May 1, 2019 By Laura Hanrahan
Long-serving Assembly Member Catherine Nolan will face her first Democratic primary challenge in more than a decade if she runs for office again next year.
Mary Jobaida, a Bangladeshi-American and progressive Democrat, threw her hat in the ring earlier this week, hoping to represent District 37, which covers Sunnyside, Long Island City, Ridgewood and parts of Astoria.
Nolan, who has served as the district’s assembly member for 35 years, has not faced a democratic primary opponent in more than 10 years, and often runs unopposed in the general election.
“As a mother of three who has been raising a family in this district for over 15 years, not once have I seen a true, democratic process when I’ve gone to vote for a state assembly member from my party,” Jobaida said. “For all that our country does to serve as a beacon of democracy around the world, having only one name to choose from on a local ballot is not what true democracy looks like.”
Nolan has yet to officially announce her bid for reelection next year, and did not respond to requests for comment.
Nolan was appointed as Deputy Speaker late last year, and previously served as Chair of the Assembly Education Committee, leading efforts to reduce class sizes and improve high school graduation rates. She was recently an ardent supporter of the proposed Amazon HQ2 office coming to Long Island City.
Jobaida, a Long Island City resident, currently works as an outreach specialist for Urban Health Plan, Inc., a Bronx-based medical practice. She graduated in 2012 from NYU with a major in Media and Communications, after first attending LaGuardia Community College for three semesters.
Jobaida, if elected, plans to fight for universal healthcare, public financing for state elections, eliminating partisan gerrymandering, and combating the heavy influence of the real estate and fossil fuel industries.
In a move that would directly affect politicians like Nolan, Jobaida is also advocating for term limits for state assembly members.
“If I win, I will push to place term limits on my very own tenure, because no one should hold a single seat in office for more than a decade,” Jobaida said.
Also part of her platform is addressing the city’s increasing wealth gap and homeless population.
While running her campaign, Jobaida said she pledges to refuse or return all donations from real estate developers, corporate PACs and lobbyists.
The primary is scheduled to take place in June 2020.