Democratic celebrity Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made a guest appearance at SUNY New Paltz last Friday to endorse Zephyr Teachout on her run for New York Attorney General.
Numerous media outlets and hundreds of students and community members swarmed the Multipurpose Room of the Student Union building to support Teachout’s campaign and meet Ocasio-Cortez in person. The candidates rallied with attendees to gain support for Teachout’s upcoming election on Thursday, Sept. 13.
“We’re in a tight race with big money and the only way to fight it is with person to person communication,” Teachout said.
Teachout is a New York Times endorsed candidate who is a professor at Fordham University and an expert in constitutional law. Some of her main campaign points include cleaning up Albany corruption, fighting against mass-incarceration and suing President Donald Trump for his “assault on the law.”
“I believe in the radical rule of law,” Teachout said. “That’s the promise that whoever you are, no matter how much money you have or what color your skin is, you should be treated equally.”
Back in June, 28-year-old Ocasio-Cortez dealt a shocking defeat to incumbent representative Joseph Crowley for the Democratic nomination in New York’s 14th District. She is the first woman of color to run in the district despite the heavy number of minority residents. If she defeats Republican nominee Anthony Pappas in the Nov. 6 general election, she will become the youngest woman to be elected to congress.
Ocasio-Cortez spoke about the serious need for reformation in New York’s current political systems.
“We always think of New York as a blue state because that’s how we vote every year,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “But it’s hard to look into our own backyards and admit our faults.”
“Young people have a special responsibility [in elections] because when we show up, we make changes,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
The candidates agreed on a number of progressive policies including abolishing ICE, adopting a single-payer healthcare system and legalizing marijuana to decrease mass incarceration. They also attacked other campaigns for accepting corporate donation, which they claim adulterates the interests of politicians.
“It’s wrong to take money from the people you are supposed to be investigating,” Teachout said. “That is why I will never accept corporate donations.”
The rally was organized by the New Paltz branch of Democracy Matters (DM), a non-partisan campus-based national student organization, working to remove big private money from politics. DM President Ellie Condelles spoke highly about teachout and noted the importance of student involvement.
“Zephyr Teachout truly has students—and young people in general—in mind,” Condelles said. “Her platform reflects issues close to our hearts here at New Paltz—she is truly a representative of the people. It’s safe to say that our generation is passionate, and we’re pretty much fed up with seeing our interests overlooked by those in positions of power. If you want to see change, go make it happen!”
At the end of the rally, Teachout declared a sincere promise to the people of New York if she is elected to office.
“When I am your next Attorney General, I will answer to the people of New York, my moral conscious and the radical rule of law.”