Imani Oakley, New Jersey, U.S. House

Longtime progressive activist Imani Oakley is running for Congress. Oakley is challenging Rep. Donald Payne Jr. in New Jersey’s northern 10th congressional district (which includes Newark and Orange), the only majority-Black district in the state.

“We need real voices in Congress, people who are going to really get in there and legislate, people who are going to work for their districts because I’ll tell you, Republicans are scrappy,” Oakley recently told the Jersey City Times. “They will get any of their people pushed through. We need fighters in there, and right now Donald Payne is not that.” Payne has one of the highest absentee ratings in the House.

Priorities for Oakley include housing, an issue that has personal resonance for her after she faced foreclosure on her home. Oakley participated in the summer 2021 DC protests to extend the eviction moratorium coordinated by Rep. Cori Bush. Oakley is also pushing for demilitarizing police and putting funding towards community safety.

Oakley previously worked for the New Jersey Working Families Alliance and Sen. Cory Booker. She’s endorsed by Brand New Congress, a progressive PAC who worked to elect AOC in 2018, and the progressive group Catch Fire.

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