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New York state senate candidate Julia Salazar’s claims are disputed by her family

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New York State Senate candidate Julia Salazar
New York State Senate
candidate Julia Salazar

Screenshot/NYC
DSA


  • New York state senate candidate Julia Salazar is under
    fire after her mother and brother disputed her accounts of
    being raised in a working-class, immigrant
    family. 
  • While Salazar has said she was brought to the US as
    baby from Colombia, her family says she never lived in
    Colombia, and that she has exaggerated her stories of
    socio-economic hardship. 
  • The 27-year-old Democratic socialist has attracted a
    series of positive media profiles after progressive insurgent
    Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — and other top state Democrats —
    endorsed her. 

New York state senate candidate Julia Salazar, an insurgent
progressive endorsed by fellow Democratic socialist
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
, is under fire after her mother and
brother disputed her accounts of being raised in a working-class,
immigrant family. 

Salazar, 27, has provided confusing and sometimes contradictory
descriptions of her background, including that she was partially
raised in Colombia by a single mother who at times struggled to
make ends meet — a story her brother, Alex, and mother,
Christine, rebutted
in a recent City & State story

“My family immigrated to the US from Colombia when I was a baby,
and my mom ended up raising my brother and me as a single mom,
without a college degree, and from a working-class background,”
Salazar
told Jacobin
last month.

Salazar later said that she was raised between
Florida and Colombia
 and spent “the first years” of her
life in the South American country. 

But Alex, who is two years older than Salazar, says the two were
raised entirely in Florida and that the family made just a
handful of trips back to the South American country to visit
family. He also disputed her claims that the family struggled
financially. 

“We were very much middle class. We had a house in Jupiter along
the river, it was in a beautiful neighborhood,” Alex Salazar told
City & State. “I feel very strongly about my family and I
want to tell the truth.”

Alex provided a photo of the large Florida home he says the
family lived in until their parents divorced in 1998. 

While Salazar’s father was born and raised in Colombia, he became
a naturalized US citizen in 1984, several years before his
daughter was born. Christine was born and raised in the US and
told City & State that she never lived in Colombia.

Christine also told City & State that there was never a time
when her children worked in order to help their mother “make ends
meet,” as Salazar claims on her campaign website.

“My kids always worked, from the time they were 14. I encouraged
that because I thought there was a lot of value in that in terms
of learning and responsibility so that was the purpose behind
them having part-time jobs … not the light bill,” Christine told
the outlet. 

Salazar has also claimed that she was raised “by a single mom
without a college degree,” but Florida Atlantic University told
City & State that Salazar’s mother received a bachelor’s
degree in psychology from the school in 1999, when Salazar was in
elementary school.

Some progressives — and conservative critics — have also called
attention to Salazar’s past as a Zionist, anti-abortion
conservative who
reportedly falsely identified herself
as a Jew while a
student at Columbia University. 

Salazar is running as a more progressive alternative to state
Sen. Martin Dilan in her Brooklyn district and has attracted a

series
of
positive
media profiles and seen a dramatic spike in
donations and volunteers since Ocasio-Cortez’s primary victory in
June. And she’s been endorsed by a slew of top progressives in
the state, including gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon,
attorney general candidate Zephyr Teachout, and Brooklyn
congresswoman Nydia Velazquez.

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