July 15, 2016
By Bill Lipton, Working Families Party
New York, NY – The Daily News is reporting that a group of Republican mega-donors, hedge fund billionaires, and a Walmart heiress are teaming up to spend millions to defeat four progressive state legislators in New York.
They just started a Super PAC to back Democratic primary challengers to WFP-endorsed Senator Gustavo Rivera (the Bronx) and Assemblymembers Phil Ramos (Long Island), Pamela Harris (Brooklyn) and Latrice Walker (Brooklyn). Why? Because all four of these lawmakers stood up to help defeat an education tax credit that would have lined the pockets of billionaires who donate to non-public schools.
Hedge fund billionaires shouldn't be setting our education policies, and they shouldn’t be able to choose the lawmakers who represent us in Albany. We weren't planning for this — but we need to fight back.
All four of these lawmakers have stood up for working families in their communities. They've led in the fight for $15, the fight for paid family leave and more. Thanks to that, they're now under attack by a group of donors that includes Alice Walton, the Walmart heiress, as well as a top hedge-fund donor to Jeb Bush’s Super PAC.
For years, billionaire donors have had the run of Albany, keeping the State Senate under Republican control and trying to buy politicians in both parties. But this effort to back primary challengers to four progressive lawmakers marks an escalation.
Bernie Sanders excited millions during this campaign with his call to stop millionaires and billionaires from buying our democracy. If we are going to accomplish that, we need to defend the progressive champions who have fought for working families their entire careers.