New York, NY—Organized labor lent its support this afternoon for City Council District 5 candidate Rebecca Lamorte as she needs 270 petition signatures by March 23 to get on the ballot for the June 22 primary.
The petitioning kickoff rally was held at Carl Schurz Park at E 86th Street and East End Avenue, where numerous union leaders and members gathered to first hear from Rebecca.
With bullhorn in hand, Lamorte addressed the crowd of approximately 50 supporters, who made sure to practice social distancing.
She said she was humbled by the showing of support and to be in the race, which now consists of seven candidates.
“This isn’t about me, it’s about all of us fighting together to bring widespread housing, disability and economic justice to the 5th District and the entire city of New York,” said Lamorte.
In 2013, when she was 22 years old, Lamorte was pushed by someone on the subway platform, and her leg got caught in the gap between the platform and a 6 train. Accessibility and disability justice is one of the main reasons she’s campaigning for office.
“Right now, we lack representation from disabled New Yorkers in government. We need to change that. That’s why we’re out here today to get me on the ballot, to be sure that disabled New Yorkers have a voice in government,” added Lamorte.
Lamorte has worked for a labor union her entire professional career, so it was fitting that another major construction union officially endorsed her just hours before the petitioning rally.
“I’m also here today to make a very exciting announcement—the New York City Building & Construction Trades have endorsed my campaign. [President] Gary LaBarbera couldn’t be with us here today, but he sends his full support, his well wishes because he knows that this fight is real, this campaign is union strong and this campaign is going to fight to win for all of us,” Lamorte said.
Building & Construction Trades members were at the rally, as well as members from LiUNA! NY, Laborers’ Local 79, DC 9 Painters and Allied Trades IUPAT, Elevator Constructors Local One. Also in attendance was the public sector union, the Council of Greater New York and the Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA)
In an interview, we asked Lamorte for her reaction to the strong labor support.
“It almost brings tears to my eyes. I’ve spent my entire career, my entire adult life, quite honestly, in the labor movement, fighting for workers in so many industries, and now to see them come out and support me, it fills me with so much pride and honor, and I’m just humbled to have their support,” noted Lamorte.
We also interviewed two labor leaders to learn why it was important for their unions to be supporting Lamorte in the crowded District 5 race.
Matthew D’Amico is the political action coordinator for CSEA Local 1000. He said that she’s a strong advocate for working people, for the issues that are very crucial to the city at this time—housing, education and disability rights. Also, she has legislative experience
“I think that is very important that we have people that know how legislation is done, who understand the politics of City Hall, the City Council, and I think it is also important that we have young people. Rebecca is young, and she’s been through a lot in her life, but I think she brings a history and knowledge that I think will be very good in the City Council, and I think she makes a great candidate,” said D’Amico.
Michael Halpin, an organizer with Elevator Constructors Local One, also said that Lamorte is a great candidate for the district.
“She’s out there, she leads the fight, and to be honest with you, I don’t live in Council District 5, but if I did, she’s the type of person I'd want fighting for me,” said Halpin.
After the rally, the union leaders and members then proceeded, with clipboard in hand, into the adjoining community to gather the day’s goal of 100 signatures, which, according to Lamorte's campaign manager, Harry Walton, they easily exceeded.