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If you live in New York, you may have had the opportunity to make your voice heard in a primary election today. I live in Congressman Gary Ackerman’s district; today I had the chance to vote for the person who I hope will succeed him in Congress, now that he’s retiring. He’s always been a good progressive voice for Queens. I’d like to see more people like him in Congress. I also like him personally– while I was still in high school, he was the owner and publisher of the Flushing Tribune, which is where I got my first art-related job, doing paste-up. He was a great guy then, and he’s a great guy now. I’m sad to see him go.

While I was signing in at my polling place (I was the 21st person in my Election District to vote today), I was approached by a photographer for another local newspaper, the Flushing Times, and then a second photographer, this one for the Queens Courier, who wanted to talk to me about why I was voting. They also asked if I would mind if they took my picture while I did so.

Well, I’m not shy at all. Here I am and here’s what I said.
I said they could take my picture (even though I was dressed for the pool, my hair up, and no makeup at all).

This is me, voting.

I said I thought voting in primaries was the average person’s best shot at casting a non-compromise vote that truly reflects their conscience. I don’t know about you, but by the time the general election rolls around, I’m usually in lesser-of-two-evils mode. In a primary, I vote for the person I truly want– even if I don’t think they can win– with that hope that my vote will be the one that pushes them into the general election. So few people vote in primaries that each vote is really important, especially in local races.

This time, I had a hard choice, because there were two candidates I really liked. Grace Meng got endorsements from the New York Times and Gary Ackerman. Rory Lancman got endorsements from the Working Families Party and Ed Koch. I’ve been getting robocalls from all four candidates for the last three weeks, and my doorbell has been ringing at dinnertime for the same period of time.

The word on Grace Meng is that she is someone who brings people together, a wonderful skill for a politician. She comes from Corona (my hometown) and was at St. Andrew’s casting her own vote when I arrived there this morning.
Rory Lancman has a reputation for being abrasive and saying just what he thinks. He is a fighter.

Conciliators are great people to have around when civil discussion is still possible. That is not what we are living in these days. In this political environment, I want a progressive representative who can speak loudly enough to be heard above the din of the troglodytes.

I voted for Rory Lancman, and I really hope he wins. I didn’t even know when I cast my vote this morning that he feels the same way I do about the earnings cap on Social Security taxes. He thinks that all earnings should be subject, not just earnings up to $110,600. As he said, “That means that Mitt Romney only kicks in to the social security fund on the first $110,600 of his millions in income. By removing the exemption, we can make sure Social Security is fully funded for generations to come without cutting benefits, raising the retirement age, or subjecting our hard earned retirement dollars to the ups and downs of the market.”

If you didn’t vote yet, you still have time. Polls are open until 9PM.
Vote, and let your voice count. In a primary, it really does.