Get Even More Visitors To Your Blog, Upgrade To A Business Listing >>

Exclusive: N.Y. Working Families Party appoints co-directors

POLITICO's must-read briefing informing the daily conversation among knowledgeable New Yorkers
Oct 16, 2023 View in browser

By Emily Ngo, Jeff Coltin and Nick Reisman

With help from Jason Beeferman

Jasmine Gripper (left) and Ana María Archila (right) will serve as the new co-directors of the New York Working Families Party. | Rynn Reed

ONLY IN PLAYBOOK: The New York Working Families Party is under new leadership.

Ana María Archila and Jasmine Gripper — co-founder of Make the Road New York and executive director of Alliance for Quality Education, respectively — will helm the progressive state party as its first-ever co-directors, Playbook reports exclusively.

They fill a vacancy created in May after Sochie Nnaemeka stepped down.

“We both know the importance of community organizing; we both know the importance of grassroots leadership development,” Gripper told Playbook. “But we also know the importance of political strategy and movement moments.”

The new co-directors’ moment comes as the small but influential party has leaned into its identity as a left-wing mobilization force.

The WFP is vowing a “robust ground game” to help New York Democrats take back congressional swing seats next year after it lent its cavalry to Gov. Kathy Hochul’s election win last year (preserving its ballot line in the process).

“You look at the federal government, and there’s nothing but chaos,” said Gripper, who is based in Albany. “And New York has a responsibility — we can play a major role in taking back the House.”

Archila, based in Brooklyn, was co-executive director of the Center for Popular Democracy as well as the WFP’s lieutenant governor candidate last year.

“We are absolutely not here just to support the Democratic Party and to get them out of a crunch when they get there,” Archila told Playbook. “Our goal is to get progressive leaders who truly identify as Working Family Party candidates and whose values are aligned in key places.”

As it marks the 25th anniversary of its founding, the WFP is rebounding from its years being targeted for extinction by then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

It has increased its number of active chapters to 17 from seven in 2019 and boosted candidates to the City Council, the state Legislature and Congress, with its members crediting Nnaemeka for the gains.

The party’s values include combating climate change, expanding affordable housing and childcare and supporting newly arrived migrants, Archila and Gripper said.

Establishing a legislative and electoral agenda for sweeping change on those fronts will be a community conversation, they said, in the tradition of progressivism.

“One of the things that’s beautiful about the party is that we have a very robust internal democracy to make every decision,” Archila said. — Emily Ngo

IT’S MONDAY. Got news? Send it our way: Jeff Coltin, Emily Ngo and Nick Reisman.

WHERE’S KATHY? Speaking at the 2023 New York State Innovation Summit in Saratoga Springs and delivering remarks at the University at Albany’s Inaugural SUNY AI Symposium.

WHERE’S ERIC? Appearing live on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” making a technology-related announcement, breaking ground on Brooklyn’s Shirley Chisholm Recreational Center, speaking at a flag-raising ceremony for Guinea and attending an awards event hosted by Al Sharpton and the National Action Network.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “He’s an animal! I am holding a child!” — Rep. George Santos in a now-viral profanity-laced tirade directed at a pro-Palestinian activist in the halls of the U.S. Capitol on Friday.


GO INSIDE THE CAPITOL DOME: From the outset, POLITICO has been your eyes and ears on Capitol Hill, providing the most thorough Congress coverage — from political characters and emerging leaders to leadership squabbles and policy nuggets during committee markups and hearings. We're stepping up our game to ensure you’re fully informed on every key detail inside the Capitol Dome, all day, every day. Start your day with Playbook AM, refuel at midday with our Playbook PM halftime report and enrich your evening discussions with Huddle. Plus, stay updated with real-time buzz all day through our brand new Inside Congress Live feature. Learn more and subscribe here.


A Times Square rally in support of Palestinian causes occurred with little incident on Friday. | Jason Beeferman/POLITICO

NO SERIOUS INCIDENTS: After a former Hamas chief called for a global day of “rage” on Friday, and Mayor Eric Adams and Hochul took special precautions to increase security in the city and state, a Times Square rally in support of Palestinian causes occurred with little incident.

Around New York, the U.S. and the globe, Jewish institutions took extra steps to ensure the safety of Jews. Some of the state’s Jewish schools reportedly canceled classes, while others wondered if attending synagogue came with increased risk on Friday.

Despite fears of violence, an NYPD spokesperson Carlos Nieves told Playbook that “no serious incidents” occurred in the city, besides some minor squabbles with protesters and later arrests of demonstrators who blocked traffic near Sen. Chuck Schumer’s Brooklyn home.

The Friday protest, organized by The People's Forum and other activist groups was impassioned but peaceful, with groups chanting “Israel, you can’t hide, you’re committing genocide” and “No more money for Israel’s crimes.”

Like last Sunday’s rally, no elected officials — DSA or otherwise — showed up to the Friday event, but First Deputy Commissioner Tania Kinsella and Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence Rebecca Ulam Weiner were present monitoring the scene.

“You don't expect them to have a backbone. They never do,” protester Omnia Hegazy said of the absent politicians. Hegazy helped organize Friday’s rally on behalf of the Party for Socialism and Liberation, one of the groups sponsoring the event.

“The alleged progressives within the Democratic Party are really not progressive. They're supporting this ‘both sides’ narrative, and it's just really dishonest.” — Jason Beeferman


Mayor Eric Adams spoke strongly in support of Israel at a Tuesday rally and vigil organized by the UJA-Federation of New York and the Jewish Community Relations Council. | Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office

ADAMS AND ISRAEL: Adams’ unequivocal support for Israel has been made clearer with each speech and interview he’s given since the Oct. 7 attacks on the Jewish state.

He, like Hochul, has called for justice against Hamas.

“There’s a real demonic energy that is really something that all of us of faith, all of us who believe in humanity should acknowledge,” Adams said Sunday on MSNBC. “And we must come together.”

And he directed his remarks Friday at Shabbat services at Manhattan’s Temple Emanu-El to Jewish New Yorkers, asking, “If you don’t feel safe here, where else can you feel safe?”

Over the weekend, editorial boards and opinion writers’ praise of Adams followed his remarks at a “New York Stands with Israel” rally Tuesday in Manhattan, where he used a “we are not all right” refrain.

“Your fight is our fight,” he said there, adding, “We will not be all right until every person responsible for this act is held accountable.” — Emily Ngo

City Council Member Inna Vernikov was arrested Friday after she was spotted at a rally with a gun visible on her waist. | John McCarten/NYC Council Media Unit

OFF TARGET: “I want it for protection,” City Council Member Inna Vernikov told the Post about her new gun just last month.

On Friday, she was arrested after wearing a gun on her hip while counterprotesting a pro-Palestine rally at Brooklyn College.

That brought to mind another once-proud gun owner who’s since gotten quieter: Mayor Eric Adams. He famously told FAQ NYC as a candidate in 2020 that yes, he would carry a gun as mayor, and no, he wouldn’t have a security detail.

He softened that stance by 2021, telling POLITICO he’d carry a gun if there were “a serious, imminent threat,” and that he’d shrink, but not eliminate, the security detail.

Now as mayor? He’s never carried a gun, (as far as Deputy Mayor Fabien Levy knows, he told Playbook) and Adams’ security detail seems as big as previous mayors’ — even with his brother no longer on board.

Vernikov’s arrest shows just one of the potential issues with politicians carrying guns, but the bigger thing to consider for the mayor may be the charges of hypocrisy — and modeling bad behavior.

Adams’ NYPD at one point was making more gun arrests than any year since 1994.

So the Republican City Council member is, technically, just the latest collar.

“Bringing a firearm to a protest or rally is against the law,” a City Hall spokesperson said, “and no one is above the law.” — Jeff Coltin


The Senate Chamber of the New York State Capitol. Former Retail Council of New York State CEO Ted Potrikus is out with a new book that defends the role of lobbyists in government. | Hans Pennink/AP Photo

LOBBYING BY THE BOOK: Ted Potrikus, the former head of the Retail Council of New York State, is out with a new book that is part memoir, part defense of the often-maligned job of being a lobbyist.

“Lobbying 101” out this month recalls Potrikus’ decades-long career in Albany, first as a legislative aide and later as the president and CEO of the Retail Council.

“In some ways, it’s a bit of a defensive reaction to, 'oh my God, you were a lobbyist?'” Potrikus told Playbook in a phone interview from Arizona.

“The advocacy business gets a bad rap and sometimes deservedly so. You have the picture of the guy with two moneybags,” he added.

The book includes Potrikus’ ground-level recollections of minimum wage debates and how his boss once made then-Mayor Ed Koch wait for a meeting.

“I think lobbying is an integral part of the policymaking process. It’s an important voice. I disagree with lawmakers who say they’re not going to meet with lobbyists. I disagree with lobbyists who do not want to meet with the other side.” — Nick Reisman

911 FOR AMBULANCES: Lawmakers and ambulance service providers are urging Hochul to sign a measure heading to her desk meant to aid emergency services. The measure would change how ambulance services are paid by health insurers, with the goal of sending the money directly to them.

Ambulance services, especially in parts of upstate New York, have struggled in recent years with both finances and staffing.

“No longer will ambulance providers have to wonder if they will be paid for the services they are mandated to provide, nor will New Yorkers be held accountable for paying for out-of-network emergency medical services,” Democratic Assemblymember Bill Magnarelli said. — Nick Reisman

More from Albany:

— House Republicans are threatening to subpoena former Gov. Andrew Cuomo in an investigation of deaths of nursing home patients during the pandemic. (NY1)

— Hochul approved a package of measures meant to update the state’s alcohol laws. (Buffalo News)

— Former Rep. Lee Zeldin says Donald Trump can win the presidency again in 2024 and argues the indictments helped his campaign. (New York Post)


Rep. Mike Lawler told a constituent he would vote for Rep. Jim Jordan for House speaker if Jordan secured sufficient support from other Republicans. | Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

HE’S NOT THAT EAGER TO GET ON CNN : Rep. Mike Lawler wants Kevin McCarthy back as speaker, but he is not a “Never-Jordaner,” and would vote Rep. Jim Jordan for speaker of the House if he somehow were to secure the necessary support from other Republicans.

“If he has the votes, I’ll probably just vote for him because I’m not gonna be a cog in the wheel — to do what? We have to get back to work,” Lawler told a constituent at a street fair in Sleepy Hollow Sunday, according to audio acquired by Playbook.

(Presumably he meant “sand in the gears,” or “a wrench in the works,” but the meaning was clear.)

Lawler has been one of the loudest critics of the — in his words — “clusterfuck” around McCarthy losing the speaker’s gavel. Jordan is a staunch ally of Donald Trump, and as a Republican representing a swingy district he’s “been tightlipped about if he would back Jordan,” POLITICO reported Saturday, after Lawler had a one-on-one meeting with the Ohio Republican.

With a thin majority, every vote matters, but chances are, Lawler wouldn’t have the opportunity to play spoiler anyway. “I think he could get there,” Lawler said at the fair, “but there’s a lot of people who are just ‘no’ right now.” — Jeff Coltin


PLAYBOOK IS GOING GLOBAL! We’re excited to introduce Global Playbook, POLITICO’s premier newsletter that brings you inside the most important conversations at the most influential events in the world. From the buzzy echoes emanating from the snowy peaks at the WEF in Davos to the discussions and personalities at Milken Global in Beverly Hills, to the heart of diplomacy at UNGA in New York City – author Suzanne Lynch brings it all to your fingertips. Experience the elite. Witness the influential. And never miss a global beat. BE PART OF THE CONVERSATION. SUBSCRIBE NOW.


— Rep. George Santos’ reelection campaign has over $120,000 in debt, recent filings show. (Newsday)

— Human smugglers are thriving in northern New York amid an uptick in border crossings. (Times Union)

— Colleges on Long Island are seeing an enrollment rebound due to first-year students. (Newsday)


IN MEMORIAM: Former Assembly Majority Leader Michael Bragman, a Syracuse-area Democrat, died at 83. (WSYR)

MAKING MOVES: Neysa Alsina is now general counsel for the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation. She most recently worked for the New York State Executive Chamber. …

— Lesley Bedeau has been promoted to be deputy IG for the NYPD at New York City Department of Investigation.

— Hazel Crampton-Hays, former press secretary for Gov. Kathy Hochul, has joined Risa Heller Communications as a vice president.

— Camille Hastick is re-joining the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce as vice president for external affairs and government relations. She was Brooklyn regional director for state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.

WEDDINGS: Caitlin Piper, counsel in the tax group at Hogan Lovells, and Dustin Volz, cybersecurity and intelligence reporter at the WSJ, got married Saturday at the bride's family cabin in Fort Valley, Va. Pic ... Another pic

— Jess Bidgood, senior national political reporter for the Boston Globe, and Kyle Chayka, staff writer for The New Yorker, were married on Sept. 9 at Lake Mauweehoo in Sherman, Conn. Pic ... Another pic

SPOTTED last week at Del Friscos in Manhattan at a “Meat the Press” dinner hosted by Young Voices and Deroy Murdock to celebrate Alexandra Hudson’s new book “The Soul of Civility: Timeless Principles to Heal Society and Ourselves” ($25.37): Emma Ayers, Gerard Baker, Grace Bydalek, Frank Filocomo, Casey Given, Jake Greenspan, James Higgins, Kian Hudson, Kennedy, Heather Mac Donald, Preston Mizell, Gerry Ohrstrom, Pamela Paresky, Ashton Randle, Davis Richardson and Nick Sanchez.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: former SEC Chair Christopher Cox … Jim Courtovich … Alex Macfarlane of SKDK … Foreign Policy’s Ravi Agrawal … Brendan Greeley … Sarah Westwood … Marina Weiss … Kate Terranova

WAS SUNDAY: Ken Griffin … Lis Smith … NBC’s Jon Allen … John Doty of House Judiciary/Rep. Jerry Nadler’s (D-N.Y.) office … Meaghan Byrne … Liz Kenigsberg of SKDK … Stu Loeser … Ali Armstrong Stuebe … David Schwartz

WAS SATURDAY: CBS’ Bob Costa … Brunswick Group’s Anang Mittal … Jack Fitzpatrick of Bloomberg Government … Tucker Foote of Mastercard … CNN’s Annie Grayer … FGS Global’s Mike Feldman … Leigh Farris … Nick Stanley … Ralph Lauren … Art Shamsky … Alan Blinder … Isaac Mizrahi … Stephen Ohlemacher

Real Estate

— How six Italian brothers shaped the story of New York (The New York Times)


Subscribe to the POLITICO Playbook family

Playbook  |  Playbook PM  |  California Playbook  |  Florida Playbook  |  Illinois Playbook  |  Massachusetts Playbook  |  New Jersey Playbook  |  New York Playbook  |  Ottawa Playbook  |  Brussels Playbook  |  London Playbook

View all our political and policy newsletters

Follow us


To change your alert settings, please log in at

This post first appeared on Test Sandbox Updates, please read the originial post: here

Share the post

Exclusive: N.Y. Working Families Party appoints co-directors


Subscribe to Test Sandbox Updates

Get updates delivered right to your inbox!

Thank you for your subscription