New Candidate Emerges For Upper West Side Council Seat

debcoop announce New Candidate Emerges For Upper West Side Council SeatDebra Cooper, a State committeewoman on the Upper West Side, will file to run for the City Council seat later this afternoon.

“I’m ready to take the next step in serving the Upper West Side,” said Ms. Cooper. “I am ready to be a strong voice on the City Council, listening to the concerns and fighting for the values, needs and priorities of the Upper West Side.”

The seat is currently held by Gale Brewer, who will be termed out next year. Currently, four other candidates have been running for the seat– Helen Rosenthal, Marc Landis, Mel Wymore and Ken Biberaj, although Ms. Cooper’s campaign noted that there is a history there of electing progressive women. Prior to Ms. Brewer, the seat was held by Ronnie Eldridge and Ruth Messinger.

“With term limits taking effect next year, West Siders and New Yorkers across the city will have the opportunity to re-shape city government, added Ms. Cooper. “I will be a Councilmember who will not just vote the right way, but will — as I have in every position I have held – drive a progressive agenda to make our community stronger and life better for Upper West Siders.”

The full release is below:

An effective women’s leader, progressive neighborhood activist, respected State Committeewoman and a tenacious fighter for health care, justice and equality, Debra Cooper today officially registered a committee to run for the New York City Council representing the Upper West Side. The District is now represented by Gale Brewer who is term limited.

“I’m ready to take the next step in serving the Upper West Side,” said Debra Cooper. “I am ready to be a strong voice on the City Council, listening to the concerns and fighting for the values, needs and priorities of the Upper West Side.”

“With term limits taking effect next year, West Siders and New Yorkers across the city will have the opportunity to re-shape city government. I will be a Councilmember who will not just vote the right way, but will — as I have in every position I have held – drive a progressive agenda to make our community stronger and life better for Upper West Siders.”

“Over the course of this campaign, I will be laying out my ideas — to make sure every child has the chance for a quality education, to protect tenants and provide for seniors, to increase opportunities and improve health care, to advance reform, justice and fairness and to bring people together to stand up to the special interests.”

ABOUT DEBRA COOPER

Democratic State Committeewoman Debra Cooper has been an effective women’s leader, progressive neighborhood activist, a tenacious fighter for health care and has worked together with West Side leaders fighting for economic and social justice and to make our community stronger and life better on the Upper West Side. Now she is ready to be our strong voice on the City Council, listening to our concerns and fighting for the values, needs and priorities of the Upper West Side.

“As the child of Holocaust survivors, I know the urgency and necessity of a fair and just society—one that is fair both socially and economically,” said Debra. “My parents worked hard—my father in a garment factory, my mother in the night shift at the Girl Scout cookie factory—to build a better life for their family. But without the help of others and the safety net they would not have made it. They saved to buy a small farm in Connecticut, where the town’s highest priority was education. I had a wonderful public education and I want that for everyone’s children.”

Debra came to the Upper West Side to raise a family and quickly became involved in the community and public affairs. She served on the Board of Trustees of the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue, was the Chair of the Membership and Israel Committees and is currently on the NY Board of the National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC).

Well known as long-term member of the Board of NARAL ProChoiceNY, Debra is nationally recognized as a leader in the fight for women’s rights, reproductive freedom and healthcare, including her work on the landmark New York City and State Clinic Access bills. More recently she worked tirelessly to try to preserve reproductive rights in The Affordable Healthcare Act. In addition, Debra is active in the Women’s Campaign Fund and Eleanor’s Legacy.

With the support of Jerry Nadler, Scott Stringer, Eric Schneiderman and Linda Rosenthal, Debra was elected to the Democratic State Committee (DSC) where she proudly represents the interests and concerns of the over 90,000 residents of the 67th Assembly District. Since her election in 2006, Debra has been acknowledged by her colleagues as a strong voice on the DSC Reform Caucus, writing the resolution on equitable tax reform and championing environmental issues including banning fracking and issues of social justice, women’s rights and marriage equality.

Debra serves on the Board of The Progressive Congress Action Fund, where she works to amplify the liberal agenda of House Members like our Congress member, Jerry Nadler. Debra is active with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and has worked for progressive candidates from Florida to Washington State. She previously served as the Director of the NYS Women’s Desk for the Clinton/Gore reelection campaign, was a Delegate to the Democratic National Convention and a Founding Member of the Democratic National Committee’s Women’s Leadership Forum.

As a past President and Executive Committee Member of the Ansonia Independent Democrats, Debra and her fellow club members have taken on many of the pressing issues in our neighborhood. When the owners of Citarella tried to keep their workers from becoming unionized, Debra joined other West Siders in organizing a boycott of Citarella until a labor agreement was reached. She and Ansonia also took on the cause of our local deliverymen to restore their back pay and to assure they would get fair wages. Additionally she fought against the West Side Stadium and participated in advancing the West Side’s innovative zoning proposal to protect “Mom & Pop” stores.

Debra is sensitive to preserving the unique nature of the Upper West Side. While development will occur, she believes that new buildings should blend into the neighborhood in a harmonious manner. When she was president of her Co-op Board she worked to insure that exterior repairs and improvements were consistent with the neighborhood’s traditional architecture. She feels strongly that the West Side should maintain its residential nature with affordable housing where middle class families can raise and educate their children. Her long-term interest in affordable housing issues has led her to become involved with national groups trying to address the cascading foreclosure crisis which has undermined local tax bases and eroded community cohesion. Her continuing involvement with national progressive issues has led to her being asked to be a front page writer on a number of well-known progressive political blogs.

With term limits taking effect next year, West Siders and New Yorkers across the city will have the opportunity to re-shape city government. By electing Debra Cooper, the Upper West Side will continue to have a strong voice who knows how to get things done. She has the experience we need and will work to make sure every child has the chance to get a quality education, to protect tenants and provide for seniors, and to bring people together to take on the special interests. She will be a strong voice for women, basic justice and the people of the Upper West Side. And she will be a Councilmember who will not just vote the right way, but will — as she has in every position she held – drive a progressive agenda for Upper West Siders.

“We need to see our City once again as a place where the middle class can prosper, where newcomers can rise up, where our schools educate all children and our infrastructure is solid and functioning. These are dangerous times for democracy. The unequal distribution of economic and political power has accelerated. We need to work hard to reverse the inequality. We need to return to that era which kept reaching for the common good and bring the dream of my parents alive again.”

Debra Cooper graduated from Brandeis University and has Masters in Education from Boston College. Her daughter Eve is an attorney who resides in Washington, D.C. Her older daughter Laura is a video produce and the mother of Debra’s grandson, Lucas.