Dear Future Senator AOC
Your Progressive policies are what New York needs now
Dear Representative Ocasio-Cortez:
I fully believe that you will be a New York Senator in the near future. I cannot wait to march as many souls to the polls to vote for you and your progressive agenda. You are going to be an amazing representative of all New Yorkers.
In the meantime, I am appealing to you on behalf of New Yorkers from a different New York. The Southern Tier looks more like Pennsylvania than it does to Westchester or Staten Island, and its needs are different, too. Millions of New Yorkers live in these rural outskirts, and they feel largely ignored by mainstream liberals like Andrew Cuomo and Chuck Schumer.
Your Progressive policies would hit home for these forgotten rural New Yorkers. They need to know that raising the minimum wage would honor their hard work in the retail and manufacturing sectors. Many rural New Yorkers are college educated, such as the aerospace industry workers here in Endicott, and are begging for help with their crushing student loans.
Education is a critical foundation here, providing both aftercare support and meals to children so their parents can work. The colleges here, SUNY Binghamton and Broome, employ thousands of locals. Our large healthcare systems - Ascension-Lourdes and United Health Services - employ thousands as well and take care of an aging population. Infusing funding hits all Southern Tier folks either directly or close to home. Progressive reforms, including free community college tuition, would be a reminder that the government is by and for the people.
Rural New Yorkers rallied for a lot of progressive policies that are outside the national spectrum as well. Anthony Brindisi, our local democrat running in a district that voted 65% for Trump, was championed for fighting big cable companies. This area despises the decrepit internet networks and bills that rise much faster than their paychecks. He pushed for caps on drug pricing as well. Local political junkies compared him to you and found that his “safe” “middle-of-the-road” and “quiet” policies weren’t enough to keep him on the public’s good side. Right now, New Yorkers want actual Progressive representation that isn’t ashamed of all the good it will bring them.
There will be key differences between rural New Yorkers like those of NY-22 and urban New Yorkers like those of NY-14, and I think they are going to come down to guns, civil rights, income inequality, and corruption in politics.
Every year in November, the classrooms would be abuzz with the local kids bragging about the deer they bagged over the weekend. The break room fridge would fill with venison steaks, burgers, and my favorite, venison jerky. Have you ever had venison jerky? You will never crave beef again. If you want to win votes in the Southern Tier, try someone’s jerky and tell them that it’s the vest slice you had. That person will be your friend for life.
Gun control laws are vital throughout New York, but they hit New Yorkers in different ways. The most popular hunting gun is an AR-15. They’re inexpensive and come with tons of accessories, and they’re the easiest to handle. It makes sense to have an AR-15 in the Southern Tier because that one purchase can give you decades of inexpensive meat. AR-15’s don’t make sense in the city, and yet New York has regulated guns with a city mentality.
New Yorkers want a Senator that can represent all of New York. How can you keep the city-slickers safe and the mountain folks fed? As a Senator to Congress, you would have to keep one foot in the Catskills and another in Manhattan as you act to bridge both worlds.
New York has been the setting of some of the worst police violence in the country, but you already knew this and worked to advocate for the average New Yorker. A New York Senator would be pressured by the most powerful unions to let our toxic status quo go on. I think you have the moral integrity to stand up to them.
Right now, the letters A-O-C evoke the image of a representative who had to cut the political party short to go protest with workers for living wages.
Please keep the majority of us in your heart and fight for our rights. New Yorkers have the right to breathe.
Perhaps the toughest challenge facing another City politician will be the image we have of City folks.
In the early 2000’s, income inequality was hitting record highs every year. When the recession hit, both rural areas and the City were hit hard with huge unemployment, lost wages, and lower standards of living. Cities have been recovering since 2010; rural areas are actually doing worse in some areas. Upstate New Yorkers live in this reality every day, and they resent the City for it.
For the millions of New Yorkers in the Southern Tier, Schumer and Cuomo are comfortable politicians who represent their City sponsors. The general air is that Upstate New Yorkers keep the Downstate New Yorkers afloat. Even though experts will gently remind Upstate folks every once in a while that NYC is the lifeblood of the State, it doesn’t feel like it.
Meanwhile, the 2018 Economic Policy Institute has ranked New York as having the highest income inequality of any state. 31% of the State's income stays with its 1%.
Conflict expert Robert Evans has written and spoken about the dangerous divide between the cities and the outsiders. This disparity will get worse and lead to increasing violence. Few States have such a demonstrative mosaic as New York, where one can be tightrope-walking in Destiny USA and drive into the farmlands in 12 minutes. However, those two worlds are metaphysically worlds apart.
New Yorkers want a Senator that will bridge the urban and rural. Evans has said that Progressive policies are the only alternative to violent conflict in bridging the gap. Reducing income inequality and ensuring that rural Americans will be looked after in times of conflict will lower tensions. If rural Americans didn’t have to drive two hours to the nearest hospital or send their kids to school an hour away, they would have a more positive view of their government. Boost local health and education resources.
Hold rallies outside of New York and Syracuse.
Hopefully you can be a case study in how to do this. Show the rest of the United States that Progressivism works and solves problems. I know New Yorkers are going to be wary of another City politician, but in your defense, you couldn’t be anything farther from the last guy.
I’ll see you at the rally.