Lauren Ashcraft

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney Touts Congressional Record in 2020 Reelection Campaign

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney is running for reelection (Courtesy of Maloney for Congress.)

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney stands by her record. She’s been in office for more than two decades and is staking her 2020 congressional reelection campaign on bills passed, rivals defeated and agencies regulated.

Maloney says that she is proud to represent New York’s 12th Congressional District, but three candidates are vying to replace her by criticizing the very record on which she runs. Her opponents—Lauren Ashcraft, Peter Harrison and Suraj Patel—have questioned Maloney’s lack of progressive bonafides, including her decision to take corporate money to fund her campaign.

With little less than a week before the June 23rd Democratic primary, Greenpointers spoke with Maloney about campaign finance regulation, her involvement in recent protests against police brutality in the city and the issues she thinks most affect North Brooklyners.

This interview was edited and condensed for clarity. 

To voters who don’t know you, can you introduce yourself?

I’m the mother of two wonderful daughters, and I’m a widow. I’ve been representing this district since 1992. I first ran and defeated a Republican, Bill Green. I helped change the whole east side of Manhattan from Republican to Democrat. 

Why are you running for reelection?

I believe that public service is the best job that anyone can have. If it is done honestly and done well, it can improve people’s lives. It’s my record that I’m running on. Recently, I was just endorsed by The New York Times and The New York Daily News. And I was rated number one in congressional leadership by GovTrack. 

Also, I have recently been elected by my peers to be chair of the Oversight Committee. With this position, I will have even a more powerful, stronger voice. 

Your three opponents have emphasized that they don’t take any corporate PAC money. Why do you take money from corporations?

I am the only one of the people running that has actually done anything to take corporate money out of campaigns. I am a sponsor of HR1. That bill, among other things, calls for public funding of campaigns. I am devoted to making that happen. 

When I was on the City Council, I authored and passed the best and toughest campaign finance law in the nation. Since then, the City Council has made that law even tougher.

I am the only candidate that Wall Street and big banks financed a candidate against in 2010, and she ran on the program that I was too tough on big banks and Wall Street. This was after I passed a landmark bill that President Obama signed into law called the Credit Card Holder’s Bill of Rights. I won that race and I hope that my record in Congress continues to merit that support. 

The 12th Congressional District cuts across Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan. What do you think is the most pressing issue here in North Brooklyn? What do you think is most important in Greenpoint? Continue reading

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Lauren Ashcraft Runs Grassroots Congressional Campaign in Crowded Field to Oust Carolyn Maloney

NY-12 candidate Lauren Ashcraft (Courtesy of Lauren Ashcraft for Congress)

Lauren Ashcraft’s background is eclectic. She worked at JP Morgan Chase and is a Democratic Socialist. Ashcraft was also a standup comedian in New York and a policy analyst in Pennsylvania.

Now, she’s a dark horse candidate in what many see as a two-person race between the insurgent Suraj Patel and the incumbent, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, to be the representative of New York’s 12th Congressional District.

Running a self-described grassroots campaign that has amassed more small dollar donations than any other candidate for NY-12 as of April, Ashcraft spoke with Greenpointers about her plans to reform campaign finance, advocate for a single-payer healthcare system and her participation in the city’s recent protests.

This interview was edited and condensed for clarity. 

To voters who don’t know you, can you introduce yourself and explain why you’re running for Congress?

I’m running for Congress because in a democracy everyone deserves to have an equal voice. We’re living in the third most unequal district in the entire country. That means people are having to choose between having a home and having food on the table or having health insurance and paying their student debt. These aren’t choices we should have to make. 

I bring with me my struggles of my family in everything that I fight for. My grandmother was an immigrant from Japan who faced racism throughout her entire life here. And her husband, my grandfather, was killed by corporate greed in a coal mining accident. My other grandfather fell while he was working and became a quadriplegic. Of course he didn’t have the money to hire round-the-clock caretakers, so it was his family who helped. I grew up understanding that the government isn’t there for you. 

Hearing messages from people calling for people-powered representation, that’s why I’m running. We’re seeing the lack of this representation right now so vividly. Now we’re paying the price every single day. 

You’re billing yourself as a progressive and Democratic Socialist. Doesn’t the fact that you recently worked for JP Morgan Chase run counter to that narrative?

Absolutely not. I became a Democratic Socialist when I was working in the financial sector. I’ve seen corporate greed with my own eyes and how the federal government throws money at corporations. It doesn’t trickle down to the average worker but stays at the top and becomes record-setting bonuses and stock buybacks. 

I am calling to break up the big banks and for proper regulation. Because even after the Great Recession in 2008, we still don’t have the protective barriers that will prevent exactly that. My opponent helped repeal the Glass-Steagall Act in the late 1990s, and that has allowed for big banks to play with consumer funds in a way that leaves all open to the corruption that caused that recession. Continue reading

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