Q&A with Jackie Gordon: “The gridlock in Washington summoned me to be the change I wanted to see. I had no choice but to step up and run for Congress.”

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OTS: Tell us about yourself. Why did you decide to get off the sidelines and run for office?

JG: I have spent my entire life serving others; as a combat veteran, an educator and a local elected official. I’ve always worked hard, done more and gone the extra mile for my community. The gridlock in Washington summoned me to be the change I wanted to see. I had no choice but to step up and run for Congress.

OTS: Tell us about where you’re running/what your state/district is like?

JG: I’m running in NY-02. It straddles Nassau and Suffolk County and hugs the south shore of Long Island, running from Levittown to a portion of Patchogue with a piece of Fire Island. This is a toss-up district, which both Trump and Obama have won.

OTS: Whose support or encouragement are you most grateful for?

JG: I am most grateful for Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin’s support and encouragement as an individual. It has been constant and invaluable. As an organization, I’m overwhelmed by EMILY’s List’s support. Their early endorsement has been a game changer for my campaign.

OTS: What one piece of advice would you give your younger self?

JG: I would advise myself to quickly assess the parameters of my authority when stepping into a new position and then to not be afraid to exercise that authority.

OTS: What issue do you believe deserves more attention on the campaign trail?

JG: Campaign finance reform. Campaigns should really be about figuring out what concerns your constituents most, not making phone calls to ask for money.

OTS: What’s an interesting book/article you’re reading now or you’ve recently finished? And why?

JG: The most interesting podcast I’ve listened to recently is 1619. I found the direct links from the mortgaging of slaves to our current mortgage system quite compelling.

OTS: What’s a fun fact that people might not know about you?

JG: Between the ages of 15 and 20 I performed pantomime with an off-off-off Broadway theater group.

OTS: If you could have dinner with three people (living or deceased) who would they be and why?

JG: Nanny of the Maroons — As a Jamaican immigrant, I would ask her what gave her the intestinal fortitude to continue to fight for her people.

President and Mrs. Obama — I would love to hear their real reaction to today’s political events.

Kalief Browder — How could we have changed the outcome of your story?

OTS: How do you de-stress/unwind?

JG: I practice yoga and breathing.

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