Hausman says district leader race all about relationships


Emily Hausman said she wants to give a voice to those who are not old enough to vote and make sure their voices, priorities and needs are heard.

The director of the Infant and Toddler Center at SAR Academy is running for female leader of the 81st Democratic Assembly District and faces incumbent political director Abigail Martin in the June 25 primary.

“Someone has to step up and do the work that aligns with our values, the values of the Democratic Party, the values of our city and the values of our community,” Hausman told The Press.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, Hausman, former director of early childhood education at The Riverdale Y, ran an in-person emergency school to house, feed and educate children of frontline workers. Hausman, who was pregnant with her fourth child at the time, built relationships with constituents and local electeds, who supplied masks and hand sanitizer. Being a district leader is all about having relationships, she said.

“It’s about being present,” Hausman said. “It’s about being entrenched. It’s about being an active leader and leading by example. My plan is to know people deeply and to know what they care about.”

When it comes to increasing voter turnout, Hausman said she will take an approach used in education known as backwards design, in which goals are set first and the work on the steps to achieve them are considered.

When canvassing, Hausman said she will take notes on constituents’ top priorities and issues so ,when the election comes, she can come back and remind them to vote with those concerns in mind.

“And we can take a more pointed approach because we know that people turn out for the issues that they care about,” Hausman said.

Before moving to Riverdale in 2017, Hausman grew up in Lehigh Valley. She and her two siblings all pitched-in with the family business, sweeping warehouse floors and punching grommets and draperies. She later graduated from American Jewish University in Los Angles with a bachelor of arts in Jewish history and Hebrew letters in 2009, then in 2010 with a masters degree in education.

Hausman served as a teacher across several states from 2011 to 2014. She was the curriculum director at the Levite Jewish Community Center in Birmingham, Alabama, from 2014 to 2017. Upon moving to Riverdale, she served as director of early childhood education at the Riverdale Y from 2017 to 2023.

Hausman’s present role at SAR Academy helps families with their first journey into the education system.

“I look at everything through the lens of education,” Hausman said. “Differentiating for every individual and knowing no two kids and no two constituents are alike. In education, we believe in this idea of the divine image and that everyone is good on the inside. And it’s our job, it’s our mission, to bring out that good in them if they’re struggling to find it.”

The Benjamin Franklin Reform Democratic Club endorsed candidate in the female district leader race, Hausman joined the club back in 2019. She and then public education teacher Eric Dinowitz’s children were in the same class. Through conversations with Dinowitz, she said, she realized education should inform policy. It was a turning point for her when Covid-19 hit and she saw firsthand how the city provided for people.

“In 2020, I built something in response to what my community needed at the time, which was an emergency school for the kids of frontline workers,” Hausman said. “Then, in the fall of 2020, 3-K (a classroom program for 3 year olds) which wasn’t supposed to come to our district for years, was all of a sudden available to us. So I said, ‘great, we’re going to do it. We’re going to unburden our families (of) the cost of tuition.”

As a district leader, Hausman said she wants to make sure lines of communication are open between constituents and officials at state, city and federal levels. She is running with fellow district leader candidate Ben Jackson, state committee incumbent Michael Heller and candidate Johanna Edmondson, as well as incumbent assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz.

“My number-one priority is to make sure people vote,” Hausman said. “My number-two priority is to make sure they’re informed voters. And then, if we agree or disagree, that’s part of healthy conversation. I believe in all Democrats.”

Emily Hausman, 81st Democratic Assembly District, Abigail Martin, SAR Academy, Riverdale politics, female district leader, Covid-19 pandemic response, Benjamin Franklin Reform Democratic Club, voter turnout, community engagement, early childhood education.