From: Newindiatimes.com

‘Local Heroine’ Continues Bid For State Assembly Despite Odds

By Ela Dutt
March 2016

jennifer

Declared a “Local Heroine’ by the Battery Park paper The Broadsheet, and named a “Rising Star” in New York by City & State news outlet, Jenifer Rajkumar, 33, a civil rights attorney, is continuing her bid for the state Assembly from the 65th District. The seat opened up when former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver stepped down after his conviction.

Rajkumar is optimistic despite the Democratic County Committee in the 65th Assembly District overwhelmingly endorsing someone else for the Special Election primary scheduled for April 19.

The Indian-American has been an elected Democratic Leader since 2011 and has deep roots in the area, which she emphasized would carry her through. At the fundraiser March 7, held in Jing Fong restaurant, Chinatown’s largest unionized eatery, activists and supporters, felt the same. Organizers estimate there were close to 150 attendees at Jing Fong. It was a multicultural crowd that represented different economic strata and included a Council member, long-time residents and advocates for workers rights, as well as leaders of local initiatives on which Rajkumar has worked.

Among those present were City Councilman Rafael Espinal; Dr. Marc Wilkenfeld, known for his work with victims of 9/11; Abhishek Rathore, president of NetIP, Network of Indian Professionals; Wendy Cheung, long-time resident of public housing in Lower East Side and a workers’ rights advocate in Chinatown; Maggie Martinez, also a leader and long-time resident of La Guardia public housing complex; and General Sid Baumgarten, a Lower West Side Battery Park activist.

Rajkumar has been endorsed by the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club named after the well-known gay rights advocate. Last December, a coalition of national women’s groups endorsed Rajkumar, including the Women’s Campaign Fund. A few weeks ago, a coalition of Latino leaders in the Lower East Side endorsed her as well.

But 7 Democrats are in the running and Rajkumar has her work cut out for her. Democratic District Leader Alice Cancel, was overwhelmingly endorsed in February by the Democratic County Committee of the 65th District, where Rajkumar trailed 3rd in the vote count. Others include Working Families Party candidate Yuh-Line Niou, chief of staff to Queens Assemblyman Ron Kim, who has been endorsed by the chairman of the state Assembly’s Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus; District Leader Paul Newell; and a local community board chairwoman Gigi Li.

Rajkumar says regardless of the endorsements others have received, it is an open primary and “I have a very good shot with a very strong base and lots of experience in the District.”

At the March 7 meeting, Councilman Espinal said he believed in Rajkumar and that she was well-known all over the city and was a very hard worker.

Rajkumar, who spoke after several others, dwelled on the theme “This is the time for the possible,” and noted how she broke through naysayers predictions in the past and would do so again come September. Closely involved with education and affordable housing issues in Lower Manhattan, Rajkumar thinks she has the grassroots support to catapult her to a win, she told Desi Talk. “It’s a grassroots strategy. We are going to take it to every voter. And a lot of volunteers from across the district (are going door-to-door),” she said. “The key is to build a district-wide coalition of different ethnicities, incomes, neighborhoods – that will make the campaign strong.” The March 7 gathering was made up of just such a crowd from “all corners” of Lower Manhattan, Rajkumar said.

Officers

BOARD OF GOVERNORS

  1. Hon. Eric Adams
  2. George Arzt
  3. Lance Bass
  4. John Blair
  5. Mark Benoit
  6. Hon. Rodneyse Bichotte
  7. Hon. Jonathan Bing
  8. Robin Byrd
  9. Hon. Gale Brewer
  10. Christian Campbell
  11. Lisa Cannistraci
  12. Kathleen Chalfant
  13. Gus Christensen
  14. Erik Coler
  15. Debra Cooper
  16. Hon. Jon Cooper
  17. Wilson Cruz
  18. Hon. Laurie Cumbo
  19. Alan Cumming
  20. Valorie Curry
  21. Michael Czaczkes
  22. Hon. Bill de Blasio
  23. Jon Del Giorno
  24. Aries Dela Cruz
  25. Kyan Douglas
  26. Hon. Daniel Dromm
  27. James Duff
  28. Hon. Ronnie Eldridge
  29. Kathryn Erbe
  30. Hon. Herman Farrell
  31. Hon. Alan Fleishman
  32. Hon. Dan Garodnick
  33. Dan Gettleman
  34. Hon. Richard Gottfried
  35. Hon. Mark Green
  36. Robert Grunnah
  37. Tony Hoffmann
  38. Hon. Brad Hoylman
  39. Binn Jakupi
  40. Hon. Letitia James
  41. Hon. Corey Johnson
  42. Camille Joseph
  43. Phillip Keane
  44. Greg Lambert
  45. Marc Landis
  46. Dodge Landesman
  47. Cameron McFadden
  48. Michael Mallon
  49. Mike C. Manning
  50. Cathy Marino-Thomas
  51. Hon. Carlos Menchaca
  52. Hon. Rosie Mendez
  53. John Cameron Mitchell
  54. Donny Moss
  55. Barry Mullineaux
  56. Ali Najmi
  57. Hon. Paul Newell
  58. Hon. Yuh-Line Niou
  59. Noah Pfefferbilt
  60. Bob Pontarelli
  61. Billy Porter
  62. Joe Pressley
  63. Hon. Jenifer Rajkumar
  64. Hon. Gustavo Rivera
  65. Barbara Rosen
  66. Hon. Helen Rosenthal
  67. Maer Roshan
  68. Toby Russo
  69. Bill Samuels
  70. James Sansum
  71. Scott Sartiano
  72. Hon. Arthur Schwartz
  73. Lynn Schulman
  74. Hon. Rebecca Seawright
  75. Frank Selvaggi
  76. Rev. Al Sharpton
  77. Hon. Jo Anne Simon
  78. Tom Smith
  79. David Spegal
  80. Marti Speranza
  81. Anne Strahle
  82. Hon. Scott Stringer
  83. Wayne Sunday
  84. Hon. Bill Thompson
  85. Hon. Matt Titone
  86. Hon. Ritchie Torres
  87. Sam Underwood
  88. Derek Walker
  89. Jessica Walter
  90. Patricia Nell Warren
  91. Kathleen Waterman
  92. Wil Weder
  93. Seth Weissman
  94. Mel Wymore
  95. Emma Wolfe
  96. Hon. Keith Wright
  97. Zephyr Teachout