I want to share the news about a man—Paul Newell—running for NY state assembly from the 64th district.
That’s right: this fierce organizer, Obama superdelegate, and longtime LES resident is telling voters that it’s time to send Sheldon Silver packing.

The 32 year incumbent assembly speaker has been under fire for closed-door politics and shady personal incomes for years. Aside from all of that, he’s also a roadblock in developing SPURA, that Seward Park Urban Renewal Area, which has been empty for over 40 years. But I suppose I can write on that later.

Newell at the JFREJ/Workmen's Circle Purim event

Chances are, if you’re a New Yorker, you’ve at least heard of Newell. Pleasantly awkward, laid back, and friendly, the 33 year old has made a name for himself. While his press conferences sound more like those of John McCain rather than like those of Obama (even on a bad day!), he’s made a splash and even has Sheldon Silver worried. After all, being a politician is not all about public speaking skills. Running on a platform of openness and progressive change, he’s transformed from a political nobody to the New York Times’ candidate of choice.

I first met Newell at the Purim show co-hosted by Jews for Racial and Economic Justice and the Workmen’s Circle/Arbeter Ring (If you’ve never been, by all means go next year!), and have run into him several times since. He’s a sweet guy who speaks Yiddish like my great-grandmother. Just today he got the New York Post’s endorsement, which, while not his “favorite editorial board,” also agrees that he can’t make the mess in Albany any worse.

So why Newell? Sure, there’s another guy running too, but if Newell “has no chance,” like so many are saying, then Luke Henry has a negative chance. And Newell is the Obama of the Lower East Side. He says that Albany is broken, and he’s the guy to fix it. He promises to be the guy who fights for the little man—his website cites rising rents, failing schools, and congested streets as particular areas of interest. So, why not give him a chance?

And someone should volunteer to make the guy a website—I mean, even Luke Henry has a better one, and that’s a darn shame.

If you’re a LES resident, give Newell your vote on September 9th. And if you’re not, tell your friends, or ask him how to volunteer. He has a snowball’s chance in hell, but he’s a nice, awkward, progressive, friendly chance worth voting for. To learn more about Newell, go to his website, www.newellnyc.org. Or just friend him on facebook—he’s that kind of guy.
Newell on Youtube