How to spin your old jobs in a stump speech

State Senate candidate Julia Salazar
State Senate candidate Julia Salazar
David S Fox
State Senate Julia Salazar with Rep. Nydia Velázquez.

How to spin your old jobs in a stump speech

What else are you going to do? Be yourself?
November 12, 2019

Politicians are known for embellishing facts about the jobs they had before getting into politics, whether it’s to spice up a story or to prove a point. State Sen. Julia Salazar, who is known for massaging the truth every now and again, did just that when she referred to herself as a “former domestic worker” in a tweet recently.

To her credit, Salazar was technically a domestic worker when she worked as a nanny while attending the prestigious Columbia University – though that’s not typically what you imagine when you think “domestic worker.” 

But hey, we get it! One of the main tenets of Salazar’s platform is sticking up for domestic workers and ensuring that they have proper worker protections, so why not make an effort to, um, force a connection? And Salazar is hardly the only New York politician who has stretched the truth when it comes to describing their past employment. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who briefly worked at a garage in high school, has always depicted himself as something of a mechanic, boasting about his hobby fixing up classic cars as though he’s spent a lifetime in an oil-slicked boiler suit – as opposed to a suit tailored just for him.

Boasting about your humble beginnings is practically a requirement for any politician who wants to connect with their constituents, and it's unlikely that will ever change. Just consider presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who contantly talks about her time as an educator at rallies and in speeches, despite having spent only a year working as a school teacher (which Warren says is a result of discrimination, as she was “shown the door”for being pregnant) before embarking on her intrepid law career. 

Inspired by these politicians’ thinly veiled attempts at making their employment histories more appealing, we decided to spin some New York politicians’ past positions ourselves – perfect for any future stump speeches.

President Donald Trump

Past work experience: Overseeing smaller projects for his father’s real estate company.

The spin: Young Donny spent his youth working in construction, slowly working his way up to a more senior role within the company. 

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer

Past work experience: Editing his high school newspaper.

The spin: Before entering into politics, Chucky spent most of his high school days as a paperboy, hand delivering the local news to his neighbors, the Baileys.

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg

Past work experience: Constructed his alma mater's mascot, the blue jay

The spin: To make ends meet, Mikey worked diligently as a tailor, sewing garments by candlelight until his hands bled.

New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson

Past work experience: Taking care of llamas for $4.25 an hour.

The spin: As a former blue-collar farmhand, Corey learned the true meaning of hard work and the value of a dollar.

City Councilman Justin Brannan 

Past work experience: Playing guitar in a hardcore punk band.

The spin: Working as a humble troubadour, Justin saw the value in protecting New York City’s more vulnerable communities.

Amanda Luz Henning Santiago
Amanda Luz Henning Santiago
is City & State's web reporter and social media editor.
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