Every once in a great while a candidate emerges who represents the best in us all. Carlos Manchaca is running for New York City Council from Brooklyn's 38th District (Red Hook, Sunset Park, Windsor Terrace, Gowanus and parts of Bay Ridge and Park Slope). If you are a grassroots activist, supported the Occupy Wall Street movement or desire dramatic change in the way this city is governed, then Carlos is made for you.
Manchaca is challenging incumbent Sara M. Gonzalez, who while a good person, is invested in doing 'business as usual' in these critical times.
When Hurricane Sandy devastated sections of Brooklyn and particularly the Red Hook area, Carlos was among the leaders who organized thousands of volunteers to help their neighbors as government moved at a much slower pace. They canvassed the buildings to make sure the elderly were safe. They delivered food. The volunteers cleaned the streets and established a system of communications that enable people to be in contact in the middle of a national emergency.
From that effort, the citizens of Brooklyn turned to Carlos and asked him to run. His biography in itself explains why this young energetic grassroots activist is the perfect choice for New York City Council.
Born to a single immigrant mother in El Paso, Texas who taught him the love of the American dream. His mother, Magdalina Ortiz (Maggie) made sure he was in Head Start where he learned English. She supported his environmental activism at a young age. The family of seven children (Carlos was third!) lived in public housing, survived on food stamps and public assistance.
Carlos knows first hand how government programs can change citizens lives.
He attended the Jesuit University of San Francisco on a scholarship and Pell Grant. While at the University he continued his activism around the issues of social justice. The students elected him President of the Student Senate.
Carlos was accepted into the Coro Fellows Program and that brought him to New York City. He was hired by Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz to manage the Capital Budget and Economic Portfolios. From there he worked for City Council Speaker Christine Quinn being her outreach to the LGBT and HIV/AIDS community.
If Brooklyn was a city it would be the fourth largest in America and it has at the moment no representation for LGBT Americans. This is long overdue.
This week he received a major endorsement from Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez.
This is not going to be a campaign of big money and special interests. It is a true grassroots campaign of the people. If you are upset about the influence of money on politics then this is your moment to show how we can fight back and win.
Manchaca's story is America's story. He is the type of candidate that gives New Yorkers hope for the future and progressives a powerful voice.
(Carlos appears in the opening section of the following video)