A major new assignment for New Jersey Working Family’s Executive Director Analilia Mejia. She’s to become political director for the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign. She joins Senior Correspondent Brenda Flanagan to speak about her new role.
Flanagan: You were a Bernie delegate back in 2016. Is this your dream gig?
Mejia: I am very excited. This is most certainly a dream gig. The ability to push an agenda that we’ve succeeded in promoting in New Jersey at the national level is just incredible.
Flanagan: What’s this is mean for you?
Mejia: I think that for myself, for working families, for activists across the state and in the nation, it’s validation that activism and getting engaged at the grassroots level is as powerful and impactful.
Flanagan: Well you’re a big grassroots person. I mean you’ve been with New Jersey Working Families Alliance, you’re a force of nature. I’ve seen you out there in the State House and you’ve worked for earned sick days, the fight for 15, you got one of the pens when Gov. Murphy signed the bill into law. What’s this going to mean, losing you out there in Jersey, what’s this mean now for the progressive agenda? You’re not going to be there.
Mejia: I mean this is a movement, right, so there are dozens of organizations that have been created, or have been very active, both before Working Families was established 10 years ago and I’m certain are going to stay active many years from now. I think the amazing thing about New Jersey is that we have a vibrant, engaged electorate. Many organizations are very active and thriving across the state, and I am certain that the movement is going to flourish and take even deeper hold.
Flanagan: You’re a Jersey girl and you were tight with Cory Booker, who is another progressive candidate for president now. So what’s the comfort level now campaigning against Cory?
Mejia: I will say I actually lived in Newark when Sen. Booker was mayor. There have been many positions that I haven’t been in agreement with the senator, so I think it kind of will continue. For me, public education is a huge, huge issue. I am very concerned, or what I look at, I’ve always looked at, are who are going to be progressive on access, on education, on making sure that everyone has an opportunity. And so there are some touch points with Sen. Booker, there are some deviations, but I’m really excited to get to work for Sen. Sanders.
Flanagan: I’ve seen you at news conferences and rallies when you were carrying your youngest in a sling. What is this going to mean now for your family — is it just a sexist question — that you’re moving on to a national job.
Mejia: When I had conversations about this role, I shared that I have a young family, that I have young children. In fact, my oldest son who’s seven really motivates me to be engaged. He was frankly very upset the day after our current president was elected. He was routing first for Bernie, and then for Hillary. The campaign understands that I have a young family. Working mothers are part of the fabric of America and they understand I’m going to have some flexibility to commute. And my sons are excited about the prospect of being part of history.