Capitol Notes

Freshman Assemblyman wants more primaries for Democratic incumbents

After two months on the job, freshman Assemblyman Zohran Mamdani thinks the makeup of the people’s house needs to be changed to give progressive policies a better chance at passage in Albany.

Asked on Friday whether more primaries to Democratic incumbents are needed, the Queens Democrat responded simply, “Yes.”

Mamdani declined to identify which lawmakers, or how many, he thinks should be ousted next year. “I do believe it’s important for our body to more accurately reflect, not only the makeup of our state, but the priorities of our fellow New Yorkers,” he said.

“I think that everybody should consistently think about whether their politics (and) whether their priorities are reflecting the lives and realities of their constituents, and that includes me as well,” Mamdani added.

Mamdani is part of a growing number of socialist state lawmakers in Albany, including a six-member “Socialists in Office” caucus. The group also has allies in new members, like Queens Democrat Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas, and more established members, like Brooklyn Democrat Charles Barron.

“We obviously do not have the numbers for winning socialism in this moment, but we make sure our voices are heard within (the Assembly Democratic) conference,” he said. “We speak up very regularly and I do believe we are creating a left flank (in conference).”

Asked about the performance of Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Mamdani said, “I think that he is doing a good job, but I also think that it is quite early to provide a full assessment of anyone’s performance because the real reflection of our priorities comes in the budget.”



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