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Republicans trying to draft Joe Holland for statewide office

What does it mean for New Yorkers. OpEd

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Republicans are trying to draft Joe Holland for a state wide race. Some want him to run for the United States Senate this year. Others are urging him to clean up the mess in Albany and run for governor.

Holland is well-known among some New Yorkers for his work among the homeless in Harlem. He has a story to tell that represents the best of New Yorkers. Last year, he starting to talk about his interest in making a run for the U.S. Senate to represent what he calls "refounding Republicanism." His interest in getting his hands dirty to help people leans him toward the type of work that governors do. He believes that Republicans can grow stronger in New York if they revive the Republicanism of Frederick Douglas and Abraham Lincoln.

He was born betwixt privilege and condemnation. His father was the United States Ambassador to Sweden, but was also Black in a world that was still divided along racial lines. Joe went to the best schools: Cornell; and Harvard law. Then, he put aside the traditional path to an elite law firm to settle in Harlem to work for the homeless at a faith-based center. Holland wrote a wonderful book on what the homeless taught him about life and leadership.

Many Republicans are pretty fast to tell the poor what to do, but few actually live among the poor. There should be a Mother Theresa requirement for any candidate: live and work among the poor. Become their friends and know their viewpoints, struggles, and rich contributions to New York life. Otherwise, the Republican is, shall we be blunt, just whistling Dixie. No credibility to proclamations of “compassion” and no good sense how working with the poor actually is best done. And no appreciation for the many great things that poor New Yorkers bring to the table like family, faith, hard work, thirst for improvement, and new ideas.

Holland has a story to tell, and he embodies it in his daily life. He is a real good neighbor to all types of New Yorkers. He is a model for what New Yorkers really care for: excellence; success; and compassion for those pushed down into the ditch by life or bad decisions. He illuminates the New York way for America like no other candidate for the U.S. Senate or N.Y. governor in 2018. What we hear from many faith-based New Yorkers ill over political life today is, "Tell them about the New York Dream, Joe! Tell them the Dream. Illuminate a path for our state and nation in turmoil.”

If you want to know more about Joe Holland, read Pauline Dolle’s “Life advice from Harlem’s homeless.”


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