New York City is a happening place. Business-wise, in the realm of politics, in the realm of social movements… Many roads begin in New York. One Equal World has decided to briefly profile some of New York City’s most influential political figures – the Big Apple’s game-changers that are affecting us all through the vein of NYC.
Sean Eldridge is an investor and political activist. Now only does he serve as President of Hudson River Ventures, a small business investment fund focused on the Hudson Valley, he is also a Senior Advisor at Freedom to Marry, a campaign to pass laws for equal marriage across the USA, and the founder of Protect our Democracy, a campaign finance reform advocacy group. Eldridge was instrumental in winning the freedom to marry in New York, working at the time as a Political Director for Freedom to Marry and providing commentary to prominent media outlets. He serves on the board of directors of Scenic Hudson, the largest environmental group focused on the Hudson Valley, GLAD (Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders), a legal organization dedicated to LGBT rights, and Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic.
Christine Quinn is a democrat politician and is a current Speaker of the New York City Council. She has served Manhattan’s lower west side as a member of the City Council since 1999, and was elected as Speaker in 2006. Quinn has spent her career in public service, fighting for policies and services that are critical to the lives of New Yorkers. Christine Quinn began her career as a housing organizer, helping low-income tenants stay in their homes and protecting affordable housing. During the course of her career, she has served as the director of the Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project, worked closely with the NYPD against hate crimes, passed laws to improve the environment, and advocated for investment in early childhood educational programs. She was a leading voice in the fight for marriage equality, spoke out against hate crimes and cracked down on harassment at family planning clinics. Her work has been positive and meaningful for the people and LGBT communities of New York City.
Allen Roskoff is a legendary gay rights activist who has been a leader in the LGBT and social justice movements for over four decades. Roskoff was instrumental in achieving many early victories for the LGBT movement, including co-authoring the nation’s first gay rights bill. He later co-founded America’s first gay Democratic club with Jim Owles. He has contributed to hundreds of political campaigns, his later ones including heading Lesbians and Gays for David Dinkins and Mario Cuomo. Roskoff was the first openly gay person appointed to a community board and also the first to serve in the offices of an elected official.
Ken Mehlman, who served as President Bush’s campaign manager in 2004 and is a former chairman of the Republican National Committee, has come out, tied up loose ends where necessary, and is now advocating on behalf of the LGBT community as a member of the Republican party. This is particularly notable because the majority of powerful same-sex marriage advocates in New York City are advocating as democrats for democrats. Ken Mehlman is one of the few powerful Republican political figures to attempt to influence the Republican party. He is currently the global head of public affairs at Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR), but is politically very active beyond the office walls. Ken Mehlman has affected us all through the vein of NYC.
Rosie Mendez was elected in 2006 to represent Manhattan’s District 2 as a member of the New York City Council in 2006. Before that, she served Lower East Side as Female Democratic District Leader for four terms from 1997 to 2005. During the course of her career, Mendez has completed a judicial internship with Civil Court Judge Richard Rivera, served on the board of directors of the Lower East side People’s Federal Credit Union, and interned at the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and the Legal Action Center. Mendez has introduced legislation that established the right to counsel for seniors; language access; mold abatement; sanctions against restaurants that violate labor laws; and a ban on the display of exotic animals, and she has secured $5.85 million for NYCHA developments in District 2. The League of Humane Voters has given her a 100 percent approval rating on animal rights and the Urban Justice Center’s Human Rights Project ranks Rosie fifth among 51 council members for her stance on civil liberties.