Kristen Gonzalez is a tech worker, community organizer, and born-and-raised New Yorker, running for State Senate to win a dignified life for all New Yorkers. On August 23rd she won the Democratic primary with 58% of the vote to become the Democratic Nominee for State Senate District 59.
Kristen was raised in a one-bedroom apartment in Elmhurst, Queens by a single mom from Puerto Rico. After her father from Colombia passed away, Kristen watched her mother struggle to give her a shot at a better life. Like many families in this city, her mom worked multiple jobs to keep them afloat until finally landing a good, union job in New York City’s public schools as a special education paraprofessional.
Kristen’s mother emphasized education as the path to a better life and secured her a scholarship to Dalton, a prep school on the Upper East Side, after seeing that the local public school was underfunded and overcrowded. For years, Kristen commuted between the New York that she knew, which was immigrant and working class, and a New York where she saw the rich and well-connected have every opportunity and resource available.
This is what set Kristen on a path to public service: her belief that all New Yorkers deserve a path to a better future, that families shouldn’t have to struggle the way hers did, and that we shouldn’t have to travel to get a better education.
That’s why from a young age, she started fighting for a New York that works for all of us. Kristen organized at her high school, at Columbia as a first-generation, low-income student, and on the Young Women’s Advisory Council for New York City Council writing policy recommendations. When she got the opportunity to work at the Obama White House and in Senator Schumer’s office in D.C., she dropped out of college and moved for the opportunity to represent her community.
The experience of working in DC taught Kristen that the system is rigged — that our politicians are bought out by special interests, and that they don’t represent us. To win a better New York, we need an organized movement of people and leaders with real, on-the-ground organizing experience fighting for us. After returning from D.C., Kristen finished her degree, started working in tech as a product manager, and started organizing in the communities that she grew up in.
Since then, Kristen served on her local community board, launched a citywide campaign for public internet, fought for campaigns to lower our rents, tackled the climate crisis by taking on a fracked gas power plant in Astoria, and started mutual aid networks in the pandemic.
In Albany, she’ll continue fighting alongside tenants in StuyTown, organizers in Greenpoint, educators in Astoria, and working-class people across our three boroughs. A better future is possible — one worth fighting for. And it’s going to take all of us to get there.