Of New York City's five boroughs, only Staten Island tends to favor Republican candidates. Yet Max Rose, a registered Democrat who supports gun violence prevention and the expansion of healthcare, defeated Republican incumbent Dan Donovan for this year's Congressional seat. This unexpected victory for Max Rose in the 11thCongressional district, which encompasses Staten Island and a small part of southern Brooklyn, means that President Donald Trump can longer look to the support of any New York City Republicans in the House.
Mr. Rose was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1986. He attended Poly Prep Country Day School as a child and teenager before going on to receive a degree in history from Wesleyan University, and a master's degree in philosophy and public policy from the London School of Economics. After his graduation from the London School of Economics, Rose decided to join the military. He served approximately five years of active duty in the First Armored Division before serving as a platoon leader in Afghanistan from 2012 to 2013, where he was wounded.
He was then awarded a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart for his service and commitment to his country. After leaving the military, Rose served as Chief of Staff at Brightpoint Health, which is a nonprofit operator of medical clinics in New York City. Currently, he is a captain for the National Guard and a member of the United States House of Representatives.
In 2015, Rose moved to Staten Island. Immediately, he realized that the borough needed help. Staten Island suffers from many issues ranging from the opioid crisis to healthcare concerns to a lack of needed transportation routes and infrastructure. A year ago, Rose decided to run for Congress when he noticed that Dan Donovan wasn't fixing anything that needed to be fixed in his own hometown. In fact, Mr. Donovan – who claims he has taken a tough stance on fighting the opioid crisis – had "taken nearly $10,000 in campaign cash from two execs tied to the drugmaker [Purdue Pharma] blamed for starting the crisis" (Klein, New York Post).
Rose has run for various platforms due to his determination to tackle numerous matters while serving in Congress. For example, Rose wants to end gun violence in the United States. According to his campaign website, "As a combat veteran, Max supports our right to keep and bear arms. He also knows we can respect the Second Amendment while doing more to get guns out of the lands of dangerous people. Weapons of war do not belong on our streets." In order to prevent more tragic deaths due to gun violence, Rose wants to increase background checks, strengthen federal gun restriction laws, and ban the sale of semi-automatic rifles, such as the AR-15. Additionally, Rose wants to make healthcare more affordable, wants to build a ferry system on the South Shore of Staten Island and a create a subway system to Manhattan from Staten Island, and wants to end the drug epidemic across the country.
So, how was Max Rose able to win? As a volunteer for Max's Congressional Campaign in Staten Island, I handed out flyers in the rain, knocked on houses asking for signatures and phone banked. For me, it was incredible to meet so many Staten Islanders who, just like me, wanted to see major changes not only in our federal government but in our hometown as well. Growing up on Staten Island, I never thought it would be possible for a progressive Democrat to win over a largely Republican area. However, Mr. Rose possesses a magic that is hard to describe in words. He is truly a charismatic man who is capable of appealing to both political parties, who is a champion for human rights, and who is not afraid to speak his mind.
As a young Democratic woman who lives in Republican-dominated Staten Island, it is amazing to think that New York's 11thCongressional District was successful in uniting a large liberal and moderate democratic base, which allowed Rose – a man with so much potential and promise – to succeed in flipping an almost certain red House seat blue.