Julia Salazar’s victory in her State Senate primary last week felt noteworthy in the way many recent progressive wins have felt noteworthy: Despite a campaign marked by intense scrutiny of her background and upbringing, she easily ousted Martin Dilan, a 16-year incumbent who has been criticizedfor his connections to the real-estate industry, joining the ranks of young, left-leaning women who’ve successfully challenged the Democratic Establishment. For sex workers, though, the night seemed particularly historic. That’s because Salazar openly and unabashedly advocated for their rights throughout her primary run, making her one of the first-ever politicians to campaign on a pro–sex worker platform and win.

“This is a game changer for the movement because it shows that voters are ready to talk about policies on the sex trade with complexity and care, rather than based in pure moral presumption,” Lola Balcon, a community organizer for sex workers’ rights who worked with Salazar on her campaign, told the Cut. “We hope more people running for office will see the example that Julia set taking a principled stance and follow in her lead.”

Salazar, a 27-year-old Latina socialist who is now running as the Democratic candidate in an extremely blue district that encompasses large swaths of Williamsburg, Greenpoint, and Bushwick, championed sex workers throughout her campaign. Balcon, who was introduced to Salazar’s campaign team via the Democratic Socialists of America, says she found her “extremely receptive” from the moment she first approached her several months ago.

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Julia Salazar’s win is a huge victory for Sex Workers by Callie Beusman

Sept. 19th, 2018