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Two Latinas set their sights on Lieutenant Governor in New York
Diana Reyna and Ana María Archila are both running for Lieutenant Governor of New York in 2022. Photos: Getty Images

Two Latinas set their sights on Lieutenant Governor in New York

Ana María Archila and Diana Reyna are two names to watch as New York picks its next governor this year.

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In 2022, New York Lieutenant Gov. Brian Benjamin is facing a number of challengers as he seeks re-election. 

His most serious competitor right now is former New York City Councilwoman Diana Reyna, the running mate of gubernatorial candidate Rep. Tom Suozzi of Long Island. 

On Wednesday, Feb. 16, Rep. Suozzi announced Reyna as his running mate, and as his pick for the next lieutenant governor.

Standing in front of a crowd of supporters on a basketball court in Williamsburg, Reyna said that as soon as she found out Suozzi was running for governor, she wanted to get involved. 

“I wanted to be part of that campaign, to shake things up and get something done in Albany,” Reyna said. 

Reyna is beneficial to Suozzi’s campaign, as her distinction as the first Dominican-American woman elected to public office in the state gives him another way to appeal to Latinx voters. But if Suozzi does not succeed, Reyna plans to continue her campaign for New York’s second-in-command. 

After 12 years on the City Council serving parts of Williamsburg and Bushwick, Reyna went to work for then-Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, where she made history as the first Latina deputy borough president. 

“I feel very strongly that Diana is the right person that will appeal statewide. I think together we appeal to everyone in the entire state of New York, and our balance represents the balance of the people in the state of New York,” Suozzi said. 

Reyna has the chance to make history a third time if she is victorious in her campaign for Lieutenant Governor. Reyna is keenly aware of the importance of the state’s rapidly changing demographic and the need for Democrats to appropriately reach out to different communities. 

“I cannot tell you how important it is for Latinos across New York not to be sprinkled as tokens across the Democratic Party when they feel like it. It is important for us to understand we are being heard and to have a seat at the table,” Reyna said in a recent interview with Capital Tonight

She warned that certain groups of voters should not be taken for granted, or viewed as homogenous. 

"When you're not speaking with us, you can't make decisions if you're not listening to us,” Reyna said.

Suozzi and Reyna are both dedicated to making sure that the campaign is free of pandering, and that it is about moving the state forward for all residents. 

Reyna, whose spouse is an officer in the NYPD, also mentioned public safety issues. New York has been overwhelmed by a surge in violent crime, particularly hate crimes against women, and Asian-Americans. 

“It’s a troubling time when we have to be challenged to now restore trust in law enforcement. That requires both parties, the public and our law enforcement partners, to come to the table and have real dialogue so we can be partners in this effort fighting crime,” Reyna told Capital Tonight

Ana María Archila

Another prominent Latina running for the seat is activist Ana María Archila, founder of the immigrant rights organization Make the Road New York. 

Archila is carrying the activist spirit into her campaign, running on issues such as child care and housing costs, and addressing the rent and eviction crisis. 

“Housing is very, very hard to pay for. If you’re a renter, you’re constantly facing the danger of eviction, so we need good cause protections. Child care is an issue that cuts across economic lines,” Archila told Capital Tonight. 

Archila, a Colombian activist from Queens, gained national attention in 2018 for boldly confronting Sen. Jeff Flake in a Capitol elevator in protest of Brett Kavanaugh’s appointment to the Supreme Court. 

She has spent recent years working at the Center for Popular Democracy, a group that develops progressive organizing efforts, and has been involved with issues ranging from Starbucks unionization to campaign finance reform.

Archila told POLITICO that she wants all New Yorkers to have affordable housing, great healthcare and access to good education. 

“I’m running to make sure that immigrant, Black, and brown workers whose labor has carried us through the pandemic are met not just with nice words, but with policies that honor their sacrifice,” she said. 

In late February, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams named Archila as his pick for Lieutenant Governor in his bid for governor. 

Archila came to the U.S. from Colombia at 17, and spent her career fighting for immigrants’ rights and worker protections. During her announcement, she said she wants to be lieutenant governor because New York welcomed her as a young immigrant and its thriving LGBTQ+ community has welcomed her.  

“New York should also be the place where everyone, no matter who you are or where you’re from, can live with dignity. And right now, our state is falling short of that promise,” Archila said. 

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