Melanie D’Arrigo is a health care advocate from L.I. who briefly lived in Long Island City and she is running a progressive grassroots campaign to unseat incumbent politician U.S Rep. Thomas Suozzi (D-L.I., Little Neck) from New York’s 3rd District.
D’Arrigo resided in Queens for eight years but has since moved back to L.I., and lives in Port Washington, which is one of the 17 neighborhoods that Suozzi has represented for over three years, and she has been unimpressed by his leadership.
“The reason I’m running is that I think it is critical to have representatives who aren’t afraid to speak up, to call out what is wrong and to fight for what is right,” said D’Arrigo. “I don’t think we currently have a representative that is doing that.”
D’Arrigo is a mom of three children and is concerned about their future in the coastal town.
“I can’t stand by when a school gets shot up, I can no longer stand by when we are not doing anything to address the climate crisis,” said the parent. “It breaks my heart to see 20-year-olds and senior citizens launching GoFundMes to pay for their health care.”
As a health care advocate, D’Arrigo is privy to the way that insurance systems work and wants to fix the system to benefit patients.
“I have worked with a variety of communities and different populations as it pertains to reducing health risks,” said D’Arrigo. “I have worked in close association with health insurance companies in order to help people learn the best way to utilize their plans and that has given me a very in-depth understanding of how it works. It is almost like another language, but that experience will help me to teach and advocate for the people in my district.”
D’Arrigo understands that Washington D.C. is difficult to navigate, but she intends on doing her best to fight for her district’s needs.
“What I particularly hear a lot about is that people can’t afford health care, people are concerned about climate change and that people are worried about taxes and affordability,” said D’Arrigo. “Property taxes are very high, the cost of living is very high and housing is very difficult. The people can’t afford to live here or their children can’t afford to live here.”
The National Association of Home Builders released property tax information from 2017 this summer that depicted which districts were paying the most. New York’s 3rd Congressional District, which represents Little Neck, Whitestone, Glen Oaks, Floral Parks and parts of L.I., was number two and taxpayers were paying approximately $11,265 in taxes annually.
The L.I. native is a supporter of Medicare for all, which would provide universal health care for all citizens without out-of-pocket expenses, she supports the Green New Deal, she wants to close the loopholes in gun shows and wants the Hyde Amendment to be repealed.
“The Hyde Amendment prevents federal funding from going towards abortions,” said D’Arrigo. “People of low income can’t afford abortions, people-of-color, young people and even veterans can’t access abortions. Suozzi has called the Hyde Amendment ‘settled law’ and I think we need a real women’s rights supporter in office, but it is certainly not my opponent.”
D’Arrigo has endorsements from Muslims For Progress, Our Progressive Future, which supports young progressives who want to run for office and the National Organization for Women.
“Melanie D’Arrigo doesn’t only support our issues, but she will lead on them. We’re proud to support her bold vision to repeal the Hyde Amendment, confront gun violence, and put her healthcare expertise to work for Long Island’s women and families,” said Sonia Ossorio, president of NOW New York.
D’Arrigo also supports DACA and the Temporary Protected Status for immigrants and wants them to have a pathway to citizenship.
“We need to reform our immigration system, to stop locking kids in cages and to stop funding the expansion of our detention centers and stop funding ICE,” said D’Arrigo. “I went to the border and had an opportunity to volunteer down there. Immigrants were simply fleeing their homes because of violence, food shortages and these people are down on their luck simply due to the country they were born. It broke my heart to see what the border was like.”
D’Arrigo will not accept corporate funding as a candidate and has even announced the PAID BY Act (Politician Accountability Information Disclosures Benefiting You), which if enacted would publicly disclose where politicians get corporate PAC donations.
While looking at Suozzi’s campaign funds, D’Arrigo was able to learn that her opponent received most of his contributions from real estate, insurance companies, securities & investments and law firms.
“I think it is very important for the public to see who is paying these politicians,” said D’Arrigo. “When corporations donate to politicians they are not doing it from the kindness of their heart, they are expecting a return on investment.”