citation needed]December 31, 1990 [|
Miami, Florida, U.S.
|Political party||Democratic (2017–present)|
|Alma mater||Columbia University (attended)|
Julia Salazar (born December 31, 1990) is an American politician and activist. As a first-time candidate, she defeated incumbent New York State Senator Martin Malave Dilan to become the Democratic nominee for the 18th district in 2018. She attracted national media attention for her views and statements and for being a member of the Democratic Socialists of America.
Early life and education
Salazar was born in Miami in December 1990. Her mother is an American citizen by birth, while her father was a naturalized citizen from Colombia; they divorced when she was young. Salazar was raised in a conservative home and at 18, registered as a Republican. In March 2010 she registered with the Independence Party of New York, mistakenly believing (according to a campaign spokesperson) that it meant she was an unaffiliated voter.
Salazar attended Columbia University, but told the New York Times she did not earn a degree. While at Columbia, Salazar was pro-life and a member of pro-Israel Christian student groups, but later became involved in campus Jewish life and tenant organizing.
In 2011, a police report was filed by Kai Hernandez, former wife of New York Mets player Keith Hernandez, accusing Salazar of attempting to gain access to Hernandez's accounts at UBS by impersonating her over the phone; Salazar was arrested, but the charges were dismissed when the state prosecutor said the voice identification was insufficient to pursue the case. Kai Hernandez said that Salazar had house-sat for the couple in the past. A court dispute between Hernandez and Salazar followed, in which Salazar sought damages for defamation and won settlement in her favor.
2018 New York State Senate campaign
In April 2018, Salazar announced her candidacy for the 18th district of the New York State Senate. She ran against incumbent Senator Martin Malave Dilan in the Democratic primary, which took place on September 13, 2018.
Her campaign gained significant attention after the primary victory of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York's 14th congressional district. She has been endorsed by Our Revolution, the Democratic Socialists of America, Cynthia Nixon, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Citizens Union initially endorsed Salazar but later revoked their endorsement, citing discrepancies in information she provided about her academic credentials.
Dispute over personal history
Salazar described herself as an "immigrant from Colombia" in interviews published in August, including one with the The Intercept, and in campaign speeches and literature. In interviews as early as May 5th, she explained that she was born in Miami at a time when her parents were living part of the time in Colombia, and made clear that she was an American citizen.
Salazar has described herself as Jewish, and said her father was a Colombian Sephardic Jew descended from the medieval community that was expelled from Spain, and that she started to explore Judaism in college. Rosen said these claims could not be verified, and her brother said their father "never mentioned" any Sephardic heritage to him; Salazar's mother said that, although the family was Catholic on both sides, Julia's father's family had a Sephardic background, saying "that's where her interest stems from. This is not something that was invented for the purposes of this campaign." Salazar said Rosen was engaging in "race science" and said he had "threatened to publish her mother’s personal information if she didn't cooperate." In college, she studied Jewish texts and observed kosher food rules, and was involved with the Jewish organization Hillel.
Salazar has also described her family and upbringing as "poor" and "working class". Her brother said their family was "upper-middle class" while Salazar's mother said the family was "a little bit of both worlds"; Salazar had a trust fund of approximately $685,000 in her name, left by her father.
Sexual assault accusation against David Keyes
In September 2018, Salazar accused David Keyes, a spokesperson for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, of sexual assault, stating she was acting to preempt being outed as an assault survivor by a story in The Daily Caller that she learned was in the works. Keyes denied assaulting her in a statement to Haaretz. Eleven additional women subsequently came out with similar allegations of harassment or assault by Keyes.
Salazar is a self-described democratic socialist, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, and a staff organizer for Jews for Racial and Economic Justice. She supports universal rent control in New York City, decriminalization of sex work, Medicare for All, the abolition of ICE, and guaranteed access to abortion services. She also states that she supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement which advocates boycotting Israel.
Identifying as a democratic socialist, she characterizes democratic socialists as those recognizing capitalism to be an inherently oppressive system which democratic socialists actively works to dismantle while moving toward a socialist economic system. Contrasting progressives from democratic socialists, she identifies progressives as those offering pallatives within capitalism without advocating for system transformation but highlights their overlap in short term policy goals. She states her campaign is not about socialist transformation and the abolition of private property - which she currently sees as unrealistic goals - but is focused on pushing for changes that have a positive material impact in people's lives.
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- McKinley, Jesse (August 5, 2018). "Want to Be the Next Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez? Be Careful What You Wish". The New York Times. Retrieved August 5, 2018.
- John-Paul Pagano (August 23, 2018), Julia Salazar, "Socialist" "Jewish" Candidate for NYS Senate, Defends Israel on Glenn Beck's TV Show, retrieved August 27, 2018
- "SD 18 Brooklyn (Williamsburg-Bushwick-Cypress Hills) | Metropolitan Council on Housing". metcouncilonhousing.org. Retrieved 2018-09-15.
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- "Statement from Julia on Tablet Magazine". August 24, 2018. Retrieved August 28, 2018.
- Day, Meagan (July 6, 2018). ""It Really Comes Down to Empowering the Working Class"". Jacobin. Retrieved August 27, 2018.
- Fractenberg, Ben (July 16, 2018). "Julia Salazar Says Jewish Roots Helped Inspire Her Political Activism". The Forward. Retrieved August 2, 2018.
- Ruta, Garance Franke. "Julia Salazar Had a Trust Fund and Her Colombian Ancestors Were Catholic Elites". New York Magazine's Daily Intelligencer. Retrieved September 12, 2018.
- "Opinion - We Are Julia Salazar's Former Classmates. We Had To Speak Out". Retrieved September 6, 2018.
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- "This Week in Julia Salazar She had a trust fund, her ancestors were Catholic elites, and she has a new version of her conversion story".
- "What the Julia Salazar Controversy Means for the Democratic Socialists of America | WNYC | New York Public Radio, Podcasts, Live Streaming Radio, News". WNYC. Retrieved September 12, 2018.
- "Julia Salazar Campaign Says Daily Caller Plans To Out Her As Sexual Assault Survivor". Retrieved September 11, 2018.
- "Julia Salazar for State Senate on Twitter". Retrieved September 11, 2018.
- "Julia Salazar accuses Netanyahu spokesman of sexual assault". September 11, 2018. Retrieved September 11, 2018.
- Schapiro, Rich. "Brooklyn state Senate hopeful Julia Salazar says she was sexually assaulted by spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu - NY Daily News". Retrieved September 11, 2018.
- Sommer, Allison Kaplan (September 11, 2018). "Netanyahu Spokesman Denies Sexual Assault Claim by N.Y. State Senate Candidate Julia Salazar". Haaretz. Retrieved September 12, 2018.
- Sommer, Allison Kaplan (September 12, 2018). "Ten More Women Accuse Netanyahu Spokesman Keyes of Improper Behavior". Haaretz. Retrieved September 12, 2018.
- Wallace-Wells, Benjamin (August 2, 2018). "How the Democratic Socialists of America Learned to Love Cynthia Nixon". The New Yorker. Retrieved August 28, 2018.
- Chávez, Aída (August 17, 2018). "Sex Workers Are Rallying Behind a Democratic Socialist Running for New York Senate". The Intercept. Retrieved September 11, 2018.
- Halper, Katie. "Meet the Democratic Socialist Feminist Running for New York Senate". Teen Vogue. Retrieved 2018-09-15.