Ross Barkan Is An Ex-Journalist Running For State Senate On A Woman's Rights Platform

On Sunday, the New York Daily News reported that New York State Senate candidate Ross Barkan will announce a women's rights platform that focuses on addressing sexual harassment in the political environment and promoting women's issues. And while many Democratic candidates ardently support women's issues, Barkan's express intent to create a women-specific platform, particularly one dedicated to stopping sexual harassment in politics, is unique.

Barkan is a political journalist who decided to run for the State Senate to represent the 22nd district in Brooklyn, where he grew up. Barkan, a Democrat, made his announcement in a Medium post earlier in November, saying that, as a journalist, he knows how to "hold power to account," but that sometimes, to be most effective, one must hold people to account from inside the political system. As Barkan put it:

Barkan is running against Republican incumbent Martin Golden.

On Sunday, the New York Daily News revealed that Barkan was planning to unveil a women's rights agenda that focuses on stopping workplace sexual harassment in the political arena, in addition to several other women's advocacy issues. Barkan released his official women's rights platform on Medium on Monday.

In an email sent to Bustle, Barkan expressed a strong stance on stopping sexual harassment in the State Legislature, saying:

Barkan's commitment to stopping workplace harassment in politics is especially relevant given the barrage of recent reports about sexual harassment problems in state capitols around the country.

Barkan has stressed the importance of perpetuating a cultural shift to ensure that women are respected and do not face harassment at work, telling the Daily News, "I know I'll only be one elected official up there, but I want to do what I can to change the culture — a culture that can take women for granted and oftentimes enables and tolerates sexual harassment." Barkan expounded on this commitment to culture change when speaking with Bustle:

In addition to his dedication to stopping workplace harassment, the Daily News reported that Barkan's women's rights agenda also prioritizes several other key issues that affect women, including committing to strengthening New York's abortion laws, banning revenge porn, providing free pre- and post-natal care for every woman in New York, and securing universal health care statewide. When speaking with Bustle, Barkan highlighted what he believes is an integral linkage between health care and women's rights:

Several people on social media offered words of praise when Barkan's platform was announced on Sunday, with one Twitter user describing it as a "sensible, workable, timely initiative from a terrific candidate for @NYSenate."

Another Twitter user expressed excitement and gratitude that Barkan was focusing on women's issues:

Barkan will face a Democratic primary, followed by general elections in November 2018, should he secure the Democratic nomination. Many New Yorkers and, indeed, many Americans, will likely be closely watching Barkan's campaign over the next year.