, Rajkumar thinks she has the grassroots support to catapult her to a win, she told Desi Talk. “It’s a grassroots strategy. We are going to take it to every voter. And a lot of volunteers from across the district (are going door-to-door),” she said. “The key is to build a district-wide coalition of different ethnicities, incomes, neighborhoods – that will make the campaign strong.” The March 7 gathering was made up of just such a crowd from “all corners” of Lower Manhattan, Rajkumar said.

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BOARD OF GOVERNORS

  1. Hon. Eric Adams
  2. George Arzt
  3. Lance Bass
  4. John Blair
  5. Mark Benoit
  6. Hon. Rodneyse Bichotte
  7. Hon. Jonathan Bing
  8. Robin Byrd
  9. Hon. Gale Brewer
  10. Christian Campbell
  11. Gus Christensen
  12. Hon. Martin Connor
  13. Hon. Jon Cooper
  14. Wilson Cruz
  15. Hon. Laurie Cumbo
  16. Alan Cumming
  17. Valorie Curry
  18. Michael Czaczkes
  19. Hon. Bill de Blasio
  20. Jon Del Giorno
  21. Aries Dela Cruz
  22. Kyan Douglas
  23. Hon. Daniel Dromm
  24. James Duff
  25. Hon. Ronnie Eldridge
  26. Hon. Herman Farrell
  27. Hon. Alan Fleishman
  28. Hon. Dan Garodnick
  29. Dan Gettleman
  30. Emily Jane Goodman
  31. Hon. Mark Green
  32. Tony Hoffmann
  33. Hon. Brad Hoylman
  34. Binn Jakupi
  35. Hon. Letitia James
  36. Hon. Corey Johnson
  37. Camille Joseph
  38. Phillip Keane
  39. Greg Lambert
  40. Dodge Landesman
  41. Marc Landis
  42. Phillip McCarthy
  43. Matt McMorrow
  44. Michael Mallon
  45. Mike C. Manning
  46. Cathy Marino-Thomas
  47. Hon. Carlos Menchaca
  48. Hon. Rosie Mendez
  49. John Cameron Mitchell
  50. Donny Moss
  51. Barry Mullineaux
  52. Hon. Paul Newell
  53. Denis O'Hare
  54. Noah Pfefferbilt
  55. Josue Pierre
  56. Bob Pontarelli
  57. Billy Porter
  58. Randy Rainbow
  59. Hon. Jenifer Rajkumar
  60. Hon. Gustavo Rivera
  61. Barbara Rosen
  62. Hon. Helen Rosenthal
  63. Maer Roshan
  64. Toby Russo
  65. Bill Samuels
  66. James Sansum
  67. Scott Sartiano
  68. Hon. Arthur Schwartz
  69. Lynn Schulman
  70. Frank Selvaggi
  71. Rev. Al Sharpton
  72. Hon. Jo Anne Simon
  73. Tom Smith
  74. Marti Speranza
  75. Anne Strahle
  76. Hon. Scott Stringer
  77. Wayne Sunday
  78. Hon. Bill Thompson
  79. Hon. Matt Titone
  80. Hon. Ritchie Torres
  81. Sam Underwood
  82. Derek Walker
  83. Jessica Walter
  84. Patricia Nell Warren
  85. Wil Weder
  86. Seth Weissman
  87. Mel Wymore
  88. Emma Wolfe
  89. Hon. Keith Wright
  90. Zephyr Teachout