Inspired By Her Immigrant Mom, This Afro-Dominican Student Is Vying To Flip A Red Seat Blue In New York

In the New York borough of Queens, there is only one district with a Republican elected official: City Council District 32. When the term-limited council member Eric Ulrich vacates his seat in 2021, Shaeleigh Severino, a 21-year-old Afro-Dominican student, hopes to flip it blue. 

Although the candidate is progressive in a region with a right-leaning record, she believes her platform is attractive to the people of her district, which includes Howard Beach, Ozone Park, Broad Channel and the Western portion of the Rockaway Peninsula, regardless of where they sit on the political spectrum.

“As a Democrat, I’m saying it’s time for change. It’s time to try something new. I believe in collective action and people power that advocates for bringing all people together, and I don’t want that to get lost in political divisiveness,” Severino, a St. John’s University senior who is completing a double major in Government and Politics as well as Legal Studies and has already started a master’s program, tells FIERCE by mitú.

The Woodhaven native intends on uniting her divided district by focusing on issues that are relevant to people across the political aisle and, more importantly, impact their daily lives: education, public safety, transportation, sustainability and criminal justice.

Last week, the neighborhood of West Hamilton Beach, which is located in District 32, was under water. It’s an increasingly common occurrence in the Queens area, where rising sea levels have led to chronic flooding

“The quality of life is being destroyed by this issue, yet it’s not being resolved at any level. There is no unity or partnerships across multiple levels of government. There’s a disconnect,” she says.

To combat the threat of climate change, Severino hopes to spark collaboration among neighboring districts. Together, she believes, they can begin tackling various environmental challenges while also working with community organizers and local organizations to build a community resilience plan that removes single-use plastic, amends the city’s Green New Deal and addresses food insecurity.

Another critical issue for her district is transportation, especially in the Rockaways, a Queens peninsula isolated from Manhattan that has been referred to as a “transportation desert.” While much of the people who compose the area are civil servants, including nurses, health aides and home attendants who have been essential workers in the city’s battle against the Covid-19 pandemic, a lack of dependable, late-night transportation connecting Rockaway residents to the rest of the city has hindered many from performing their work.

Shaeleigh Severino

If elected to the city council, Severino says she will support ferry expansions, fight for federal funding to save the transit system from losing millions of dollars and support calls for city control over the New York City Transit Authority.

One of the most critical, and challenging, issues Severino would face if elected, however, would be uniting her district on her criminal justice plan. District 32 is home to the highest number of New York City Police Department and New York City Fire Department employees and retirees in New York City. Meanwhile, Severino has openly discussed issues she has with law enforcement and mass incarceration, like: rooting out police violence in communities of color, advocating for police accountability, ending incarceration for nonviolent crimes and opposing the city’s plan to close Rikers Island jails and build new detention centers.

Despite her criticism, Severino doesn’t propose abolishing the police but rather instituting reforms, like the implementation of mental health counselors for officers and dismantling bad practices, that she believes could rebuild community ties.

“My district is very misunderstood. It’s not common, especially in a city like New York. We operate and exist on a different level because of our makeup. But I’ve lived in this district my entire life. I know the barriers that exist, and I know they can be dismantled,” Severino says.

While 21 years old, she believes she has the insight and experience to bring her divided district forward and get tasks done. She references her time as a student organizer, both at St. John’s University and as student body president of her high school, where she worked with elected officials to help improve testing scores and increase student attendance and involvement to save the institution from closing down, as examples of her capabilities.  

An advocate, who has been deeply inspired by her mom, an immigrant from Dominican Republic who was also a political organizer, Severino says it would be an honor to lead and serve the community that raised her.

“‘An advocate, not a politician’ is not just a slogan to me. I actually believe in that. … I’m going in this with the intention of helping my community get their fair share, to represent them in a correct manner and ensure their needs are addressed on all levels,”  Severino says.

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Team Trump’s Latest Appearance At The Oversight Committee Hearing Was A Complete Trainwreck Oh And Giuliani Farted


Team Trump’s Latest Appearance At The Oversight Committee Hearing Was A Complete Trainwreck Oh And Giuliani Farted

Alex Wong / Getty

Something stinks in the White House and it’s not just Donald Trump and his inability to cope with being a loser.

Rudy Giuliani’s campaign effort to undermine the results of the 2020 presidential election continues to waft through hearing rooms like a rotten gaseous scent… which, according to video recordings, not unlike the one Guiliani is suspected of releasing during Wednesday night’s conspiracy-filled hearing in Lansing, Michigan.

Giuliana stirred up a rash of cackles this week when the audible sounds of his stomach were heard during the hearings.

Four hours into the lengthy event, two fart sounds could be heard while Giuliani delivered his speeches. During the Michigan hearing, Michigan state Rep. Darrin Camilleri asked Guiliani a question about the recent New York Times story which reported that Giuliani talked with President Donald Trump about seeking pardons for himself last week.

“The discussions between Mr. Trump and Mr. Giuliani occurred as the former New York mayor has become one of the loudest voices pushing baseless claims of widespread fraud in the 2020 election, which Mr. Trump still proclaims publicly that he won,” NYT reported. “Many of Mr. Trump’s longtime aides have refused to do his bidding to try to overturn an election that President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. won by nearly seven million votes. But Mr. Giuliani has repeatedly thrust himself into the spotlight to cast doubt on the results, which has ingratiated him with the president.”

Guiliani objected to Rep. Camilleri’s questions and accused him of defamation.

“I will ask that he be disciplined for that,” Giuliani requested into the microphone which picked up the first pedo sound.

Not 90 seconds later, Camilleri asked Giuliani to address Attorney General Bill Barr’s statement that federal prosecutors had yet to come across evidence of election fraud.

“The answer that I gave you was that they didn’t bother to interview a single witness,” Giuliani replied as another louder even larger sounding pedo came in through the mic.

It didn’t take long for Giuliani’s loud fart to go viral on Twitter.

HuffPost reporter Ryan Reilly shared the clip on Twitter on Wednesday night. It has since been viewed more than 1.6 million times.

Users were quick to note that Jenna Ellis, another attorney taking part in Giuliani’s campaign of lies about a Trump 2020 victory. (Which did not happen) could be seen reacting to the noise by glancing at him over her shoulder.

Like the hot air Giuliani blew into the hearing, there were quite a few bizarre moments that came about.

Giuliani brought in a parade of alleged election fraud witnesses who all managed to make outrageously conspiratorial and racist statements during the hearing. Plus, according to Buzzfeed, “Giuliani was not sworn in at the hearing, so he was under no legal obligation to tell the truth.”

One “witness,” Melissa Carone drew audible laughter during the hearing for her clown-like performance.

According to The Guardian, Carone is a contract worker for Dominion Voting Systems and “appeared before a Michigan house panel on Wednesday and insisted, without providing evidence, that tens of thousands of votes had been counted twice.” Her aggressive approach to her claims quickly drew viral attention on Twitter from users who were quick to compare her to a Saturday Night Live character.

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Here Are The Southern California Latino Politicians Gov. Newsom Should Consider For Kamala Harris’ Empty Seat

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Here Are The Southern California Latino Politicians Gov. Newsom Should Consider For Kamala Harris’ Empty Seat

Carlos Avila Gonzalez / The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

Now that Sen. Kamala Harris will Vice President-elect Harris, there is a lot of talk about who Gov. Gavin Newsom should appoint to the seat. There is a lot of pressure on Gov. Newsom to appoint a person of color and we agree. Here are six Latino politicians from Southern California that should be appointed to the vacant Senate seat.

Hilda Solis

Solis’s political career started in 1992 when she ran for and won a seat in the California State Assembly. In that position, Solis made her presence known and was a crucial voice in the debate on undocumented immigrants backing legislation to make college accessible to undocumented immigrants living in California. Since then, Solis has served in the California State Senate, represented California in the House of Representatives, served as Secretary of Labor under President Obama, and is currently on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.

Solis has history, experience, and knowledge of politics from local to national levels. In that time, Solis has backed and written legislation and policies on every issue ranging from domestic violence to the environment.

Robert Garcia

Garica is the current mayor of Long Beach and has established himself on the international stage. As mayor of Long Beach, Garcia has worked tirelessly to address climate change and establish strong trade partnerships with countries around the world.

As an openly gay politician, Garcia has used his time in office to work to expand LGBTQ+ rights around the world. The mayor has visited Peru and Honduras Victory Institute and the State Department to take the fight to Latin America.

Nanette Barrágan

Barrágan is currently a congresswoman reprensenting California’s 44th congressional district. The congresswoman would bring a legal background often needed by members of the Senate. Barrágan started to get involved with politics working on African-American outreach for the Clinton administration. Barrágan also spent time working with the NAACP working on health policy and racial health disparities.

Barrágan was one of the members of Congress to go to the U.S.-Mexico border during the Trump administration. Barrágan recorded and exposed the conditions of people legally seeking asylum under Trump’s assault on migrants.

Kevin de León

De León started his political career in 2006 when he was elected to the California State Assembly. After a brief tenure, de León was elected to the California State Senate where he worked on a wide range of issues. De León worked with his colleagues on issues like affirmative consent, the environment, gun control, and transportation.

De León ran for the Senate in 2018 against Sen Dianne Feinstein and lost. Now, de León serves on the Los Angeles City Council filling José Huizar’s former seat. Huizar stepped down due to an investigation into corruption and birbery.

Norma Torres

Torres has had a steady career in politics starting on the Pomona City Council before becoming Mayor of Pomona. From there, Torres served in both the California State Assembly and State Senate before becoming a member of Congress representing California’s 35th congressional district.

As a member of Congress, Torres has worked on the following committees:

  • United States House Committee on Appropriations
    • Subcommittee on Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies
    • Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs
    • Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government
  • United States House Committee on Rules

Alex Padilla

Padilla has been a public servant for California for decades serving as president of the Los Angeles City Council before being part of the California State Senate. In 2015, Padilla became the Secretary of State of California. In 2017, Padilla pushed back against the Trump administration and refused to turn over voter data to the administration. He then went on to win reelection with 64.5 percent of the vote in 2018.

Padilla is currently the favorite to be Gov. Newsom’s choice to fill Vice President-elect Harris’ vacant seat in the Senate.

READ: Kamala Harris’s Husband Is Quitting His Job to Become America’s First ‘Second Gentleman’

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