In a move that critics have called insensitive and deaf, a Socialist Democratic candidate running for Congress on Staten Island exploits the emergency disaster of Hurricane Ida that killed at least 13 New Yorkers to raise funds for his campaign – and push President Biden’s $ 3.5 trillion spending plan.
In the solicitation email sent to potential supporters Thursday night, Brittany Ramos DeBarros, a local Democratic Socialists of America member and military veteran who served in Afghanistan, pledged to provide the necessary federal funds. to better protect New York’s infrastructure. against storms and climate change.
“It is clear that we need heavy investments in our infrastructure if we are to survive the next hurricane or the next tropical storm, and we know it is coming. One way or another, despite the devastation we all witnessed last night, Brittany’s Republican opponent is still working against the vital investments our communities need, ”the email said, making reference to GOP MP for the first term, Nicole Malliotakis.
“This status quo is extreme and we urgently need to elect leaders who will actually fight for us.”
The email then adds in a large orange block, “Donate!” “
DeBarros seeks the same support from progressive left-wing groups who helped elect Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – another DSA member – to the 2018 post.
DeBarros is referring to the infrastructure and budget reconciliation bills that President Biden and Senator Chuck Schumer are pushing to strengthen flood protection and adapt to climate change.
In recent days, Biden, Schumer, Governor Kathy Hochul, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Queens Borough President Donovan Richards have cited damage from Tropical Storm Ida as proof that federal dollars are needed to protect themselves. more frequent severe storms in the future.
“Right now there is $ 3.5 [trillion] reconciliation package that makes its way through Congress and – while Republicans may cry crocodile tears over funding our communities instead of their corporate donors – we know this is just the start of the investment necessary to protect our homes, our planet and our future, ”the DeBarros campaign fundraising pitch told supporters.
“We can start by sending a candidate like Brittany to power. Click here to support a worker candidate who will fight to invest in our infrastructure.
“In solidarity, Team Brittany.
The embedded web link asks supporters to donate up to a maximum of $ 5,800.
His opponents have called DeBarros’ pitch shameless as the death toll and other devastation caused by Hurricane Ida is still being counted.
Main Democratic rival Mike DeCillis, a former police officer and volunteer paramedic who worked at Ground Zero after the 9/11 attacks, said on twitter, “Advice for other campaigns. Do NOT fundraise for your political campaign during a citywide emergency as people lose their lives and die in floods. “
DeCillis, in a follow-up interview, told The Post: “The fundraising pitch was inappropriate. I have been in these crisis situations before. What matters most is people’s health and safety and providing them with immediate assistance.
Malliotakis campaign spokesperson Rob Ryan said: “I am shocked by the macabre and inappropriate fundraising appeal from Brittany Ramos DeBarros and her campaign.
“Nearly 50 people died from Hurricane Ida in the Northeast, more than a dozen right here in New York City, and she has no qualms about shamelessly raising funds for Ida’s death and destruction. She needs to understand in a time of crisis that you are reaching out to your constituents, just as MP Malliotakis did in the aftermath of Super Storm Sandy.
“In the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, Congresswoman Malliotakis assessed the damage, met with constituents and called on the president to endorse Governor Hochul’s declaration of disaster and release the necessary resources from FEMA; that’s what a real civil servant does, ”added the Malliotakis representative.
DeBarros defended the online fundraising solicitation in a statement to The Post.
“As a combat veteran and seasoned organizer, I have worked on the front lines of enough humanitarian disasters and national security crises to know that true leadership requires both decisive action in the present and foresight to create momentum for a better future. this death and destruction our community suffers now was preventable, but for years our elected officials refused to invest in long-term infrastructure solutions that would protect us, ”DeBarros said.
“We are focused on meeting the immediate needs of the population and have already carried out welfare checks with more than 300 families to put them in contact with resources, coordinated to support the ongoing cleanup efforts while continuing. to work for the long term, vital solutions that will keep us safe and prevent this kind of tragedy in the future. “