DFER's mission is to encourage a more productive dialogue within the Democratic Party on the need to fundamentally reform American public education. Each month, we identify one candidate who is standing up for meaningful reform and innovation, and we help demonstrate the broad base of support for his or her efforts. Please give as generously as you can.
March 2010: New York State Assemblyman José Peralta
José Peralta, a charter school parent and member of the New York State Assembly from Queens, is running in a special election next week (March 16th) to replace Senator Hiram Monserrate, who was booted from the Senate following his conviction for dragging his girlfriend’s body through the lobby of his apartment building.
A first-generation Dominican-American, José’s parents came to the United States in search of the American dream and a better life for their children. His parents worked hard to sustain their family on the wages of entry-level positions: his father a bank teller and his mother a seamstress at a sweatshop. They struggled to ensure that their children received a quality education that would provide them with opportunities and would instill in them the value of public service.
José is a product of his parents’ sacrifice and has spent a lifetime working to ensure everyone in our community has the opportunity to succeed.
A proud graduate of Queens Public schools, including PS 14, IS 61 and Flushing High School, José was the first Latino Student Body President of Queens College.
After graduating, Peralta began a career giving back to the community he loves through public service. As a community liaison in the New York State Assembly, José worked to make government more accessible to the families of Queens, solving problems and helping people in need. He then served as the Director of the Commission on the Dignity for Immigrants at the New York City Central Labor Council, representing over 1.5 million union members. Under Peralta’s direction, the Commission championed the mission of empowering all immigrants in a variety of ways, including registering over 20,000 new citizens.
In 2002, at the age of 30, José Peralta was elected to the New York State Assembly. He would make an excellent addition to the NY State Senate at a time when that body needs all the smart folks it can get.