Mid-Hudson Valley Democratic Socialists of America Elect Member Sarahana Shrestha as the Democratic Nominee for Assembly District 103
KINGSTON, NY – On Tuesday, June 28th voters in Assembly District 103 chose Sarahana Shrestha as their Democratic nominee. In a district with a 2:1 Democratic enrollment advantage this virtually guarantees that Shrestha will be the first socialist in history elected to the New York State Legislature from outside New York City.
This was a DSA campaign from top to bottom, though we had help from progressive allies in the Hudson Valley like the Working Families Party and For the Many. Shrestha is a DSA member and the co-chair of the Ecosocialism Working Group for the local Mid-Hudson Valley chapter. Leadership positions of the campaign were all filled with DSA members. Dozens of DSA members volunteered as phonebankers and canvassers, helping the campaign knock on over 30,000 doors.
This win builds on Mid-Hudson Valley DSA’s electoral victories in 2021, when the chapter elected five endorsed candidates in local elections across Dutchess, Orange, and Ulster Counties: Phil Erner, Giselle Martinez, Megan Deichler, Dan Aymar-Blair, and Sarah Salem. Phil Erner, with DSA’s backing, toppled David Donaldson, the Chairman of the Ulster County Legislature and a 28-year incumbent. Twice, in a little over a year, Mid-Hudson Valley DSA has done what many had said was impossible.
We are confident Shrestha will be elected on November 8th, 2022. She will take office in January 2023 alongside her DSA slatemates. Together they will be part of the historic Socialists in Office committee which represents a shared commitment to socialist legislating. They will act collectively to wield power together. They will fight for the New York Health Act, Good Cause Eviction, the Build Public Renewables Act, expanding abortion rights, and fully funding our public schools and universities.
Kevin Cahill first took office in 1993. He went years without a serious primary challenge. When we started this race, self-appointed political experts told us it was impossible. They said he was a progressive because he cosponsored a few good bills (even while he took money from the special interests working to kill those bills). The voters were smarter than that. Housing, healthcare, education, and energy are human rights. A seat in the Assembly is not.
Recent events have shown that “vote blue, no matter who” isn’t enough to address the crises we face. There is a substantial difference between an elected official who pays lip service to progressive principles while taking corporate donations, and one like Shrestha who will actually organize to make those principles into policy reality. Corporate Democratic politicians are now on notice. If you ignore the material needs of your constituents, we will come for your seat.
We are a member-led and member-funded, democratic political and activist organization, but we are not a political party. While we recognize the importance of electoral politics, we know that the multiracial working mass movement we need won’t be built solely by electing better candidates, but by building power through labor organizing, mutual aid networks, tenant organizing, and much more. We fight for systemic change that empowers working people. Our chapter covers Dutchess, Orange, and Ulster Counties in Mid-Hudson Valley, New York.