09/04/2010 09:25 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

New York Times Endorses Espaillat for State Senate

The New York Times endorsed Adriano Espaillat today for the the 31st State Senate district in New York. This is great news for progressives and the NYT deserves credit for making the right choice.

As I wrote in a post a few weeks ago, this is one of the most important races in New York for progressives this election cycle.

In their endorsement, the NYT writes:

Mr. Espaillat, a 14-year Albany veteran, who has been an outspoken voice for the most crucial reform of all -- an independent redistricting commission to create fairer elections in the state. If Mr. Espaillat works hard to represent this diverse district, he could become an important leader in Albany as well as a proud model for Hispanics.

The NYT is exactly right, but I would go a step further. Too often we're told by the media that all of Albany is corrupt, but bringing about reform doesn't mean "throwing the bums out". Reform will come to Albany when we elevate into positions of power those individuals that stand for all of the things elected officials should stand for. Adriano is fearless and uncompromising when it comes to standing up for the people he represents. Having worked with Adriano over the years, I've seen up close the work he's done to build broad based coalitions in support of the critical issues facing working families in the state.

Adriano represents the next generation of great leaders in New York - people like Eric Schneiderman, Hakeem Jeffries, and Jose Peralta. All of these leaders have worked in Albany and in their districts to bring about progressive economic and social change. They are the very best that New York has to offer.

The final point the NYT makes is that Adriano could become a proud model for Hispanics; the truth is, he's already accomplished that. What the NYT should have said is that Adriano has become more than just a model for Hispanics, he's an inspiration to both Dominicans and all people that want to believe that our country is still a meritocracy. Adriano got to where he is today the old fashioned way - he worked hard for it. His political model throughout career has been to take on important issues, empower his community by showing that political activism can bring about positive change, and standing for something bigger than himself. By electing him to the State Senate, we can show that this is a winning model that other politicians should follow.

On September 14, voters in the 31st Senate District will have an opportunity to make history with their votes, and in the process elect not only a progressive leader for New York, but also a progressive leader for our county. This isn't just hyperbole. It should be obvious to anyone that follows politics, state legislators have the power to drive national debates. Let's not miss the chance to support this historic and important campaign.