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New York Congressional candidate Christina Rosetti admits she isn’t all that familiar with the work of the prominent Victorian poet of nearly the same name.
Nevertheless, Rosetti feels a sense of kinship with the 19th-century Christina Rossetti. Although that Rossetti spelled her surname with a double S, the modern-day Rosetti asserts: “It’s possible I may have been her.”
Rosetti, a lecturer on spirituality who has published her own bible, is a staunch believer in reincarnation. She’s running in today’s primary against ex-Democratic Congressional aide Dan Maffei for a chance to receive the Working Families Party nomination in the November election and to represent New York’s 25th Congressional district.
It’s hardly a primary the small, labor-oriented party wanted to see happen. Maffei, who already is the only candidate on the ballot for the Democratic nod to take on Rep. Jim Walsh (R) in the Syracuse-based district, is the Working Families Party’s endorsed candidate. (Rosetti earlier tried unsuccessfully to force a Democratic primary.)
Although Rosetti is a registered member of the Working Families Party, “we’ve never met her,” says Richard Oppedisano, chairman of the party’s central New York chapter. “She filled out our questionnaire. She scheduled an interview ... [and] never showed up.” Maffei, however, did come to his interview and “our members liked him,” Oppedisano says.
But Rosetti, who says she notified party leaders she had opted against attending their scheduled meeting because of concerns with their endorsement process, collected 99 signatures, 37 more than the 62 needed to get her name on the ballot and to force a Working Families Party primary.
In turn, Oppedisano attempted to get Rosetti thrown off the ballot by challenging the validity of her nominating petitions, but the New York State Board of Elections rejected his arguments.
Inspired by “the angels,” Rosetti last year published “The New Spiritual Bible,” a 244-page volume that emphasizes the importance of promoting “the brotherhood of man,” stresses that “we create our world through what we believe to be true” and asserts that “we attract to ourselves what we believe.”
For instance, Rosetti believes that people who think “terrorists are everywhere ... are going to attract that experience to [themselves].”
Rosetti, 57, is a former mathematics instructor, who says that in the past she’s taught at institutions such as Cornell University and Ithaca College. In recent years, in addition to lecturing on spirituality, she’s also taught rape prevention techniques which, she says, counsel attendees “not to antagonize” their attacker. It’s an outgrowth of her belief that conflicts should be resolved “peaceably.”
For the moment, Rosetti is unemployed, living on her savings. She actually calls Sullivan County in New York’s Catskill Mountain region home and doesn’t currently reside in the district. She is staying with a friend in Onondaga County to campaign. (New York Congressional candidates are not required to live in the district they are running for.)
An activist for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered rights, Rosetti considers herself female, but quickly adds: “none of us are completely female or male. We are all both female and male.” Asked if she is transgendered, Rosetti declined to directly answer, saying only: “In a sense all of us are.”
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