How climate activist Sarahana Shrestha pulled off an election upset
A robust ground game was critical to victory in the 103rd Assembly District primary last week. What does it portend for state climate action?
Sarahana Shrestha defeats incumbent Kevin Cahill in 103rd Assembly District primary
Climate organizer who ran on a socialist platform scores big upset against longtime incumbent
N.Y. Assembly Democrats Largely Repel Challenges From the Left
Long-tenured incumbents appeared likely to retain their seats, though an activist was ahead in a Hudson Valley race.
The Next Battlefield for N.Y. Progressives? The State Assembly.
“Whatever we did to make Albany scared of the climate movement this time around, we want to do the same for health care, we want to do the same for housing,” [Sarahana] said.
Climate Activists Put Left Politics to the Test in Hudson Valley
“Those in power are usually neglecting everyday people who need things to survive.”
The Rise of the No-Compromise Climate Candidate
While organizing with Public Power New York, Shrestha met with a number of legislators who, she said, “appeared to have a tough time” seeing the democratization of the state’s energy system as an urgent priority.
For New York, Public Power is the Past and the Future
“People are very eager to talk to us when we come to the door,” Shrestha says.
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Race for New York state Assembly’s 103rd district taking shape￼
“The world has changed, the need has changed, the scope of the crises has changed. So we really need to act boldly and act urgently.”
Assembly Candidate Sarahana Shrestha Is Tired of Waiting
The climate and justice activist believes the time is now for transformative action in Albany.
For Climate Resiliency, We Need Public Power
“As a climate organizer, I believe that just as the public should own the water system, it should also own the energy system. I believe in Public Power.”
Climate crisis spurs DSA endorsements in 2022 legislative contests
“Public institutions are really powerful in taking risks that private companies cannot digest and they have the ability to invest back in communities.”
“At the end of the day, climate is a working-class issue. The people who are going to suffer most if we don’t prepare ourselves are working-class people. Our workers in the fossil fuel industry, those folks are endangered by lack of an actual plan.”
The Future Must Beautiful
“Not just in New York, but even here in the Hudson Valley, we have the momentum to begin dismantling the stagnant, lethargic, and therefore dangerous form of politics that for too long has been presented as our only option. Younger people are running for office and organizing here, too, not just in big cities.”
To Tackle Climate Change, Give Power to the People
“Half-measures like this are at the forefront of climate policies because our leaders are unwilling to do what’s necessary: fundamentally transform our energy system into a renewable energy economy. As long as our leaders ignore the scope of what is needed, it is no surprise that the decarbonization effort we need has barely begun.”
Democrats Control New York but Can’t Even Pass Climate Legislation
“At the end of the day, we are doing a lot of free labor that could be very useful for them if they were interested in pushing climate legislation,” she said of lawmakers. “They’re not playing what should be their role. We can only do so much from the outside.”