Statements from chapter members in favor and against ER1: Endorse Saqib Ali for Maryland House of Delegates, District 15 will be posted in this thread.
Statements will be accepted as they are received, until the deadline of 8:00 pm ET on Sunday, December 12, 2021.
Statement from Richard R - IN FAVOR - regarding ER1: Endorse Saqib Ali
Saqib Ali is an active member of the MoCo Branch. He previously won election to the Maryland House in 2006 (from District 39). Last year he began his campaign for Delegate from District 15. One of the incumbents recently resigned to serve as a judge, so there will only be two incumbents running for the three positions in District 15.
I had the pleasure of attending his fundraiser last month with about 60 other supporters. He expressed his priorities as (1) saving the planet from the climate crisis through supporting the Green New Deal; (2) opposing racism in all its forms, giving the example of seeking minimum wages for prisoner labor; and (3) transparency, such as requiring votes for appointments, such as State Treasurer when the vacancy occurs, to be on the record and available to voters. He also spoke about LGBTQI equality. No all of his supporters agreed with all these issues, but Saqib effectively expressed how each is a part of caring for all the constituents he would represent.
Saqib is known for being the first Muslim elected to the the Maryland legislature. He supports BDS, and sued Governor Hogan for requiring Maryland contractors to sign an anti-BDS pledge. Saqib has shown that he can win election. He is in a unique position to rally support for our causes in a minority community. He is worthy of the support that would come from our Chapter’s endorsement.
Statement from Leah R - IN FAVOR - regarding ER1: Endorse Saqib Ali
I am supporting Saqib Ali for the Maryland State Legislature, as I strongly believe that he will work to grow our movement and spread our ideas. In order to achieve our goals, we need to elect candidates that are DSA members into office, and Saqib would do a fantastic job in this role.
Statement from Nicole Z - AGAINST - regarding ER1: Endorse Saqib Ali
I appreciate Saqib’s interest in a DSA endorsement. I genuinely think that he is a strong progressive and a viable candidate for office, who deserves our consideration as a full body. I have talked to, texted and met with Saqib several times over the past few months and I would like to raise a few red flags that I have come up over while discussing Saqib’s endorsements with DSA members.
- Saqib has bad relationships with some local Palestine/BDS organizers, despite BDS being one of his top issues. Organizers have said that he has used their events to promote his own campaign.
- DSA members told me that Saqib has a habit of getting into fights with them on social media and making inappropriate comments. I am concerned that we would see a situation where DSA members are arguing with a DSA elected official, which I don’t think is a productive use of anyone’s time.
- Saqib accused other candidates of copying his answers to our endorsement questionnaire. I am not aware of a basis for this accusation and I think it shows a lack of humility.
Separate from all of this, D15 is not a strong district for us in terms of accessibility for canvassing and DSA member density.
Chair, Montgomery County Branch
Statement from Zach W - NEUTRAL - regarding ER1: Endorse Saqib Ali
I am making this statement to the General Body to clarify that I am neutral on the endorsement of Saqib Ali though I did agree to add my name to his initial submission. I have recently had a death in the family and do not feel capable of fully weighing the question of whether or not Mr. Ali should be endorsed. However, Mr. Ali did represent to me in personal communication that he believes workers should own their firms; in my view, this is a form of democratic socialism, so I felt that I could reasonably give the General Body the opportunity to evaluate Mr. Ali for endorsement.
I will say that Mr. Ali has both pros and cons. He is one of the fiercest advocates I have ever encountered for Palestinian rights; his willingness to sue the Governor of the State of Maryland to fight against attempts to ban BDS boycotts speaks to this. He also has a progressive record as a former Maryland State Delegate. His primary con is that he needs to stop making deliberately contrarian or argumentative social media posts that risk alienating potential allies and constituents. I am also aware, without specifics, of general complaints of interpersonal conflicts between Mr. Ali and other progressive leaders in Montgomery County.
Statement from Stu K - Against - regarding ER1: Endorse Saqib Ali
I’m against this endorsement. I hope Saqib wins, but I’m not sure if this race will be close enough for our chapter to make a substantial difference one way or the other. When I’m out knocking on doors or staying up late to put in research on a campaign, I need to know that my door knocks or those hours put in poring over campaign finance records will make a difference. Also, I agree with the PEC’s recommendation in that our chapter does not have the capacity to split between more than four endorsed races. Again, I want Saqib to win this race, and if I lived in the district I would vote for him, but I just don’t think the race is a strategic use of our chapter’s resources (e.g. volunteer time, fundraising dollars, etc).