Rivera Gets Nod From McCall, Sharpton And Other Top Politicos

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[New York Politics]

Surrounded by more than two dozen cheering Bronx supporters, former New York State Comptroller Carl McCall, Reverend Al Sharpton, two prominent leaders in the African American community, today endorsed Democrat Gustavo Rivera in his primary race to unseat disgraced incumbent State Senator Pedro Espada.

Introduced by New Roosevelt Initiative's Bill Samuels in the Bronx, Sharpton and McCall were also joined by community activist and former 33rd Senate District candidate Desiree Pilgrim-Hunter. McCall, Sharpton, and Pilgrim-Hunter hailed Rivera as the best candidate in the race and urged Bronx voters to head to the polls and vote for him next Tuesday, Sept. 14th in the primary against Espada.

"Gustavo worked with me as part of my campaign and helped change the rules so Barack Obama could get elected President," said Reverend Sharpton in his first public remarks since endorsing Rivera last Friday. "I know Gustavo.  I watched him grow up, I've seen him work, and I've seen him in the trenches.  I know he's a real reformer. I think we should send him to Albany because he will fight for you, because I have seen him fight all along."

"We need fresh leadership in Albany," said McCall, former New York State Comptroller. "Espada embodies much of what is wrong with politics in New York. But we can begin to change the attitude in Albany, starting with electing Gustavo Rivera. He is a bright dynamic leader, who can lead a new generation of reform minded lawmakers in the legislature."

"No vote is more important that the one you will cast on Tuesday, and it is  critical that every one turnout and vote," said Desiree Pilgrim-Hunter, a former candidate in the race who has now endorsed Rivera. "Espada turned his back on this community a long time ago. That's why we need Gustavo Rivera, who will listen to our concerns and get the job done in Albany."

"The Bronx is about to send a clear message to all voters in the state," said Bill Samuels, founder of the New Roosevelt Initiative. "We Democrats are ready to throw out the bad apples in our party, and elect reform Democrats like Gustavo Rivera who are committed to reforming Albany.  At 34 years old, Rivera has already established himself as a natural leader in the progressive movement and a true fighter for reform and transparency, so his first run for public office is bolstered by his
lifelong commitment to public service, He understands Albany, knows the reforms that need to be made, and he knows how to make them happen.  And he'll bring back true integrity and independence to this office."

Samuels and the New Roosevelt Initiative were the first to endorse Rivera in July and are currently running an independent field operation in the 33rd State Senate district to defeat Espada, which is their highest priority in the long term effort to bring true reform to Albany and create the best state legislature in the country.

"Speaking Truth To Empower."

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