New York's Legislature, the worst in the nation, allows neither public input nor honest debate. But now there's a way to change that: please join me in supporting Speaker Silver's opponent in the primary race for the 64th Assembly District. Silver holds absolute power over the legislature, but not the voters or the public. Not me, not you.
This is a high-stakes election that could show that voters care about how politicians treat women and that we won't tolerate abuse.
In 2001, I was sexually assaulted by New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s Chief Counsel, Michael Boxley. At the time, I met with Speaker Silver and filed a complaint with the Assembly. However, Speaker Silver immediately declared his that Mr. Boxley had the “utmost integrity” and his confidence that he would be “completely exonerated.” Then, two years later, Speaker Silver's same chief counsel was arrested for raping another aide, “Jane Doe.”
We have a window of opportunity now: there is a progressive Democrat, Paul Newell, running in a primary against Speaker Silver. Paul has a committed and talented staff, an organized operation, and a very real chance of winning…while Silver's power is statewide, it is only a small number of voters that actually vote for him in his district, and he hasn't been challenged since 1986.
Paul Newell’s record stands in stark contrast to Speaker Silver’s. Over the past eight years, Paul helped build the Ubuntu Education Fund (www.ubuntufund.org), an organization that is heavily focused on responding to sexual violence. The communities they work in (in Africa) have a crisis of rape and abuse. This is a primary vector for HIV transmission, school dropouts, suicide, teen pregnancy and more.
One of the programs Paul was intimately involved with is the implementation of Engender Health's "Men as Partners" approach to sexual violence reduction. This model, in addition to empowering women, focuses on educating men, and recasting masculinity as a role of responsibility not power and possession.
Speaker Silver cares only about his own political preservation; he continues to support and nourish an environment that tolerates corruption, sexual assault, and sexual harassment.
Well-intentioned reform proposals have not worked. Criticism from the press and academic institutions is greeted with arrogance or nonchalance. But this year can be different – if you contribute to Paul Newell's campaign, you'll make one of the most cost-effective campaign contributions you'll ever make.
Paul Newell does not have Silver's $3 million in special interest money – - and he doesn't need it. But he does need your support in order to run a solid campaign and reach out to voters in the 64th Assembly District. Please give whatever you can to Paul Newell's campaign. It is the surest way to re-introduce democracy to New York.
Primary Day is September 9th. Please give whatever you can today to help Paul get his message to voters. Our contributions will be used to run a first-rate campaign, as well as produce and send mailers to voters.
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