Assemblywoman Ari Espinal (D-Corona, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights) this week utilized her “DREAMers Day of Action” event to slam her DREAMer opponent, Catalina Cruz as a “career politician.”
Espinal cut her political teeth working for former Assemblymember and now current City Council Member Francisco Moya, held the event outside of her campaign headquarters at 46-20 104th Street in Corona to commemorate the 6th anniversary of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Cruz, who came here as a DREAMer from Colombia, is an attorney and cut her political teeth as the chief of staff for former City Council Member Julissa Ferreras.
In a political musical chairs game, Moya gave up his seat to run for and win Ferreras’ seat when she retired last year. Then Espinal won Moya’s vacant seat earlier this year in a special election.
“She’s [Cruz) is a very experienced woman. A very polished woman, but she’s also a career politician,” Espinal said.
“I have been in the frontlines [on DREAMer issues] for the past seven to eight years when I worked in the state assembly office with Councilman Francisco Moya, and I know the issues quite well,” Espinal said.
Moya made an appearance in Espinal’s rally, echoing the same sentiment that Cruz a “career politician” who is an ill-fit candidate despite being a DREAMer herself.
“She [Espinal] was born and raised in this community. She didn’t just move in here to run,” Moya said. “She has come [into office] with a clear vision, and has been able to get it done.”
Moya said Cruz just moved into Jackson Heights to run for the seat because there was a political opening while Espinal knows the issues.
“We have an individual here, in Ari Espinal, who has been in the forefront of not just helping me with [DREAMer] legislation but organizing the meetings, the rallies, the marches that dealt with this issue prior to [President Donald Trump] igniting the whole immigration issue,” Moya said.
Espinal said she has also been focusing on overcrowded schools in the district. She has and will continue to bring in money to accommodate over crowding if re-elected, she said.
Espinal also noted her help in getting Moya’s Carlo’s Law legislation that makes managers and/or developers liable to felonies if they are found responsible for the injuries or deaths of their workers passed.
Queens Borough President Melinda Katz (D) also briefly visited Espinal at the event.
“I love what she is doing in Albany, but also what she’s doing for the community,” Katz said. “I have little doubt [she will lose]. Voters know who’s bringing home money for the district. They know who cares. They know that if someone grew up in the community,” Katz said.
The Democratic primary is Sept. 13. Also running in the primary is Yonel Letellier Sosa