NEW YORK – In a crowded field of 17 candidates, heading into the special election on Tuesday, February 26, Greek-American Democrat Nomiki Konst is running for New York City Public Advocate. The Arizona-born New Yorker with roots in Northern Epiros, Kefalonia, and Kalymnos (the family name was originally Konstantakis) was profiled in The National Herald twice before, in 2016, during the election campaign as a staunch Bernie Sanders supporter featured on numerous national television networks throughout that race, and in 2018, following her announcement that she would be running for Public Advocate.
Konst, 35, spoke with TNH contributor Constantine E. Scaros about her campaign. She said, “The office of the NYC Public Advocate was created to be the independent voice for all New Yorkers; an important check on the lawmakers of New York. We know that effective city government is accountable city government; it is not a matter of intentions, but a matter of results. This is not a job for machine-owned politicians or a stepping stone to Gracie Mansion. This is a watchdog position tailor-made for a communicator who knows how the levers of power work, but doesn’t stand to benefit from pulling them. It’s vital – given the history of corruption in this city – that the office of public advocate be removed from political machines and special interests. Through my career as an advocate against corruption, investigative reporter, and activist, I have proven my ability to pursue truth, accountability, and justice in face of influence peddling and machine politics. I have the courage and the ability to exercise the unique office and powers of the Public Advocate’s office to its fullest abilities and to create meaningful positive change. I hope to make my campaign a model for how I would develop the position of Public Advocate and show, not tell, the changes we need to make life better for all New Yorkers.”
When asked about being called a “democratic socialist,” Konst told TNH, “Terms like ‘Democrat,’ ‘Republican,’ ‘liberal,’ ‘conservative,’ ‘capitalist,’ ‘socialist’ and others mean different things to different people. To me, democratic socialism is the idea that more democracy in our economy will lead to better outcomes and move us towards a more moral, efficient and prosperous society. Giving Americans power and protection in the workplace and giving working families a voice in government has time and time again produced more effective businesses and more effective government.
“As Greeks know too well, the American left/center-left/center-right/right is not the same as the worldwide left-to-right spectrum. The recent normalization of the term democratic socialism in the United States is eclipsing the cold war hangover – in that language and political labels have blocked everyday people from asking for, let alone receiving, vital services for their families. But I am also cognizant that some extremists will use this moment to paint reasonable policy with provocative Soviet illustrations. But as a Democrat who feels that we have lost our way as a party, I think it’s important for us to recognize that working people have either been on the sidelines or left the party for other choices because we became too focused on national stars and big dollar fundraising, then the crises facing communities, like ours in NYC. When I think of what Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), the group, represents and can do: it’s the values that bring working people back into our party, which was once the working person’s party.
“To quote the late Senator Paul Wellstone, someone who would have proudly called himself a democratic socialist today, ‘we all do better when we all do better.’ It is simple in principle but in practice requires discipline and determination. Additionally, I would say that with more democracy comes more transparency. It is the idea that transparency is not only as quoted by Justice Louis Brandeis ‘the greatest disinfectant’ but also the greatest incubator. New York City is a world-class forward-thinking city that needs an equally forward-thinking government to keep it the indispensable city of the 21st century.”
More information about Nomiki Konst’s candidacy for NYC Public Advocate is available at nomikikonst.com.
The election is Tuesday, February 26, and polls will be open in New York City 6 AM-9 PM for registered voters.