The next City Council election isn’t scheduled until 2017, however, one Lower East Side contender took an initial, but important, step toward running over the weekend. Carlina Rivera sought and received the endorsement of CoDA, the progressive political club covering Council District 2.
Rosie Mendez is serving her third and final term as Council member in an area covering a sliver of the neighborhood below East Houston Street, the East Village and Murray Hill. Rivera is Mendez’s legislative director. She previously worked for Good Old Lower East Side (GOLES), the housing advocacy organization, and was a member of Community Board 3. Rivera currently holds a volunteer elected position, that of district leader in the 74th AD (Part A).
During an endorsement meeting on Saturday, the lifelong Lower East Side resident said of the community, “It’s where I went to school. It’s where I made my closest friends, and it’s where I fell in love (Rivera was married to fellow neighborhood activist Jamie Rogers last year). Needless to say, I know how precious the LES is. It’s everything to me, absolutely everything.” She promised to help lead the battle for tenant rights, for the survival of small businesses and for the sustainability of public housing. “I’m a fighter,” said Rivera. “I plan to work hard every single day.”
An official announcement regarding the Council campaign is likely months away. CoDA’s endorsement, however, is significant. It means Rivera will be able to count on the organization as a political base, following in the footsteps of Rosie Mendez and Margarita Lopez (who served as LES Council member from 1998-2005). A potentially crowded field is expected to compete for the District 2 seat.
CoDA weighed in on other campaigns this past weekend. The club decided it won’t make an endorsement in the April 19 special election to replace Sheldon Silver in the 65th Assembly District. Alice Cancel, the Democratic nominee, was fighting off a flu bug and did not attend. Rosie Mendez spoke on her behalf. Yuh-Line Niou, who’s running on the Working Families Party line, did make an appearance. She faced a withering series of questions from club members (we’ll have more about this in an upcoming story regarding Niou’s candidacy). Nydia Velazquez (7th Congressional District) and Carolyn Maloney (12th Congressional District) both received CoDA endorsements.
The organization also selected new leaders. Jamie Rogers and Marquis Jenkins were elected co-presidents. Rogers, owner of Pushcart Coffee, is also a member of Community Board 3.