We, the undersigned, are endorsing Anna Kelles for State Assembly, 125th District. We are all progressives. We are leaders in our community. And we are women, women raising our united voices with this endorsement. We write this not as representatives of any organizations, but as concerned private citizens. We will not remain silent when so much is at stake.
In the words of her partner, Joey Steinhagen, Anna Kelles is our very own yellow brick road candidate. She has heart. She has courage. She has brains. She knows how to bring people at all levels together to advocate for their needs. And she’s not afraid to stand up against power structures that keep people marginalized. She’s the woman for this job.
Let’s start with brains. Anna Kelles is brilliant. She has a PhD and is a scientist. Part of what Anna taught at Cornell is epidemiology, which is the study of how diseases are transferred. Her expertise and research is on nutrition in underserved populations. The intersection of nutrition and epidemiology resulted in Anna deep diving into how disease is spread and how viruses are contained. Anna is uniquely situated to help during the current pandemic. Anna backs up any position she takes with hard core facts and careful research. She has a deep and profound understanding of our current crisis, environmental sustainability, and human rights issues that far surpasses any other opponent in this race.
Now, to courage. Kelles is known to be a woman who stands by her beliefs even when the odds are against her, and she fights until she wins. She also has courage to accept defeat when warranted and will work with those opposing her to ensure that whatever legislative actions are taken include some of her suggestions that put people first. As a legislator, she was not intimidated by Albany politics. She dove in, serving on several standing committees of the New York State Association of Counties. She has worked with State representatives on transformative legislation. She’s ready to do this job on day one.
Finally, Kelles has a huge heart. She’s stayed up night after night during this crises, researching and writing so she could keep our community informed. As the ground beneath us continually shifted, Kelles helped keep thousands of us steady with her updates. She did this for free, as a citizen, because she loves her community and her huge heart inspires her to fight through exhaustion to advocate for us all. Her empathy shines through in her actions. Her introduction and support of local legislation including becoming a sanctuary city, freedom from domestic violence as a human right, and steadfast votes to recognize Indigenous People’s Day when others were initially opposed or to raise the Rainbow Flag in honor of Pride Month are a few examples of her unwavering advocacy and showing up when it matters. Finally, Anna knows her privilege as a White woman and uses it to fight relentlessly for what is right, to fight for those who are marginalized in our community.
The most common arguments we have heard against Anna Kelles is that she’s driven, and a bit of a know it all. Sound familiar? All too often women are expected to know it all to be taken seriously and at the same time we are criticized for knowing too much. As we shelter at home, in the midst of a global pandemic, hoping the government will do the right thing, ask yourself this. Who do you want advocating for you? Do you want someone who doesn’t know it all? Someone who isn’t driven? If ever there was a time for brilliance and drive, it’s now.
We are artists, politicians, businesswomen, authors, academics, and front-line workers who have made our mark. We work and sacrifice for our community. More importantly, we are women, women who are daughters, mothers, aunts, and grandmothers who believe all of our children deserve the best hope for a brighter future. Doing what we have always done before is no longer an option. We need new ideas and new perspectives. We need to elect a representative who is uniquely suited for this difficult time and has a vision for our future. Anna Kelles is that candidate.
People of all demographics must be equally represented in the halls of power, and they are not. Highly educated, experienced, qualified women must not be overlooked. It’s time for that story to end. Of all the excellent candidates in this primary, candidates we like and respect, we believe Kelles is the only logical choice. With an eye towards our future, we are collectively raising our voices to support what is right for our families and our community.
So many of us feel like our houses, and our lives, have been spun out in a tornado, that we’ve fallen into the unknown land of Oz. As we find ourselves in this new, uncertain, and often tragic time, we’re putting our money on a woman who will persist, who won’t stop until the people she cares about get their needs met.
A superior candidate should not have to wait her turn. In the words of the great Barbara Jordan, we don’t need another “run-of-the-mill-politician” who fits the mold. During this time, we need the woman who breaks the mold, a woman with brains, heart, courage and authenticity. That’s Anna Kelles.
Anna will be there for all of us. She will work day in and day out for us. She will work until she’s dead tired, and she will never stop. She will never give up.
The woman for this job is Anna Kelles.
We hope you’ll join us in supporting her on election day.
In-person voting on June 23rd, or send in your absentee ballot today.
Sara Xayarath Hernández
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