Samuels Calls Rivera Strongest Reform and Progressive Candidate with Best Experience;

Urges Unity in Critical Efforts to Defeat Pedro Espada

NEW YORK — Bill Samuels and the New Roosevelt Initiative (NRI) today threw their full support behind the Democrat Gustavo Rivera in the 33rd State Senate district against disgraced State Senator Pedro Espada. Samuels cited Rivera’s integrity, background as an educator, knowledge of State Government, experience working on progressive causes and his commitment to reforming Albany as key factors in the decision to support his first campaign for state office.

“Gustavo Rivera is exactly the kind of ‘New Roosevelt’ that the residents of the Bronx deserve in their State Senator,” explained Samuels.  “At 34 years old, he has already established himself as a natural leader in the progressive movement and a true fighter for reform and transparency, so his first run for public office is bolstered by his lifelong commitment to public service. He has almost a decade of teaching experience at some of New York’s most well known academic institutions such as Hunter College and Pace University.  His work to elect Sen. Stewart-Cousins was critical for growing the reform movement in Albany; and his work building strong field operations for President Obama and Senator Gillibrand helped bring new people into the political process and build a stronger democracy.  He knows Albany, knows the reforms that need to be made, and he knows how to make them happen.  And he’ll bring back true integrity and independence to this office.”

“Rivera is simply the strongest candidate to challenge Espada, and I urge everyone who wants to a better legislature to unite behind him,” said Samuels. “I have great respect for Desiree Pilgrim-Hunter and the other candidates, but a divided field of candidates only increases the likelihood that Espada gets re-elected and continues his reign of corruption and leading the dysfunction in Albany.

“Having recently made the difficult, but right decision to end my campaign for Lieutenant Governor and State Senate President, I understand how difficult it can be to lay aside one’s personal plans for the greater good,” Samuels said.  “But I respectfully ask Ms. Pilgrim-Hunter, Mr. Padernacht and Mr. Tirado to make this sacrifice for the benefit of the residents of the Bronx and all of New York State.  Together, unified, we can right this wrong and remove Pedro Espada from power.”

Samuels, who was an active candidate for Lieutenant Governor until recently, founded the New Roosevelt Initiative to help identify and support the next generation of progressive leaders.   The initiative is a multiyear effort to raise money for insurgent candidates who will reform Albany and end the culture of corruption.

Samuels and the New Roosevelt Initiative have made the defeat of Pedro Espada their first and highest priority in the long term effort to bring true reform to Albany and create a state legislature that works for the people of the state.   To support Rivera, New Roosevelt will be building a strong grassroots operation in the district, and building a broad coalition of like minded progressive groups who will bring added strength and expertise to the campaign.

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