Photo courtesy of Clyde Lederman
Lederman bolstering Basaran’s bid for NJ-9 seat
With local primaries (NY on June 23, NJ on July 7 and CT on Aug. 11) right around the corner, Tower spoke with Masters students and alumni who have been involved in various candidates' campaigns.
Rising junior Clyde Lederman is no stranger to the competitive realm of political campaigning. Once a communications advisor for former Pennsylvania congressman Joe Sestak’s 2020 presidential bid, Lederman is heavily involved in running communications for Alp Basaran – a first-generation Muslim-American who’s challanging incumbent and 23-year congressmen Bill Pascrell for the NJ-9 seat.
Basaran was an undocumented citizen when his family first immigrated to New Jersey from Turkey. Basaran touts the strength of the New Jersey public school system for his continued education at Vanderbilt University. Post college, Basaran served as a corporate lawyer in Manhattan, provided free legal services for persecuted LGBTQ and HIV+ refugees, and supported the medical expenses of two disabled family members who suffered catastrophic illnesses. His personal experiences have shaped his far-left approach to many issues, which he explains on his campaign website.
Lederman has been with the campaign for seven months and as the July 7 New Jersey primary elections near, he said his work is ramping up significantly. According to Lederman, he is responsible for getting in touch with local media outlets, writing press releases, and has input on the campaign’s advertising strategy.
Although Lederman does not live in New Jersey’s ninth congressional district, he said he has many reasons to support Basaran.
“He’s running a very important race against a man [incumbent Bill Pascrell] who is an older, corporate democrat, who I think doesn’t reflect the values of the party. Basaran has a strong track record of being a progressive – I think it’s important to support someone who’s trying to get rid of the type of person who’s in favor of America’s endless wars and bail-outs for the wealthy.”
Basaran recently challenged Pascrell to a virtual debate which will be held soon. Lederman has been helping to plan the event.
“We’re working with the local PBS affiliate and also trying to find moderators to host the debate. It’s been busy; there’ve been some logistical challenges, but we’re looking forward to letting the people of the district know what the issues are and where we stand.”
With a recent spike in activism across the nation in response to police brutality and racial injustice as well as the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Lederman explains why Basaran is fit for fueling change in Washington.
“Good government is more important now than ever and we ought to elect people who represent our interests. He’s someone who would make an outstanding advocate for the people of the ninth district – he grew up there and understands the challenges that the people face.” According to Lederman, NJ-9 is one of the most diverse districts in the nation – over 40 percent of the citizens are foreign born, like Basaran.
Lederman appreciates how his role in communications has allowed him to connect with the district and its people.
“I’ve gotten to know some journalists who’ve covered North Jersey for a long time and have a real sense of what’s happening on the ground. It’s an interesting dynamic and a diverse place. It’s given me a real opportunity to learn how things of this sort work.”