Often the only man in the room. Reidy understands that progress comes from cooperation

To the Editor:

Primary Election Day is June 25, and I’m writing to endorse, with deep conviction and the greatest enthusiasm, the candidacy of Dustin Reidy for Albany County Legislator.

I also want to affirm that Dustin deserves the support of all Guilderland voters — because of his commitment to the Capital District, to the state of New York, and, most importantly, to principles we uphold as central to the well-being of our families, communities, and democracy: access to affordable health care; support of public education; protection of the environment; the right of everyone, no matter their race, religion, sexual orientation, or creed, to live without fear and discrimination; the right to vote.

I met Dustin on a cold and snowy day in January 2017 — the day I began my work as an activist. I had organized, for my first time ever, a rally in downtown Albany, which was part of a nationwide series of protests against the policies of the Trump administration [The Altamont Enterprise, Jan. 31, 2017: “Altamont Main Street USA organized protest in Albany against Trump”].

Dustin was, from the start, a tireless supporter of the movement to resist the administration: He showed up that day, passionately cheered us on, warmly supported me (he even held my bag!), and lent his voice to the resistance movement that coalesced in those weeks.

This was just the start for me, as it was for Dustin, whose accomplishments since then have been, in a word, extraordinary.

He understood, earlier than most, the importance of flipping the House of Representatives from red to blue. Soon after the 2016 election, he founded NY19Votes, an organization whose primary aim was to elect, in 2018, a Democrat as the representative from the 19th Congressional District of New York.

When he and others in this group started their work, flipping the district seemed like a nearly impossible task. But he pressed forward with great energy and worked tirelessly to accomplish this goal. NY19Votes brought together various groups from across the district, trained volunteers to canvass and register voters (first in March 2017 and then numerous times after that), organized postcard-writing campaigns, and knocked on doors to talk to voters about their concerns.

It was through NY19Votes that I, terrified, first canvassed and met and talked to voters (who weren’t, I discovered, so scary after all). When Antonio Delgado won the election, the sprawling 19th became the only predominantly rural district in the entire country that flipped from red to blue.

That happened in large part because Dustin and his team traveled throughout the district to bring groups together and mobilize as many people as possible. NY19Votes also responded to specific issues, advocating, for example, in favor of the Affordable Care Act.

When the House voted to repeal the health care law on a Thursday in May 2017, Dustin and his team were out in the streets by Sunday, speaking to the voters about health care and distributing material on how John Faso’s vote in favor of repeal would personally affect them and their loved ones.

Dustin has been continually supportive of other progressive causes and actions, including the various projects I have undertaken, from the organization of the 2nd Women’s March in 2018 to the WE Conference and March in January 2019.

In planning for these events, he was often the only man in a room full of energized women, and he has always, unflinchingly and unfailingly, offered his support to these activities. He is a sterling example of the incredible men who support, and are excited to work alongside, women.

He understands that progress comes from cooperation — from working together to achieve shared goals. He has been a consistent champion of the progressive causes that matter the most to those of us who want to see positive change in our community and in the country.

All of the qualities that Dustin has demonstrated these past two years — foresight, determination, unending hard work, a passionate commitment to causes he supports, the ability to build coalitions, responsiveness, keen sensitivity to the interests and concerns of the community — are the same qualities we need in our representative on the Albany County Legislature, and they are the best reasons to cast our votes for Dustin in the primary.

It’s not my habit to proclaim publicly support for any political candidate — local or national. But I’ve made an exception for Dustin, a long-time advocate for progressive causes, a tireless worker, and, now, a person I proudly consider a friend. I hope you will cast your vote for him on June 25.

Castina Charles

Co-founder of

Women’s Empowerment

Conference and March

Editor’s note: District 30 covers the part of Guilderland from Route 155 in the west to the Thruway in the east. Bryan Clenahan, who had represented the district, left the post to become a Guilderland town judge. Charles D. Cahill Jr. was appointed to fill out the year remaining in Clenahan’s term but does not plan to run to keep his seat. Steven D. Wickham and Dustin Reidy will be facing off in June 25 primary for the Democratic Party line.

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