Amanda Septimo (D/Working Families Party), an undergraduate, won her election for New York’s 84th Assembly District seat against challengers Rosaline Nieves (R), Carmen Arroyo (Proven Leader Party) and Linda Ortiz (Conservative Party) on Nov. 3, 2020, according to Septimo.
Septimo, a native of the Bronx, won her election by close to 70 points, ending with 78.33 percent of the vote. Her closest challenger, Nieves, finished with 10.06 percent of the votes per the NY State Board of Elections.
Created in 1777, the New York State Assembly serves with the New York State Senate to form the state’s legislative body. Septimo will serve a two-year term until Nov. 3, 2022 and will be eligible for re-election.
Though Septimo was enrolled at Vanderbilt from 2008-2012, she left Nashville with one semester left to work for New York Representative José Serrano (D-15). This year, the 29-year-old returned to Vanderbilt and will graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in political science in December.
“I interned with [Serrano] when I was in high school, and they had an opening. I couldn’t let the opportunity go,” Septimo said.
On campus, Septimo was involved in student organizations including Mock Trial and the Vanderbilt Music Group, a subgroup of the Vanderbilt Programming Board (VPB).
“I’m from New York and obviously where [that’s] where I am doing work. I would have never had an opportunity to live south of the Mason-Dixon [line] or just in place that’s so different from my own and meet so many people who come from backgrounds that are really different from my own,” Septimo said. “Vanderbilt gave me that opportunity in a big way.”
Septimo ran in the 2018 election for the same seat and lost to Arroyo, the incumbent, by over 84 points in the 2018 general election and around 25 points in the Democratic primary. Arroyo has held the seat since 1994.
“What I took away from [the 2018 election] was just it’s important to bet big, dream big, to take the big steps and jump into the big fight because they’re important,” Septimo said.
Arroyo was recently removed from the Democratic primary ballot box by the New York Court of Appeals for election fraud. Arroyo still ran for the position through the Proven Leader Party and won 3.65 percent of the vote.
This election, Septimo secured the Working Families Party endorsements and the Democratic primary nomination following the removal of Arroyo from the primary ballot.
After her victory, Septimo said she plans to focus on economic development.
“It’s how we build a just recovery out of coronavirus and make sure that communities like the South Bronx that have been on the front line of the impact of bad policy get to be on the front line of making policy to make sure we build back from coronavirus,” Septimo said.