My name is Emily Gallagher.
I was raised in a middle class family outside Rochester, New York but it’s here in Greenpoint where I’ve made my home for the past 13 years. I’ve been a renter, a roommate, a cyclist, a commuter. I’ve been unemployed, underemployed, and have known too many months where I scrambled to make rent. I’ve worked in retail, the gig economy, public education and the nonprofit sector. I’m a survivor of sexual violence and harassment. I have friends who have experienced police brutality and friends who have faced their rapists in court and watched them walk free. I’ve lost loved ones to traffic violence and the opioid crisis.
These experiences don’t make me unique. But they’re too rarely reflected or shared by our representatives in Albany. That’s why I’m running for New York State Assembly.
That’s no small thing. Our current Assemblyman has been in office since 1973. There hasn’t been a competitive election here in a decade. And I’m only the second new Democratic candidate to run in nearly half a century. There’s too much at stake to put our democracy on autopilot. I’ve lived, struggled, organized, and loved my life in North Brooklyn for more than a decade and I think we deserve a real choice.
Twelve years ago, I began my journey in Brooklyn activism by joining Neighbors Allied for Good Growth and in 2010, I became co-chair of the board. We worked tirelessly for the creation of new parkland, safe streets initiatives like bike lanes and traffic calming, preserving rent stabilized housing and fighting luxury development. Later, I served as NAGG’s representative to the Mobilization Against Displacement.
In 2016, I was approached by members of the New Kings Democrats reform club to run for the position of Female District Leader in the 50th Assembly district. I challenged the machine and narrowly lost by less than 350 votes while winning 53 of 87 election districts.
During my time knocking on doors, I heard from multiple sexual assault survivors who had terrible, retraumatizing experiences with the police who handled their cases. After the election, I founded the Greenpoint Sexual Assault Task Force which organized for a trauma-centered approach to reforming the NYPD’s protocol. A dismissed rape case was reopened after GTF protests and another survivor launched a lawsuit against the department. We also advocated to get our police captain replaced and, within a year, he was.
I was inspired by the transformation of the State Senate over the past year. We swept the IDC into the dustbin of history. But it takes more than one functioning chamber in a two house system. We need to fix the Assembly and fill it with advocates, organizers, fighters and leaders. We don’t need people who merely vote for bills, we need people to write them, advocate for them, and make sure they are as explicit and clear as they can be. We need to doggedly build something for the future.
It’s going to take drive, fearlessness, and real initiative to prepare our district for all of the things to come. I’m asking you to join me on this journey.