Erick Salgado Enters the Race for Mayor of New York City
It’s a crowded race in the Democratic primary for Mayor of the City of New York, but one candidate seems to stand out far from the rest.
I recently met with Erick Salgado who is running for mayor as a socially conservative Democrat. He identified himself as “a man of faith, a reverend and pastor in an Evangelical church, pro-Israel 100%.” He says his goal is to form the biggest coalition ever, uniting the communities of faith in New York City. It appears that he may be well on his way to achieving his goals.
But to understand Mr. Salgado’s bid for mayor, a little history might be important. During Passover of 2009, Governor David Patterson called a press conference and announced, amid raucous laughter, that he was submitting a bill to the state Senate to legalize gay marriage in New York. Standing at his side was openly-gay state senator Thomas Duane, who, over the next few weeks and months would tell reporters that he had already secured the necessary votes to assure the bill’s passage, from Senators who would not state their position in public. The bill had already passed the state Assembly, and with the Democrats recapturing the majority in the Senate, it appeared that the final passage might be a done deal.
But immediately following Governor Paterson’s press conference, an alarm was sounded by Democratic Senator Ruben Diaz. He declared that it was “a slap in the face” that Governor Paterson had made his announcement the same day the Jewish people were celebrating Passover, and the day after Catholics were welcoming their new Cardinal Timothy Dolan to New York. As an ordained minister of an Evangelical Protestant congregation in the Bronx, Senator Diaz vowed to lead a protest rally against the gay marriage bill.
Meanwhile, across the county, the news media buzzed with the same drumbeat, that gay marriage was inevitable, and social conservatives were fighting a losing battle. But on a Sunday morning in May 2009, a massive rally, with the number of attendees estimated as high as 50,000, flooded the streets outside the Midtown Manhattan offices of Governor Paterson. Senator Diaz stood before the crowds and vowed that there would be political consequences for supporting same-sex marriage.
In December of that year, the gay marriage bill was introduced in the Senate, and the entire world was shocked to see it fall miserably in New York by the lopsided margin of 38-24.
Erick Salgado is the man credited for organizing the operation to turnout the protest in front of Governor Paterson’s office. As a pastor, he presides over two Brooklyn churches with over 1,100 active members. In addition to his spiritual leadership, for the past 10 years Mr. Salgado has helped to build the largest Spanish Evangelical media network, with five radio stations in the New York city area. Before declaring his bid for mayor, Mr. Salgado served as President of the Radio Cantico Nuevo company, and continues to be part of the organization.
A theme of Mr. Salgado’s campaign is his goal to represent all New Yorkers. “I think it’s important that somebody that belongs to that mix of multicultural communities become the next mayor,” he said. A proud Latino, Mr. Salgado says he knows what its like to be “on the other side of the coin.”
Being a part of a people that has been marginalized for their nationality, appearance or accent he says will help him bring an important perspective to the decisions of city government. He points out that people from minority backgrounds in fact make up the majority of residents of New York City. Latinos, he said, constitute 29% of the city’s population.
One social policy example is striking. At the same time that Governor Cuomo has announced his intention to push to expand the availability of abortion on demand, virtually up until the moment of birth, Mr. Salgado pointed out the shocking impact that these laws have on minorities. In the Hispanic communities, 41% of all pregnancies in the city in 2010 were terminated by abortion. In the African American communities, nearly 60% of all pregnancies in 2010 were terminated by abortion. This is documented by the City’s own report on Vital Statistics, available at http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/downloads/pdf/vs/2010sum.pdf, pages 72 and 95.
In addition to the social issues that distinguish his campaign, Mr. Salgado plans to help ease the burden of parents who send their children to religious schools, to decrease crime, and to stimulate job growth.
The coalition he is building includes support from the Russian community in Brooklyn, as well as involvement or support from Orthodox Jews who helped launch Mr. Salgado’s campaign. It goes without saying that Mr. Salgado enjoys wide support in the Latino communities, including the friendship of Senator Diaz.
A man of large physical stature, Mr. Salgado combines a measured passion with sharp and intelligent insight. “I am not a career politician,” he explained. “I am a man who has made things happen. I am the man who is going to help the different communities. I am the man that is going to understand the rabbis, the priests, the pastors, because I have been on both sides of the aisle. I understand what needs to be done, and I’m going to do it.”
Community Guardians Group is a grass-roots voters organization representing the Jewish communities of the New York city area. For more information, please visit www.zehjournal.com , or contact us at email@example.com.