My name is Joyce Johnson and I’m running for Congress in New York’s 13th District, where I have lived and worked as an active member of the community for more than 30 years.
I am running for Congress because I can see and am dismayed by how our communities are being left behind: local unemployment is at a shocking 9.3 percent — and the rates for young people, African Americans, and Latinos are nearly double that amount; failing schools are threatening to derail our kids’ futures; unfair labor practices are shutting out women and people of color from receiving equal pay for equal work; access to quality and affordable housing options are becoming scarce despite the rise in new construction above 96th street; and law enforcement continues to violate and abuse our citizens’ civil liberties. All of these issues call out for the urgent need for change — and it’s within my power and yours to create it.
The momentum has risen for pushing our district in a fresh, new leadership direction, and reaches as far back as 2010 when I first ran for Congress. Despite being outspent and outnumbered, my campaign collected 10,000 signatures to qualify me for the ballot. I garnered enough votes in parts of the district to outpace a fellow candidate who was a NY State Assembly Representative with a legendary political lineage, and received more than six times the number of votes my other opponents did. My qualifications and readiness to serve the people of Upper Manhattan were recognized by many – including the New York Times and Women’s Campaign Forum, both of which endorsed my campaign.
I’m back in this race because I continue to believe as I did then: that New Yorkers deserve leadership that works for them. Leadership that is capable of affecting change and promoting progress. Leadership that is fair, inclusive, and never fails to put people first. These are attributes that the current 41-year incumbent has failed to demonstrate. But I have and if hired for the job, I will be the leader to help move our district forward.
After nearly two decades in private sector leadership working to expand equal employment opportunities for women and people of color, I became Director of Community Relations for the NYC Comptroller’s Office where I worked with more than 400 diverse communities across the city. In 2008, I was appointed Field Director by Obama for America, for which I drove state-wide voter mobilization efforts that helped put our president in the White House. Each experience heightened my sensitivity to the needs and concerns facing everyday New Yorkers, and helped to instill in me a greater clarity of mission and purpose.
If elected to Congress, that mission and purpose will include creating jobs that offer equal pay for equal work; investing in our youth by building better schools, hiring quality teachers, and fostering cleaner, safer environments for them to learn and play; bridging the social and economic divide that continues to burden hardworking individuals and families; and pushing hard against any legislative agenda that seeks to erode the civil and women’s rights for which our predecessors fought so hard to secure.
The way forward to accomplishing these important things is with pragmatic yet innovative leadership that is connected to the communities they’ve been hired to serve, and that can envision our nation’s future as it ought to be — full of promise and opportunity.
That is the future I see and will fight hard to achieve as Congresswoman of New York’s 13th C.D. I hope that I can count on your support to make that happen.
Joyce S. Johnson