March 28, 2013
By Stephanie West
ALBANY, NY–Assemblywoman Nily Rozic (D,WF-Fresh Meadows) moderated a panel alongside the Working Families Party and Make the Road New York during the 2013 Spring Somos Conference Youth Summit entitled: “Have You Considered Running for Office?” Community activists, leaders, and residents from all over New York gathered in Albany to discuss important issues facing the Latino community.
Assemblywoman Rozic said, “Young people are underrepresented in government and that fact is not going to change unless we recruit activists from our community and involve them in the electoral process. We need people from all walks of life to invest in their communities and in public service.”
Dan Cantor the Executive Director of the Working Families Party said, “If you look at City Hall or Albany or Washington DC and thinks the people in power don't represent you, don't understand you or don't care about you, then you should think about running for office yourself some day. That's one of the biggest ways you can make change in your own community.” Javier H. Valdés, Co-Director of Make the Road New York said, “We need to increase the participation of our communities in the electoral process, not only to demonstrate our growing power in the state, but also to push for policies that are important to us, like the NYS DREAM Act. One of the best ways to help make that change is to get talented individuals from our community to run for office and work with us to accomplish our dreams.”
The three day conference included forums, town halls, and exhibits that highlight immigration reform, economic development, political empowerment, civic participation, education, youth, and mental health. Participants were able to get a better understanding of the importance of civic participation and information that there are resources to allow them to pursue a career of public service. The State Legislature currently has nineteen Hispanic members.