Top Latina activist running for deep blue NY House seat

A top Latina activist on Tuesday announced her candidacy to replace retiring Rep. José Serrano (D-N.Y.), throwing her hat in the ring to compete for the most Democratic-leaning seat in the country.

Melissa Mark-Viverito, a former New York City Assembly speaker and interim president of Latino Victory, a progressive Hispanic political advocacy group, announced her bid in an interview with The City, an independent local news outlet.

Mark-Viverito told the paper she is running because “we are at a critical moment of time in our democracy.”


While the general election to replace Serrano is all but certain to go to a Democrat, based on Cook Political Report rankings, Mark-Viverito is jumping into a contested primary race for the coveted Bronx seat.

Among those already in contention are Bronx council members Ritchie Torres and Rubén Díaz Sr. and New York state Assemblyman Michael Blake.

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Mark-Viverito finished in third place in a city-wide special election to become public advocate in February, after Letitia James resigned the position to take over as New York attorney general.

Following that loss, she took over as president of Latino Victory, after longtime President Cristobal Alex left to join former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenHillicon Valley: Biden calls on Facebook to change political speech rules | Dems demand hearings after Georgia election chaos | Microsoft stops selling facial recognition tech to police Trump finalizing executive order calling on police to use ‘force with compassion’ The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook MORE’s presidential campaign.

The Puerto Rico-born Mark-Viverito, whose residence is in East Harlem “literally one stop” from the Bronx district she hopes to represent, penned an op-ed in the bilingual Bronx Free Press explaining her motivation to run for the seat.

“Every movement emerges out of some injustice. Most recently, the revolution that has rocked Puerto Rico is one that has been heard around the world and has made its message clear: the government must serve you and NOT corporations, hedge funds, and special interests,” she wrote.

The former Assembly speaker featured prominently in Puerto Rico’s recent political upheaval, which led to former Gov. Ricardo Rosselló’s resignation.

In a texting group with his closest allies, Rosselló called Mark-Viverito the Spanish word for “whore” for her apparent opposition to the island’s statehood.

Mark-Viverito joined protests demanding Rosselló’s ouster and leaned into the insult, donning a T-shirt with it emblazoned on it.