Sam Gurwitt | New Haven Independent | July 14, 2020
Weeks before a Democratic primary, State Senate candidate Justin Farmer cleared a hurdle with the approval of a state public-financing grant for his campaign, and got a boost from another endorsement.
Farmer (above, at left), a member of Hamden’s Legislative Council and a mainstay in Hamden and New Haven social-justice-related movements, is running for Connecticut’s 17th Senate District against party-endorsed candidate Jorge Cabrera (at right). He and Cabrera, a union representative for United Food and Commercial Workers’ (UFCW) Local 919, will face off in the Aug. 11 Democratic primary. The winner will face Republican incumbent Sen George Logan in the Nov. 3 general election.
Late last week, Farmer announced that he had been approved for a $42,500 grant from the citizens’ election program (CEP), a state program that provides campaign funding for local political candidates. In order to qualify, he raised about $20,100 from more than 750 different donors. Though the grant was not approved until last week, his campaign said he qualified for it on June 10.
Earlier in the week, Farmer added another name to his list of endorsements: Sunrise New Haven and Sunrise Connecticut. Both Sunrise organizations are local hubs of the Sunrise Movement, a national youth-led movement that aims to build momentum behind climate change activism. Racial and economic justice are also key features of the movement, which supports a Green New Deal.
Farmer and Cabrera are vying to represent a district that encompasses parts of Hamden, Woodbridge, and Naugatuck, and all of Bethany, Beacon Falls, Derby, and Ansonia. Both candidates live in Hamden.
Cabrera won a three-way primary in 2018 in the district, then lost in the general election to incumbent Logan by just 77 votes. Whoever wins the primary in the district, the general election may again be one of the most heavily watched senate races in the state.
In a press release sent out last week, Sunrise New Haven announced that it had voted 93.5 percent in favor of endorsing Farmer, with 30 of about 50 members voting. On Monday, Sunrise Connecticut also endorsed Farmer, said Campaign Manager Brad Macdowall.
“Like us, Justin Farmer is deeply committed to ensuring environmental, racial, economic, and social justice for all,” the release said. Since the beginning of his campaign, Farmer has made the environment a pillar of his campaign, often discussing how environmental degradation will disproportionately harm the victims of racial and economic inequity. He has been a vocal supporter of a Green New Deal.
Farmer understands that “the fight to end climate change goes hand-in-hand with the fights for racial, economic, gender, and disability equity,” Sunrise’s release said.
The release also highlighted Farmer’s experience as an activist and organizer, as well as his “bold political agenda.” Specifically, it cited his homes guarantee, his calls for investment in community care and education rather than in police, and his calls for better public transit. Read his full platform here.
The sunrise endorsement adds another name to a growing list of endorsements from mostly youth-led (or youth-oriented), progressive organizations. Farmer recently got the endorsement of Run for Something, a national organization that supports young progressive candidates. He also has endorsements from the Central Connecticut Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), Yale DSA, Yale Endowment Justice Coalition, and the Southern Connecticut State University DSA.