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21st district Assembly candidate Kyla Rodger

Rodger seeks shot to challenge Bramnick, Munoz

26-year-old channels AOC in outsider bid for Assembly

By David Wildstein, February 07 2019 12:54 pm

Kyla Rodger, a 26-year-old self-proclaimed progressive from Westfield, is seeking the Democratic nomination for State Assembly in the 21st district.

So far, Rodger is taking a page out of the playbook of Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez in New York.  She’s outlined a progressive platform that includes social and environmental justice through implementation of Green New Deal policies at the state level.

Her campaign is being managed by Matt Skeete, the vice president of Our Revolution Essex County,

“Like many, I woke up on the morning of November 9th, 2016 disheartened. I had always believed that despite our political differences, our government would take care of us, that our government cared about our safety and well-being,” Rodger said in her announcement.  “As I sat and pondered that morning, I came to the realization that our government, and any government, only works for its people if its people are accurately represented within it.”

Rodger has found it tough to break through the political party structure.  She wasn’t included in an Assembly candidate forum in Springfield last month, and she is not on the last of potential candidates who will attend the upcoming meet-and-greet sponsored by the Summit Democratic organization.

Eight Democrats are vying for the seats of longtime incumbents Jon Bramnick (R-Westfield) and Nancy Munoz (R-Summit), although that field is likely to narrow significantly after the Union, Somerset and Morris county Democratic organizations make their endorsements in advance of the June primary.

Rodger says that she has found progressives without representation in her district, which last elected a Democrat in 1989.

“There was no one to represent my progressive ideals and the issues my generation faces,” said Rodger.  “Corrupt government officials did not care about my generation struggling under student loan debt. They refused to contemplate a livable minimum wage for the working class. They didn’t understand the struggle that was paying for or even losing healthcare.”

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