Young pro-cop Dem runs for Congress as moderate alternative to AOC

( A potential formidable challenger has emerged to run in the Democratic primary in New York next year, and he could provide a moderate alternative to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who is a very progressive representative from the same state.

Joshua Lafazan is a moderate member of his party from Long Island, and he’s hoping to win a seat in Congress alongside AOC. As a lawmaker from New York’s Nassau County, Lafazan once backed a bill that was controversial that would’ve allowed police officers to file lawsuits against protesters who harassed them while they were serving on duty.

If he were to win election, Lafazan, at 27 years old, would become the youngest House of Representatives member. He’s running for a seat in the 3rd District in Long Island, which will be open because incumbent Representative Tom Suozzi is running for governor.

Lafazan has been involved in public life since he became an adult. At the age of 18, he became an elected member of the Syosset School Board, before he even attended prom that year. At the age of 23, he was elected to the Nassau County Legislature.

Now, he’s hoping to take an even bigger step to become a member of Congress.

Lafazan is registered as an independent, but he caucuses with Democrats in New York. In preparation for his run at a Congress seat, he re-enrolled to be a Democrat.

In announcing his candidacy on Monday, Lafazan told The New York Post:

“I’ve been underestimated my entire life. I’m used to being underestimated and I don’t back down.”

In Nassau County, Lafazan gained a lot of notoriety — and backlash — when he advanced legislation that would’ve expanded the state’s human rights law. His proposal would’ve allowed police officers to file lawsuits against protesters with Black Lives Matter groups or any other person who abused them while they were serving.

That bill passed through the legislature at the county level by a 12-6 vote. However, Laura Curran, the county executive, vetoed the bill.

Lafazan’s role as the leader of that bill drew the ire of many leaders of non-white groups, including the NAACP. As Tracey Edwards, the Long Island regional director for that group, said:

“The big issue with Josh Lafazan is his contradictory approach. His opinions vary depending on who he speaks to.”

Further, Edwards said she thinks it was “inappropriate” for the lawmaker to equate the jobs that police officers are doing with civil rights.

The NAACP isn’t the only group that’s against him, though. Gay rights activists also don’t believe in him.

The head of the LGBT Network of Long Island and Queens, David Kilmnick, commented:

“Lafazan is not ready to represent the people in Congress based on his work as a Nassau County legislator.”

Despite all this criticism, Lafazan remains steadfast in what’s he believes in and what he’s doing. He said:

“I will never apologize for standing up for our first responders.”