One of the leading candidates in the City Council speaker’s race was once a dues-paying member of the Democratic Socialists of America who backed defunding the NYPD.
Carlina Rivera (D-East Village), who voted to defund the NYPD by $1 billion in 2020 before approving a $200 million boost back to the agency’s budget this year, says she’d be a bridge builder among moderate and progressive fractions of the incoming council.
But Rivera, whose mother is a civilian employee with the NYPD, told Vice News in 2017 that she was seeking DSA’s endorsement for her council leader bid.
“When you’re talking about running for office and campaigning, people are already trying to tell you that your ideas are too radical. You’re not even elected yet and people are already saying, You know you’re never going to get that done,” Rivera told Vice at the time.
Now, ahead of the January 2021 speaker’s election that will be decided by a vote of the council’s 51 members, Rivera is trying to downplay her DSA courtship, saying she only attended the group’s meetings because she has an open mind.
“I went because I made a commitment to meet with anyone who wanted to improve the lives of my constituents and all New Yorkers,” she told The Post in a statement.
“If you’re running for office, or if you’re already an elected official, you’d better be prepared to meet with all kinds of different New Yorkers — some of whom you may not entirely agree with — because that’s how you build consensus, and consensus is how you get things done.
“If you look at my policies and track-record, then you know I’m willing to work with anyone who has good ideas, regardless of whether they’re to the left or right of me on the political spectrum,” she said.
The far-left group requires candidates who are seeking the DSA’s endorsement to pay dues to attend their meetings.
And while she wasn’t officially endorsed by the group, its reps put out a press release celebrating her 2017 win as a “DSA member.”
Among DSA’s local positions are granting citizenship to all illegal immigrants, removing police from schools, and imposing a ‘wealth tax.’
Prominent Democratic consultant Hank Sheinkopf, who is not involved in the race, said “Carlina Rivera’s association with the DSA is not likely to help her become speaker.”
“It’s likely epoxy glue. You can’t run from it,” Sheinkopf said.
“They don’t care about creating jobs. They want to defund the police. It’s a set-up for disaster.
“It’s the DSA House of Horrors. Once you get in, you can never leave,” he said.
A DSA spokesman declined to comment.
Two DSA candidates will be in the incoming council — Tiffany Cabán of western Queens and Alexa Avilés of Sunset Park, Brooklyn.
Other leading candidates for the powerful position of speaker, who leads the council and determines which bills and budget items get a vote, are Justin Brannan (D-Brooklyn), Adrienne Adams (D-Queens) and Keith Powers (D-Manhattan).
While Democratic mayor nominee Eric Adams has not waded into the speaker’s race, he has said he’s running against the Democratic socialist movement.