Residents back Christian Amato for state senate in Aug. 23 Democratic primary

To the editor:

In this upside down year, we have yet another primary election coming up on Aug. 23. We are writing to urge Pelham Democrats to vote for Christian Amato for New York State Senate.

Christian is the only candidate who has been in this race since the beginning, knocking on doors and meeting constituents all over the district. He has built a multiethnic, multiracial, multigenerational coalition. Having seen him in action, we can attest that no one works harder or cares more about District 34 and its communities. When there is work to be done, where there are needs to be met, Christian shows up. This is why Christian has been endorsed by elected officials and Democratic party leaders around the district and by many organizations, including  No IDC NY, Progressive Women of New York, DRUM Beats, the Italian American Political Action Committee, Progressive Women of Pelham, Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, American Youth for Climate Action and the Liberty Democrats Association, among others. He is the only candidate to have received the Gun Sense Candidate distinction from Moms Demand Action for his public safety program.

Christian knows the district, both the Bronx and Westchester, inside and out. A first-generation Bronxite, he was born and raised on Pelham Parkway, took classes at the Pelham Art Center, played soccer in “the bubble” and went to high school at Archbishop Stepinac in White Plains. He set up our current state senator’s district office in 2018/2019, hiring and training staff and interns, setting up office systems and meeting with local elected officials, community groups and other stakeholders on a regular basis.

After leaving that office, Christian worked to get other Democrats elected and on statewide policy issues. He ran Andom Ghebreghiorgis’ campaign for the 16th Congressional District, Elisa Crespo’s groundbreaking race for New York City Council (she would have been the first transgender city council member) and Amanda Farias’ successful city council race in 2021. Most recently, before deciding to run for state senate, Christian worked with state legislators including health committee chairmen State Sen. Gustavo Rivera and Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, while managing the Community Service Society-led Campaign to End Medical Debt.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, Christian tirelessly connected community members with the services and supplies they needed. He also currently serves on Community Board 11 in the Bronx, where he co-chairs the transportation committee and serves on the parks and recreation committee. For those unfamiliar with community boards, it takes a special person to listen to the often conflicting needs and wants of the diverse Bronx CB11 community and to do it in a way that everyone feels heard.

Christian’s political and community work and knowledge of the district will stand him in good stead representing us in Albany. He is conscientious, committed and knows the issues and how to build coalitions. If he has knocked on your door in recent days, you know he has a genuine desire to understand our concerns.

Christian will work to prioritize the climate and environmental issues impacting our community, including the dire need to upgrade our infrastructure to cope with the flooding from severe storms that has caused so many in Pelham to lose property and endure displacement from their homes. Christian will work to keep our communities safe while at the same time ensuring protection of civil rights and civil liberties. He will work to protect reproductive rights, LGBTQ rights and to promote racial, social and economic justice. He will work to solve the housing crisis that has made Westchester unaffordable for too many who grew up here, grew old here or work here. Before turning to politics, Christian produced and directed theater and still goes back to his high school alma mater every year to help with student productions. With his background in the arts, Christian will work to bring more funding for arts and cultural events to the district.

For those who may be concerned that he has not already held public office: Our current state senator was only six years out of law school and had never held public office before running for state senate. Eliot Engel was a teacher before he ran for the state assembly and went on to represent us in Congress for many years. Christian’s political, community and government experience runs as deep if not deeper. And we have seen too many times that experience in elected office doesn’t always translate into a meaningful legislative record. Christian is a leader and a coalition-builder. He gets things done.

Christian is a person of integrity who follows through on his commitments. He knows Pelham better than any other candidate in the race. We wholeheartedly urge you to cast your vote for him in the August primary.

Please visit or reach out to any of us to learn more.

Liz Massie, former chair, Village of Pelham Democratic Committee

440 Eighth Ave.

along with:

Toby Marxuach-Gusciora, Pelham Manor Democratic Committee chair

Maryanne Joyce, Village of Pelham Democratic district leader

Moneeka Zaman

Jasmine Zaman

Solange Hansen

Rose Diaz

Mina Brooks, Progressive Women of Pelham Advisory Council

Violet Massie-Vereker

Norbert Bryan Sr.

Kim McGreal

Grace DaProcida

Joseph DaProcida

Deborah Lowery Knapp

Ava Knapp, Progressive Women of Pelham voting member

Henry Knapp

Toby Knapp

Denise Boyle-Quatroni, Village of Pelham Democratic District 4 leader

Eileen Madden Osmolskis

Paul Osmolskis

Tara Weishaupl

Eileen Matz

Brady Butterfield

Karen Gardner, Indivisible Mount Vernon Pelham

Chris Fink

Hanan Kamal Eldahry, Village of Pelham trustee

Joe Lore

Thomas Farley

Michelle Boyle

Suany Aquino-Chudavala