Juanita Perez Williams is running for Congress to represent New York's 24th district. She is a Mexican-American whose grandparents migrated from Guanajuato, Mexico. Her parents played an important role in her life, always struggling to make ends meet however devoted to activism in the farmworkers movement. As a child, Juanita participated in one of the first Early Head-Start programs, was a recipient of free school lunches, attended college through the Equal Opportunity Program and in 1986 received her undergraduate degree from the University of California, San Diego.
After receiving her law degree, Juanita served five years in the Navy Judge Advocates Program (JAGC) where she handled high profile criminal cases, attaining the rank of Lieutenant Commander. Upon completion of her military service, Juanita relocated with her family to Upstate New York.
In 2001, Juanita accepted a legal position with Syracuse University and soon thereafter was promoted to Associate Dean of Students. Juanita also served as an adjunct professor teaching legal issues in higher education. During this time, Juanita was selected by then Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton to be a member of the New York State Military Selection Review Board. In 2008, Juanita was appointed by then Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to serve New York State as an Assistant Attorney General. Two years later, Juanita was appointed by the Mayor of Syracuse to serve as Corporation Counsel and lead the city’s legal office.
Juanita is the mother of four grown children and a grandmother. She sits on several Central New York Boards including Onondaga County Catholic Charities, La Liga (Spanish Action League), Clear Path for Veterans, CNY Workforce Investment Board, Bishop Ludden High School Trustee, is co-founder of UMEA, the new minority chamber of commerce, and is a proud member of the Valley American Legion.
Every American deserves quality, affordable care. I support guaranteeing access to coverage for all, lowering prescription drug costs and providing the resources necessary to address our opioid addiction epidemic. I strongly oppose Republican attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, impose an “age tax,” and take away protections for pre-existing conditions.
I also firmly believe in women’s right to choose and will always defend and protect that right. I will defend and advocate for organizations like Planned Parenthood that offer women access, funding, and education with regard to their reproductive health.
Though we have so much to offer, Central New York’s economy is still recovering. We need to make smart investments in infrastructure and skills training to build a diverse economy and a strong middle class. In partnership with local industry and schools, skills training programs can help young people and those changing careers get good-paying jobs close to home. With sensible tax policies and wage protections, we can foster innovation at home without leaving behind the farms and manufacturing centers that are the cornerstone of our region.
As one of the first ever Head Start students, I know firsthand the positive impact of investing in success for all students. By ensuring our public schools have the resources they need to fully prepare our children for a dynamic and interconnected world and developing technical apprenticeships as an alternative to traditional college preparation, I believe we can create an education system in touch with our times and our economic needs. In Congress, I will fight against schemes to funnel tax dollars to exclusionary private schools and I will advocate for our teachers at every opportunity.
Climate scientists have long agreed on the real danger of our changing climate. It’s time for our lawmakers to reach the same consensus as the rest of the world’s democracies and pass policies to ensure generations to come inherit a vibrant planet. Clean energy initiatives right here in Central New York could set us on the path to a sustainable future while creating good and meaningful jobs.
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Checks can be made out to Juanita for Congress and mailed to P.O. Box 201, Syracuse, NY 13201.