My vote is for Miguelina Camilo


To the editor:

We have an important Democratic primary for state senate on Tuesday, Aug. 23.  Many people have asked who I am supporting and why.

I strongly endorse Miguelina Camilo. As a homeowner in Riverdale, she understands our community and its needs.

We must elect someone who is caring, knowledgeable and hardworking — and who can work well with others. The fact that Ms. Camilo is endorsed by U.S. Reps. Ritchie Torres and Adriano Espaillat, Bronx borough president Vanessa Gibson, Councilman Eric Dinowitz, Assemblywoman Yudelka Tapia, Councilwoman Pierina Sanchez, many labor unions and so many others, says a lot about her ability to build a strong and diverse coalition of support — which is exactly what one must do to be an effective legislator.

Miguelina Camilo came to New York when she was 2 with her family from the Dominican Republic. Their story is the story of the American dream. Her father built a small business. As a teenager, she worked in her father’s store and helped neighbors deal with government red tape and language barriers.

Early in life, she understood the issues facing small business owners. She was the first in her family to go to college — and to law school. Until she became a candidate, she was president of the Bronx Women’s Bar Association.

Miguelina is a fierce defender of abortion rights and an advocate for women’s health. She is deeply committed to public safety, and strongly opposes efforts that would defund the police. She thoroughly understands our housing needs and stands with renters, co-operators and homeowners.

She will be a strong voice to address climate change, and will make passing the New York Health Act a priority. And she will fight tooth and nail for school funding and for all of our kids.

Once the court approved the new state senate district lines, Ms. Camilo’s opponent, Gustavo Rivera, decided to run against this first-time candidate rather than in the district in which he resides.

I supported Gustavo Rivera in the past, but now I do have some critical policy differences with him on issues that are important to me and our district. For example, he has publicly supported defund the police. While I have been a strong supporter for police accountability, I oppose large cuts to the New York Police Department budget that would result in reducing our capacity to fight crime, including a significant decrease in the number of cops on the street.

I am a strong supporter of Assemblyman Dick Gottfried’s New York Health Act, and I applaud the fact that Mr. Rivera picked up the bill in the senate from Bill Perkins.

However, it sits in the senate health committee that he chairs, and year after year, hasn’t moved one inch in the senate. Why is that?

And while the issue of Israel is obviously not directly in the state senate’s jurisdiction, Gustavo Rivera’s positions matter. He has been a strong critic of Israel, he is a close ally of boycott, divestment, sanction activists. And he voted “no” more than once on anti-BDS bills in the senate.

Consequently, I find his overall policy posture on this issue very troublesome.

So, given all these considerations, I will cast my vote for Miguelina Camilo, not Rivera. I consider our community very fortunate that we have in her a young, energetic and brilliant candidate whose passion and commitment to our community — to her community — will make her an extraordinary state senator.

Jeffrey Dinowitz

The author is an Assemblyman representing the greater Riverdale area