Less than a year after losing the Democratic primary and over a year before the 2022 primary, Melanie D’Arrigo has launched her second campaign for the party nomination in the 3rd Congressional District.
The Port Washington progressive activist announced in a statement Tuesday morning that in 12 hours, her campaign had raised $50,000, nearly half of the $120,000 that she had raised in her 2020 campaign for the seat. As she did last year, D’Arrigo said in a phone interview, she would not accept money for her campaign from corporate donors.
“We have an opportunity to create a country that we’re proud of, a country that takes care of its citizens, a country where kids don’t have to go to bed hungry, where everybody is afforded education; it should be a pillar of our democracy,” D’Arrigo said.
“But unfortunately, it’s the influence of corporate interest, money and special interest money that holds representatives away from doing what’s right. I’m not taking a dime of corporate PAC money. I think if you want to represent the people, want to support the people, then that’s where your support needs to come from. So we are really excited to build an incredible launch pad here with grassroots energy.”
D’Arrigo first ran for Congress last year, competing against incumbent U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) and Great Neck attorney Michael Weinstock in the Democratic primary for the 3rd Congressional District, which includes Manhasset, Roslyn, Port Washington, Great Neck and Floral Park, among other areas, and stretches from Whitestone, Queens, to Kings Park in Suffolk County. While Suozzi won the primary and ultimately the general election, D’Arrigo received 25.7 percent of the primary vote.
A native of Lindenhurst, D’Arrigo graduated from Barnard College and earned a Master of Science degree from the School of Health Professions at Long Island University, and later worked as an allied health professional for health care companies Optum and Cigna.
Following the election of Donald Trump, D’Arrigo turned her attention to activism, volunteering as campaign manager in Democratic state Assemblyman Anthony D’Urso’s successful re-election bid in 2018, working on campaigns for Town of North Hempstead Councilwoman Mariann Dalimonte (D-Port Washington) and state Sen. Anna Kaplan (D-Great Neck), organizing the 2018 Women’s March in Atlanta, and attended a Washington, D.C., protest against the nomination of now-Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, with the latter spurring her decision to run for office.
Since the primary, D’Arrigo said, she again went to the nation’s capital, this time to protest the nomination of now-Justice Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, and came away from her past experience with a major lesson: “start as early as possible.”
D’Arrigo supports Medicare for All, the repeal of the Hyde Amendment, the Green New Deal, campaign finance reform, immigration reform, policies to strengthen unions, and a “reimagining” reform of criminal justice. So far, she has been endorsed by the National Organization for Women PAC, Brand New Congress, Her Bold Move, Empire State Indivisible, Moms in Office and Progressive Women of NY.
“The fact that we have been able to launch with these major endorsements on day one really shows an appetite for change,” D’Arrigo said. “We’ve been meeting all day with different groups and supporters of the previous campaign, and there’s so much energy around our platform and there’s so much energy around this race. And I’m super grateful for that. I think it really shows an appetite for change and that this district wants a representative who’s going to put them first and fight for people.”