U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Astoria) is facing a primary challenge from a young Manhattan lawyer eager to make her mark as a progressive Democrat.
“If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere, right?” Reshma Saujani said of New York City in a statement. “Well, a lot of people can’t make it here anymore. They can’t make it because we have more than just a budget deficit in Washington. We have an idea deficit. I’m running for Congress to change that.”
Saujani was born to Indians who fled the African country of Uganda and grew up in the suburbs of Chicago. She has a law degree from Yale and a public policy degree from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. She is a research fellow at Yale Law and, until she resigned, was an attorney for Fortress Investment Group.
She cut her political teeth as an attorney for HillPAC, Hillary Clinton’s public action committee, where she helped raise $1 million for 2004 presidential candidate John Kerry.
She quit her job at Fortress to focus on politics.
“I realized that I could be most effective in bringing about reform by using my expertise to help the public sector solve the complicated issues that plague Wall Street,” she said, noting she would support increased regulation of banks.
Maloney has placed a heavy emphasis on the economy as well, appearing recently at Long Island City’s LaGuardia Community College to advocate a tax break for small businesses that hire more employees in the current economic climate.
Maloney had nearly $1.8 million on hand for the upcoming election at the last filing deadline, Dec. 31, 2009. Published reports said a fund-raising breakfast she had last week netted her another $100,000.
Saujani had $386,439 on hand through the same time period.
Maloney, a former New York City teacher and administrator, was elected to Congress in 1992. She herself had considered a primary fight against U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) this year, but was dissuaded when numerous political powerhouses in the state backed the freshman senator from upstate.
But Maloney has the backing from some powerful political figures in the race for her own seat, including U.S. Reps. Joseph Crowley (D-Jackson Heights), Anthony Weiner (D-Forest Hills) and Nydia Velazquez (D-Ridgewood).
Maloney’s district includes Astoria, Long Island City and parts of Sunnyside and Woodside as well as Manhattan’s East Side.
Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e-mail at jewalsh@cn
©2010 Community News Group
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