Nomiki Konst

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Nomiki Konst


Nokimi Konst (born January 27, 1984) is an American political activist, founder of the non-profit group Alliance Hollywood, host of The Filter with Nomiki Konst on SiriusXM Progress and an investigative reporter for The Young Turks. She is also a former Democratic candidate for United States Congress in the 2012 congressional electionas well as a former Democratic National Committee member until 2016.

Public Advocate/DSA

In 2018 Nomiki Konst announced she was running for New York Public Advocate.

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Nomiki Konst has been engaged in politics since age 16, getting her start backing Hillary Clinton’s Senate campaign in New York. She went on to serve as a national co-chair on Barack Obama’s presidential re-election campaign, and later, acted as a surrogate for “Draft Biden” — the effort to recruit the former vice president to run as an alternative to presumed frontrunner Clinton in 2015.

More recently, Konst has established a reputation as a forceful voice pushing now-popular progressive policies like “Medicare for All” and free college, as well as wonkier, but also important, issues relating to party politics. She gained a national profile as a Bernie Sanders surrogate during the 2016 campaign, and then as his representative on the Democratic National Committee’s Unity Reform Commission. A well-known New York activist, she has been a vocal opponent of the Independent Democratic Conference — a group of Democratic state senators who caucused with Republicans to provide them a constructive majority in what could have been a Democratic legislature.

Many, including Konst, anticipate that the race will be crowded. Likely candidates include several current and former city council members, such as Melissa Mark-Viverito and Christine Quinn, who lost the 2013 mayoral bid to Bill de Blasio. New York State Assemblyman and DNC Vice Chair Michael Blake and Kirsten John Foy, a staffer to then-Public Advocate de Blasio, are also speculated to run.

New York City’s public advocate has no voting power, but can attend meetings and introduce legislation. The position’s profile grew after de Blasio, the city’s third-ever public advocate, used the post as a launching pad for a successful mayoral run. That’s the same trail nearly blazed by the city’s first public advocate, Mark Green, who would likely have become mayor if not for the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, which threw the election into chaos, resulting in a narrow win by Michael Bloomberg.

“I’m not beholden to any political machine. I’m not beholden to any special interest group. And as of right now, I think that does make me very unique.”

But Konst rejects the notion that the job is a launching pad for higher office. In fact, she sees herself as uniquely suited to the job because, like herself, it exists somewhat outside of politics. “Unfortunately if you’re an elected official in New York, because of the circumstances, it’s almost like you take part in that system. They do control your ballot line, they can run people against you, endorsements …” she trailed off. “But I’m not beholden to any political machine. I’m not beholden to any special interest group. And as of right now, I think that does make me very unique.” The public advocate is there as a “check on the system,” said Konst, “and by definition, someone who is a check on the system should not be part of the system.” Konst pointed out that Green was a consumer advocate — he worked with Ralph Nader from 1970 to 1980 at Public Citizen’s Congress Watch. “The role of the public advocate was designed to keep the issues of the public on the forefront” — all the time, not just during an election year, said Konst.

“I have a history of investigating corruption and calling out these machines and these special interest groups,” Konst told The Intercept, “and I have a platform that I think aligns with the core leftist politics that most New Yorkers believe in. And to have a vehicle to express that is exactly what the public advocate should be.”

New York City is the largest city in America with a progressive voter base, and as a result, Konst thinks New York leadership should do more than push for “Medicare for All” and free college — ideas which have gotten widespread national support. It also should be covering new ground. “Not only do we have to fix those subways,” said Konst by way of example, “we have to make them free.” To Konst, the subways are a criminal justice issue and a working people issue. People’s jobs depend on it, she said.

Konst went on to argue that a $15 minimum wage is a good start, but in New York, where income inequality is the highest in the country, it should be double that. “Fifteen dollars an hour over time is a path to poverty in New York City,” said Konst. “That works I think in other cities, but in New York City, you cannot survive on $15 an hour with a family. You can barely, honestly, survive with a family on $30 an hour. I’m going to call for a $30 minimum wage by the end of 2020, so that we change that debate and we normalize it.”

New York's Democratic socialist organizing network has proven it can get results, but it’s unlikely that Konst will be the only progressive in the race. Democratic City Council Member Jumaane D. Williams, who narrowly lost the lieutenant governor race earlier this month, has been cited as a likely frontrunner. He told The Intercept he’s still weighing his options. “It would be an honor to have folks even consider me in the mix,” he said. “I’m seriously considering it, but I haven’t made a decision of what I’m going to do. I’m planning to do that in the coming days.”

Konst sees her experiences, including as a reporter on the ground covering movement issues and investigating root causes of corruption, as more diversified and valuable to the role of public advocate. “He’s definitely popular right now, and that is wonderful and that is so good for our movement, but I will say this is a year when democratic socialism has an opportunity to present ideas that have really been dismissed for a long time, but are becoming tremendously popular and to have somebody who’s committed to those issues and has shown commitment, and has been involved with the Democratic Socialists of America — the DSA — for a long time is, I think, really important.”

This isn’t the first time Konst has run for office. In 2012, she made an attempt at Rep. Gabrielle Gifford’s vacated seat in Tucson, Arizona, where Konst lived during part of her youth not spent in western New York. “That was a great lesson in how much you can depend on political institutions. I learned a lot out of that race. I learned a lot about campaign finance. I learned a lot about the Democratic Party.” Konst said she also learned a lesson in insider politics. “When I talked about economic issues, I didn’t realize that was off limits for the political establishment. And so I was pushed out of the race.” But, she said, “the stakes are too high here” to back away from those concerns.

“This is New York City. A progressive city. There are matching funds. We have a great progressive history here. And I think that the moment that we’re in is a moment when these issues should be at the forefront,” she told The Intercept. “I am going to push the narrative to make sure that these issues are at the forefront, despite what any political institution or groups want me to do. I think it is of the utmost importance that we change the narrative in New York City politics.”[1]

Unity Reform Commission

In 2017 the Democratic National Committee's 21-member Unity Reform Commission included nine members selected by Hillary Clinton, seven members picked by Bernie Sanders, three picked by Thomas Perez, and the chair and vice chair ― selected by Clinton and Sanders, respectively.

Aside from Chair Jen O’Malley Dillon, a Clinton pick, the breakdown of the members selected by Perez and Clinton is not public.

Sanders named his selections to the commission. They were Larry Cohen, the vice chair; former Ohio state Sen. Nina Turner; former Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver; former Sanders New York delegate Nomiki Konst; James Zogby, founder of the Arab American Institute; former Berkeley, California Mayor Gus Newport; former Nevada Assemblywoman Lucy Flores; and Nebraska Democratic Party Chair Jane Kleeb.

The DNC declined to name the three members Perez picked and a spokesman for Clinton did not respond to a request for information on her appointments.[2]

DSA Convention

Mavery Davis, Nomiki Konst, Zaid Jilani

Nomiki Konst covered the Democratic Socialists of America national Convention in Chicago, August 2017.

Women's convention

Women’s March announced that U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) will open the Women’s Convention’s Friday evening program, which will take place in Detroit from Friday, October 27 to Sunday, October 29 2017.

Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-MI), Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Wendy Carrillo, and [Erica Ford] will also join the roster of over 60 women speakers, femmes, and allies of all backgrounds who will join thousands for a weekend of workshops, strategy sessions, inspiring forums and intersectional movement building. The theme of the Convention, “Reclaiming Our Time,” will honor U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), who will be headlining the Convention on Saturday evening.

“It was amazing to be part of the Women’s Marches and witness democracy in action...I fully expect to see that same turnout, passion and energy here in Detroit, and I look forward to speaking with women leaders from across the country,” said Senator Debbie Stabenow.

The growing list of speakers include: Angela Rye, Amber Tamblyn, Symone Sanders, Piper Perabo, Sally Kohn, Nomiki Konst, Leah Greenberg, Lilliana Reyes, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Rebecca Cokley, Nina Turner, Stephanie Schriock, Ai-jen Poo, Aida Hurtado, Lenore Anderson, Stephanie Chang, Raquel Castaneda Lopez, Melissa Mark-Viverito, Sarah Eagle Heart, Rashida Tlaib, Brittany Packnett, Winnie Wong, Stosh Cotler, and the Women’s March co-chairs Bob Bland, Carmen Perez, Linda Sarsour and Tamika Mallory.[3]

Endorsing Cynthia Nixon and Jumaane Williams

The Case for Endorsing Cynthia Nixon and Jumaane Williams (And How To Do It Strategically) was a letter Drafted by: Danya Lagos (CBK/Labor), and circulated among New York Democratic Socialists of America members in July 2018.[1]

CoSigners, as of July 23 2018 were: Nomiki Konst.

Pro YDSA

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Growing influence

Spurred by the election of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to Congress and Julia Salazar to the state Senate, the Democratic Socialists of America has become a potent political force to be reckoned with in New York City politics.

The far-left group was once seen as part of a fringe movement. But at least eight candidates for public advocate — considered a stepping stone to the mayoralty — have filled out the DSA’s 42-question questionnaire in a bid to win its endorsement in the special election to replace incoming state Attorney General-elect Letitia James, who currently holds the post.

In a special, nonpartisan election that will take place in the middle of winter and could include as many as a dozen candidates, a bloc of votes from committed Democratic socialists could determine the winner.

Among the candidates cozying up to the DSA are Brooklyn Councilmembers Jumaane D. Williams and Rafael Espinal, Assemblyman Daniel O’Donnell of Manhattan’s West Side and liberal activist and DSA member Nomiki Konst.

The candidates’ answers show they back nearly the entirety of the DSA’s leftist agenda, including: giving noncitizens the right to vote in municipal elections; supporting illegal strikes by government workers; allowing public funding for pro-Palestinian groups that support the boycott, divestment and sanctions [BDS] movement against Israel; a pledge to refuse campaign contributions from the real-estate industry; endorsing government-controlled “universal” rent control and health care; lessening criminal sentences for violent criminals; protecting sex workers; and providing free CUNY tuition for all.[4]

'DNC bird caucus'

Our Revolution - Illinois August 25, 2018:

Via Nomiki Konst: "The Our Revolution and 'DNC bird caucus' celebrating a great win for the slate of DNC reforms!!!"

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https://twitter.com/NomikiKonst/status/1033442811041984514?s=19 — with Nomiki Konst, Curtis Wylde, Ahmed Khan, Shana East, Yasmine Taeb, Maggie Wunderly, Elizabeth Lindquist, Alison Silagi Squires, Caesar Vargas, Yesenia Mata, Rebecca Abraham, Clem Balanoff, Martese Chism and Nasr Jahangir.

Muslim "ban" protest

Doug McLean January 28, 2017 ·

Trump's "Muslim Ban" temporarily blocked by courts! #ResistanceIsFertile #WhenWeAreScrewedWeMultiply "To our Muslim neighbors in the world: I & tens of millions of others are so very sorry. The majority of Americans did not vote 4 this man." ~ Michael Moore

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  1. NotThisTime #NoWallNoBan Love Makes A Way The Welcome Dinner Project End #TrumpocalypseN... See More — with Teena Pugliese, Paul Busch, Kelley Keefner, Frances Fisher, Branden Barber, Samaha John, Sarah Pipes, Josh Fox, Nomiki Konst, Tim Canova, Ed Higgins, Jonathan Klett, Lori Woodley, Chelsea Lyons, Paul Lee Padgett, Michael Sullivan, Ann Kleinhenz, Johnny Linehan, Ann Leonard, Andrea Bowers, Gina Figueroa, Nathalie Babou, Mary Ellen Persuit, Jane Ciepiela, Malia Hulleman, Andrew Kimmel, Kyle Cadotte, Lee Ziesche, Peter Dowson, Tanner Woodley, YahNe Ndgo, Shawnee Badger, John Quigley and Kelly Breaux at JFK Avianca Terminal 4.

"Night of progressive vision"

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Nomiki Konst is with Josh Fox. December 1 2018 at 11:08 AM:

A wonderful night of progressive vision for the planet with John Cusack, Rose Ann DeMoro, Dr. Jeffrey Sachs, Yanis Varoufakis, Ben Jealous and Josh Fox. I could not imagine a better team or allies in this movement. And of course, friends and supportersFile:Gonads.JPG

Supporting Gounardes

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PSL sign

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Nomiki Konst carrying Party for Socialism and Liberation sign.

References