Julia Salazar, a New York state Senate candidate and self-described “leader” inside the Democratic Socialists of America organization, has come under fire after her family members accused her of lying about her past.
Both Salazar’s mother and brother have come out with statements disputing multiple points in her biography, including claims of her being Jewish, an immigrant, and raised in a working-class family.
The recent accusations are strikingly similar to reports surrounding fellow socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who endorsed Salazar and whose own working-class background has been called into question.
Salazar previously told the socialist magazine Jacobin, “My family immigrated to the U.S. from Colombia when I was a baby, and my mom ended up raising my brother and me as a single mom, without a college degree and from a working-class background.”
But a recent exposé by Tablet Magazine discovered that Salazar, in fact, was born in Miami, which she also later clarified. Her brother, Alex Salazar, also disputed claims of her Jewish heritage.
“There was nobody in our immediate family who was Jewish. … My father was not Jewish, we were not raised Jewish,” he said.
Salazar was also the founder of the Christians United for Israel (CUFI) chapter during her time in Columbia University, a complete turnaround from her now strictly progressive platform.
Michael Kinnucan, Salazar’s deputy campaign manager, clarified to The Epoch Times that, to his knowledge, Salazar converted to Judaism in college and that it has been an integral part of her life ever since.
Kinnucan also said via email that Salazar was raised in a politically conservative family, but switched affiliations sometime during college. Salazar’s far-left policies include expanding the Medicare program to cover people of all ages and abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Multiple media reports have described Salazar as the next Ocasio-Cortez, who made headlines after defeating long-serving Democratic Rep. Joe Crowley in a stunning upset. Salazar is running against incumbent Martin Malave Dilan in the Democratic primary for New York state Senate District 18.
In another more recent interview with weekly magazine City and State, relatives continued to set the record straight over claims Salazar was partially raised in Colombia by a single mother with no college degree.
“We were very much middle class. We had a house in Jupiter [in Florida] along the river. It was in a beautiful neighborhood,” Alex Salazar told the outlet. “I feel very strongly about my family, and I want to tell the truth.”
Alex Salazar also said that the family was raised entirely in Florida, only going on a few short trips to Colombia in order to visit family. Salazar’s mother, Christine Salazar, also disputed the “back and forth” claim of her childhood between Colombia and the United States.
Christine Salazar did, in fact, graduate with a degree in psychology from Florida Atlantic University. City and State also pointed out that the parents were separated when Julia Salazar was only 6 years old, adding that it meant there were only 2 years when she lived only with her mother before Christine graduated.
Christine Salazar also disputed her daughter’s claims of working at a local grocery store when she was 14 years old “to help make ends meet.”
“My kids always worked, from the time they were 14. I encouraged that because I thought there was a lot of value in that in terms of learning and responsibility so that was the purpose behind them having part-time jobs … not the light bill,” she said.
Kinnucan did not comment on the veracity of Salazar’s family members’ comments, but said that Salazar’s “earliest memories are of the time she spent with her family in Colombia.”
In another recent interview, Salazar told Jewish Currents magazine that her family “didn’t all have permanent residence in the U.S.” But according to her mother, everyone in her family was a U.S. citizen because her father later became one sometime in 1984.