Hoboken Mayor Ravinder Bhalla has endorsed Richard David, an Indian-American of Guyanese heritage, running in the Democratic primary for the New York State Assembly in District 31. The Democratic primary is scheduled for June 23, 2020.
The importance of having Mayor Balla behind him helps David’s chance of being the preferred candidate. District 31 has the largest Sikh, South Asian and Indo-Caribbean community in the state, according to a press release from the David campaign.
A special election was called for District 31 because the previous incumbent, Michele Titus, resigned to take over as judge of the New York City Civil Court in Queens County Jan. 1, 2020. The special election was originally scheduled on April 28, 2020. But just four days before that, Gov. Andrew Cuomo cancelled them because of COVID-19 fears, and the special election was postponed to the same date as the presidential primaries June 23.
There are six candidates running in the June 23 primary from District 31, an overwhelmingly Democratic district. Anyone who wins the primary will be a shoe-in come November.
David is also endorsed by Congressman Gregory Meeks, Assembly Member Vivian Cook, State Senator Leroy Comrie, The Queens Democratic Party and over a dozen unions, political clubs and good governance organizations, according to the press release.
“These extraordinary times call for new leadership and we see now more than ever how important representation is within government and in communities of color,” Mayor Bhalla is quoted saying in the press release. “New York City has gone far too long without a South Asian elected to public office. This June, let’s fully embrace the great diversity of Queens and New York City by electing my friend Richard David,” Bhalla added.
“Mayor Balla is an inspiration to the Sikh community, and to me personally,” David said. “He has dedicated his life to public service by fighting for civil and political rights. This endorsement shows unity and is an urgent call to action. We must rise up together, and this is the time,” David added.
David came to the United States as an undocumented dreamer and has lived in Southeast Queens for 25 years, the press release notes.
He is currently a District Leader in Assembly District 31, and has spent more than 10 years working at senior levels of government.
He was one of the youngest members of the community board and co-founded a youth-led social justice organization to bring resources to the district.
Most recently, David led the nonprofit desk at a private government relations firm. He is also an adjunct history professor at York College.