‘Enough Is Enough,’ Former NYPD Cop Running for Congress Tells the Sun

Alison Esposito, campaigning on public safety and American exceptionalism, hopes to flip red a longtime blue district in New York.

Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images
Alison Esposito during a campaign event for New York's Republican gubernatorial nominee, Lee Zeldin, November 1, 2022, at Staten Island. Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Republican hopes to hold the House of Representatives could hang on whether New York’s Hudson Valley, long a liberal bastion, sends to Congress a self-described former cop who wants to shut the border and audit Ukraine. 

That’s Alison Esposito, who looks to unseat an incumbent Democrat, Congressman Pat Ryan, in New York’s 18th district. While running for lieutenant governor alongside Congressman Lee Zeldin in 2022, Ms. Esposito won the district, which has been under Democratic leadership for 40 years, by three points. Her race comes as Republicans hope to secure their narrow majority in the House — where Democrats trail by 7 members — in November. 

Ms. Esposito told the Sun’s associate editor, A.R. Hoffman, “this is not a red wave. This is a common sense wave. This is a red, white and blue wave. This is Republicans, Independents, and Democrats coming together and saying, enough is enough.” 

Alison Esposito in conversation with the Sun’s A.R. Hoffman, New York City, February 2024.

After her close loss in the gubernatorial race, “I was heartbroken for all of the New Yorkers that I promised,” Ms. Esposito says. “I was heartbroken for my men and women in blue throughout the state that, through false media narrative and dangerous political rhetoric, were turned into public enemy no. 1.”

Galvanized by the loss, she is now pursuing a seat in Congress to restore public safety in her district, in her state, and in her country. “I’m going into government, but I will never be a politician,” Ms. Esposito says. “I’m a cop. That’s who I am.”

During her 25-year career in the New York City Police Department, she worked to crack down on gang violence and teach fair and impartial policing. She rose to the rank of deputy inspector in the country’s largest police force. 

While public trust in law enforcement is eroding, Ms. Esposito supports more funding, resources, and training for the police. “Nobody,” she says, “hates a bad cop more than a good cop.” She cites her father, who served as an NYPD chief of police and instilled in her the lesson that those who cannot protect themselves deserve to be protected. 

Mayor Adams also invokes his career in the NYPD, but Ms. Esposito contends that he has failed to protect New Yorkers as the city faces rising crime stemming from illegal migration at the southern border. The people of the Hudson Valley, many of whom commute into the city, have suffered: “This crisis has made every town, every city a border city, a border town,” she asserts, “every state, a border state.”

For Ms. Esposito, shutting the border means reinstating President Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy, which forces non-Mexican asylum seekers to wait in Mexico for their American court dates. It means enlisting border and customs patrol agents to actively protect the border, rather than merely process migrants. It means constructing a border wall. “We need to be securing our border,” she says, “before we’re spending money on salaries in Ukraine right now.” 

Ms. Esposito echoes GOP concerns over the potential misallocation of taxpayer money sent to Ukraine. “I would not vote on any more aid to Ukraine at this point that is not audited,” she says. “I don’t want Russia to gain power at all, but what we’re doing with Ukraine needs more scrutiny.” 

Israel, though, as a staunch American ally, needs American support, Ms. Esposito urges: “They have every right to exist and they need our help to root out the terrorists that crossed their border, that kidnapped their children, that raped their women and their elderly. And we still have American hostages that are not home. We still have Israeli hostages that are not home.”

Education is also top of mind for the congressional candidate, who supports putting more money into New York schools and enlisting teachers to purely teach. “You teach my child facts. I will teach my child values,” she says. “These are American kids competing on the world stage. We owe our children better.”

Yet Ms. Esposito’s priorities extend well beyond the local. She expresses concern over the erosion of America’s position on the world stage. “You have a faction of left wing self-proclaimed socialists that want to undermine the very fabric of the country that we live in, that want to apologize for American exceptionalism.” 

Ms. Esposito, a proud cop and a self-proclaimed fighter, refuses to issue such an apology. Such a posture of defeat and appeasement, she declares, is “absolutely unacceptable to me, and unacceptable to a lot of people.”


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