Maud Maron, ‘Proudly Moderate,’ Rejects Pressure To Veer Left

In Congressional District 12 race, she’s an outlier among left-leaning Democrats

CD 12 /
| 30 Mar 2022 | 06:18

Maud Maron, a lawyer and mother who formerly ran for City Council in Downtown’s District 1, feels “dissatisfied” with leadership in the city right now. Some Democrats, to her dismay, are veering further and further left in their politics — so she’s running for Congress in District 12 with the conviction that she could make a positive impact from the middle of the political spectrum.

“I’m not trying to show anybody how extremely left I can be, because I’m very grounded and centered in my values about what’s important for families and working people in New York,” she said.

Of Maron’s political views — which span from her stance on crime and her insistence on ending mask mandates for young kids to her desire to bar transgender athletes from competing in sports in alignment with their gender identities — some place her, at times, in agreement with Republicans. She’s an outlier in the current field of progressive Democrats, including Suraj Patel and Rana Abdelhamid, vying to unseat incumbent Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, who’s represented District 12 for nearly a decade. “New Yorkers — across party lines and across ages, across neighborhoods — really want sensible, moderate leadership,” Maron said. “I think we saw that with people choosing Eric Adams as the mayor of our city.”

A resident of Soho, Maron anticipated she’d be running for Congress in incumbent Jerrold Nadler’s District 10. Thanks to newly drawn congressional maps, which now see parts of Chelsea, Greenwich Village and SoHo within the borders of District 12 instead of District 10, Maron launched her campaign in the beginning of this year against Maloney and her challengers instead. Now, a state judge’s ruling against the legitimacy of the maps on Thursday could interrupt campaigns across New York — including Maron’s.

Reviving Rikers

At one point or another, Maron has lived all over Manhattan, from the Upper East Side to Hell’s Kitchen and the East Village. Along the way, she developed expertise in law, kickstarting her career as a criminal defense attorney at the Legal Aid Society — a background that she feels equips her to tackle the city’s issues now on a different stage. “Obviously, you want to curb any police abuse and you want police to be accountable and well-trained,” Maron said, “but you also need to acknowledge that the police do an important job and without them our city would be worse off.”

Leaders in the city, from Mayor Eric Adams to City Council members, have widely acknowledged that safety is of major concern to locals, many of whom have likely sensed an uptick in crime in recent months. Perhaps more contentious is debate about the fate of Rikers Island, which Adams has pledged to shut down in light of notoriously poor conditions.

“Every single person runs around saying we should close Rikers Island as a solution to what’s wrong with Rikers Island,” Maron said. “It’s a horrible, misguided solution, because it necessitates building these borough-based jails that have been proposed, which are a total disaster for our communities.” She’d rather see Rikers receive a significant revamp.

The Schoolyard Battleground

Many of the issues Maron’s keen to take up hit even closer to home for the mother of four, whose children attend public schools in the city. Two years into the pandemic, Maron has been calling urgently to unmask young school kids. “We severely limited, damaged and hurt those children by imposing a mitigation that doesn’t work,” she said.

Reactions to the lifting of school mask mandates for most in New York City — which went into effect at the beginning of the month, following an announcement by Adams — have reportedly been mixed. The CDC continues to recommend masks as a way to combat COVID-19 spread in areas with high transmission, especially for those who are at greater personal risk.

But Maron’s inclination to address classroom politics likely won’t end with the pandemic. She’s outspoken on issues of gender identity, frequently taking to Twitter to weigh in on current events, like the controversy that swirled around accomplished trans swimmer Lia Thomas after she finished first in a freestyle event, winning a NCAA Division I title in mid-March. In a retweet of Republican Governor Ron DeSantis’ proclamation that runner-up Emma Weyant would be recognized as the winner in Florida, Maron wrote, “Why are Democrats incapable of standing up for girls and women like this?”

“You cannot protect or promote girls and women’s sports if you let men compete against girls and women,” Maron told Our Town. If elected to represent New York’s District 12, Maron would aim to pass legislation on this front.

In a field of progressive opponents, Maron remains “proudly moderate.”

“I’m not trying to show anybody how extremely left I can be, because I’m very grounded and centered in my values about what’s important for families and working people in New York.” Maud Maron