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Rivera hopes 1199 union support is part of her path to victory

BY LINCOLN ANDERSON | Carlina Rivera has been adding union muscle to her congressional campaign, recently scoring a series of coveted endorsements. The biggest coup was her winning the support of 1199, the health workers union.

“Big” is the right word. In fact, 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East is the nation’s largest healthcare union. And it’s the largest labor endorsement so far in the District 10 race.

The newly redrawn congressional district includes all of Manhattan south of 14th Street, plus Brownstone Brooklyn neighborhoods like Park Slope and Carroll Gardens, along with Borough Park.

Around 6,000 members of the 1199 union live in the district, according to Rivera’s team.

Rivera and 1199 announced the endorsement in a Zoom press conference on July 6. They were joined by Rivera supporters Congressmember Nydia Velaquez and Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso.

The East Village councilmember called the union’s support “a critical component of the winning coalition that we’re putting together for NY-10.” She added that the prominent union’s membership “truly represents the fabric of our community and our district.

“My mother is a proud union member,” she noted. “I know the importance of a union having your back.”

Rivera formerly chaired the City Council’s Hospitals Committee. She praised 1199 members for having been on the front lines during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There is no quesetion that Carlina Rivera is the best advocate for us to be our champion in Congress,” said Milly Silva, 1199SEIU executive vice president, “whether it is healthcare, whether it is housing, whether it is criminal justice reform.”

Congressmember Nydia Velazquez has been a force in support of Carlina Rivera’s candidacy. (Photo by The Village Sun)

Velazquez was reverently introduced during the Zoom call as “La Luchadora herself” — referencing a ferocious female pro wrestler — and “the political godmother” of the current generation of rising Hispanic politicos and leaders.

“I know from experience that winning 1199’s support is a sign of a campaign that is getting serious, that is getting momentum,” she said. “Over 30 years ago, I got the support of 1199 — and here we are again.”

Velazquez noted that her district — which, before the recent redistricting, contained part of the Lower East Side — formerly included nearly 47 percent of the newly drawn Congressional District 10.

Reynoso said of Rivera and himself, “We’re both kids that grew up in Section 8 housing.” He added that his mother was an 1199 home health aide.

Since the topic was 1199 and healthcare, during the Q&A with the press, The Village Sun asked Rivera if cutting down hundreds of air-cleaning, mature trees in East River Park wouldn’t exacerbate the district’s already-high asthma rate, and how it would impact the district’s future health. The councilmember supports the East Side Coastal Resiliency megaproject, which has already razed the park’s southern half and all its trees, and has also felled a number of mature trees in the park’s northern half, as well. Under E.S.C.R., the park will be raised 8 feet to 10 feet to put it above the level of coastal flooding.

In response, Rivera noted that air monitors are part of the reiliency project.

“First and foremost, we do have to protect the families who are living in low-lying areas along the coast. And these families are mostly NYCHA families,” she said, referring to New York City Housing Authority public housing along the East River.

Rivera noted she co-sponsored the Asthma Free Housing Act, which amended the city’s administrative code to clarify landlords’ and the Department of Housing Preservation and Development’s responsbilities to combat indoor asthma allergen hazards, like mold, which were affected by Hurricane Sandy’s floodwaters.

In addition, she said, “We will be placing more trees in the neighborhood than they have ever seen.”

“This is the reality — climate change is not going away,” Rivera stated. “It’s a situation all over the city. NYCHA residents have to be prioritized. I always put families’ health first.”

Meanwhile, E.S.C.R. foes continue to hound the councilmember. They recently haranged her when she gave remarks at Hamilton Fish Pool when the city’s outdoor pools opened. They also regularly hold “Lunch With Carlina” protests, squeezing into a small patch of green in front of her East Village office, to highlight the park’s loss.

After the endorsement, the Zoom continued with Evan Roth Smith, a political strategist on Rivera’s team, laying out the critical factors that could put her over the top in the Aug. 23 Democratic primary.

Among the crowded field of 13 candidates, Rivera is the only Hispanic, a group that makes up one-fifth of the district, he said. Meanwhile, although Brownstone Brooklyn is a high-turnout, liberal hotbed, the vote there will be “diluted” due to the high number of candidates, he predicted. Among the candidates living in Brooklyn are former Mayor Bill de Blasio, Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon and Congressmember Mondaire Jones, the latter who only recently moved into the district.

In addition, Roth Smith noted, voter turnout in the recent June 28 Democratic primary for Assembly, governor and other offices was quite low — down by about 40 percent. The turnout in August, he predicted, “might be even lower.”

Due to New York’s redistricting mess, the congressional and state Senate primaries were pushed back from June 28 to Aug. 23. That could stand to help a candidate like Rivera, if her voter base remains in the city during the primary while other candidates’ backers are out of town on vacation.

“She has the public housing leaders’ support,” Roth Smith noted.


  1. Dalcini Dalcini July 20, 2022

    Paperboy Prince is an exciting prospect for those in CD7 tired of Nydia Velazquez. Unlike Nydia, the carpetbagger Velazquez, Paperboy’s Love Gallery is located in the district, and their home is less than a block from the district line. Velazques lives two districts over.

    Often quickly dismissed due to a lack of experience, Paperboy has not received the attention they deserve. At the least, they are someone to watch.

  2. BCapoNYC BCapoNYC July 14, 2022

    Thank you #VillageSun for holding Rivera’s high heels to the fire, RE the removal of 1,000 trees from #EastRiverPark. “Resiliency Project” is wack. The community’s environmental solution and official original promise to the people was more resilient. The trees and plants survived the Hurricane Sandy flood as would the continued concerted efforts by the LES Ecology Center and Stuy Cove Park’s newer native plantings. BTW, astroturf is not resilient/absorptive.
    There were SO MANY better alternatives than the rushed-through horror ensuing now.

  3. JS JS July 14, 2022

    Don’t send Rivera to Congress. She will only add to the dysfunction. She has been a disaster for our community.

  4. Bowery Babe Bowery Babe July 13, 2022

    Yes to all of the above!
    Carlina forgets that the original plan of building an 8-ft wall between East River Park and the FDR was worked on with the community for months and approved by all after endless meetings. Suddenly a new triple-the-cost plan arrives as a fait accompli.
    Face it Carlina — NYCHA residents HAVE NOT been prioritized. They could have had an 8-ft wall AND 1000 trees to purify their air. DEVELOPERS’ needs and profits have been prioritized here.
    And a lesson in botany for Carlina: It will take almost 100 years for the “placing of more trees in the neighborhood than ever before” to reach the level of air purification we currently have.

  5. Pam Pam July 13, 2022

    Rivera is for the upzoning of Soho/Noho. She is not good for our communities. Do NOT support her!

  6. Gojira Gojira July 13, 2022

    How? Why? Why on earth? She is the worst do-nothing politico, the female de Blasio, always a day late and a dollar short when it comes to the things her constituents care about — unless she is ignoring them completely, as in the Tech Hub fiasco and the wanton and utterly unnecessary destruction of the East River Park. A more useless politician I have not seen, and I have worked in NYC politics since the 1980s. Shame on you, Carlina — you lied your way into office and truly care about nothing but yourself and your political career.

  7. Ml Ml July 13, 2022

    Very bummed.
    Had high hopes when she first became a councilmember — but she has turned out to be a disingenuous hypocrite.
    Have zero faith in her.

  8. East Villager East Villager July 12, 2022

    Rivera has sold out the neighborhood every chance she had, and by running for Congress shortly after her second Council win, she again demonstrates that her career is the only thing she cares about. Oh sure, there will be trees again — about 40 years from now.

    The Democratic Party machine got her reelected to the City Council, and we can only hope that it won’t be enough for her to win this one. Rivera and de Blasio — can it get any worse?

    • ariana ariana July 13, 2022

      “First and foremost, we do have to protect the families who are living in low-lying areas along the coast. And these families are mostly NYCHA families,” she said, referring to New York City Housing Authority public housing along the East River.

      She is such a disingenuous creep. Protect? Oh really? The ESCR resiliency megaproject is hurting NYCHA “families” and everyone else who uses the park. I hope the park defenders continue to “hound” her. There is no accountability here and no oversight. It’s tragic.

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