This is a letter to the editor written by Ammitai Worob, former State Senate candidate and current Chief of Staff for New York State Assemblywoman Anna Kelles. He is also a volunteer on Josh Riley’s campaign. To submit letters to the editor, please send them to Matt Butler at

January 6 – as I type that date I get goosebumps. It’s a date that serves as a bright red warning light of how tenuous and imperiled the state of our Democracy was, is, and may be going forward. The seeds of authoritarianism and anti-democratic rhetoric were sown long before January 6, 2021, and sadly have only worsened among most of the Republican party since. Until the GOP regains its sanity and truly puts America first (which can’t happen soon enough for everyone, especially my friends who are Republicans and Conservatives), it is absolutely imperative to elect Democrats to office in Washington. There is one candidate in the 19th Congressional district who gives us the best chance to do that. It is critical that we support and vote for Josh Riley for Congress.

Through three different drawings of Congressional maps, Josh Riley has been putting Democracy first, so that he and his future colleagues in Congress can do the work of revitalizing and strengthening a 21st-century economy, protecting (and in the face of the Dobbs decision, restoring) and expanding health care access, and providing the resources for public safety while promoting equity and justice in every regard. Josh has remained resolute to the same ideals even amidst changing political winds and maps. Since he announced his candidacy last Fall, I have supported Josh Riley for Congress, and I encourage you to do the same.

With any candidate, there is always the policy and the politics. When it comes to policy, Josh has had the same message from the beginning, which is why he has garnered so much grassroots support across the district, and has earned endorsements from most of the Democratic committees in the district and the Working Families Party, along with college student organizations, voting rights advocacy groups, labor unions across the state, and current and former legislators in the district.

Josh has a legislative track record, and the experience needed to represent our district and make life better for all Americans. Josh worked with Sen. Ted Kennedy’s office to fight to raise the minimum wage. Instead of taking a lucrative job at a big bank or lobbying firm right after graduation as many of his cohort did, Josh worked with the American Academy of Pediatrics to represent kids and enable access to healthcare for them. As General Counsel, Josh had a hand in two Senate bills that became law, one that now provides rights for survivors of domestic abuse, and another that provides new funding for addiction treatment and mental health programs — at a time where our country has never had more of a need for these services. He also worked as an attorney in the Senate to fight to restore the Voting Rights Act. There is nobody in this Congressional race with anywhere near the legislative experience and success that Josh will bring to the job on day 1.

When it comes to politics, Josh is the only candidate in this race who has not, and will not take a cent of corporate PAC money. Goodness knows they must be trying to buy Josh, but he is truly a representative of, and for the people. Josh knows this district. He was born and raised in Endicott, NY. He lives in Ithaca, NY with his wife and son, where I’ll often see them chatting with friends, and new acquaintances. He is part of the fabric of this district, and the district is interwoven into who Josh is, and the values he represents — hard work, resilience, and hope.

Sadly what happened on January 6, 2021 has overshadowed what happened 80 years earlier. On January 6, 1941, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, in his State of the Union Address, outlined the aspirational Four Freedoms — freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. If we as a nation are to ever return to be united in struggle for these four freedoms, we need to elect people of dignified comportment, clear, expansive, and inclusive vision, and of strong integrity. Josh Riley is such a person.Early voting is happening between August 13th-21st, and primary (and also a very important special election) day is on August 23rd. I invite you to join me in voting for Josh Riley for Congress, both in this primary, and also in November.