More than two months after Maritza Davila claimed the New York Assembly seat in the 53rd District, she kicked off her victory with a few humbling and humorous words.
“In politics, you don’t really have any enemies. But you don’t really have any friends either.”
It’s a droll but often true account of the isolating world politics can become, especially for newcomers. But it certainly wasn’t the case for Davila at her victory party last Friday in Ridgewood, where the Romanian Community Center was brimming wall-to-wall with friends, family and political supporters, in a violet-soaked splendor of solidarity. The heavy beat of today’s Top 40’s pulsed beneath the jubilant chatter.
And as Davila made her grand entrance, the crowd went wild, the hollers nearly drowned out by the ceaseless flashing of camera bulbs. She could barely walk two feet without stopping to embrace her well-wishers. It was easy to see that Davila, a longtime community organizer and friendly face, had become a true hero.
“I’m still a little shell-shocked,” Davila said. “It’s amazing that people want this. It makes me feel extremely good.”
The protégé of former Assemblyman Vito Lopez made it a point to invite the entire community; supporters and opponents alike. Her inclusive, non-partisan attitude is how she says she has always seen the community and how she envisions it to be once she’s in Albany — her invitation across political factions her attempt to unify her community to face the inevitable municipal challenges to come as New York City moves forward with a new administration.
“It’s better to have more understanding of each other and what services we have to provide to the entire community,” she said. “This is a community event. This is a community victory.”
As Davila prepares for her role as Assemblywoman, she’s defined her many priorities — among the dearest being the continuance of the area’s affordable housing and the need for revamped education.
“This is a fresh new start for our community. That’s where we’re headed, to a new start,” she said. “And we’re going to go relentlessly. We’re going to try to do the best that we can to deliver the services our people deserve.”