The brother and mother of a New York City democratic socialist candidate went on the record to dispute many of the biographical claims she has made throughout the campaign.
A Tablet profile last week first revealed that state Senate candidate Julia Salazar, a progressive darling depicting herself as a Jewish immigrant, was actually born in the United States and ran several Christian organizations in college. One of the sources negating Salazar's claims was her own brother Alex Salazar, who told Tablet that they were both born in Miami and their father was not Jewish.
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In a piece published Thursday, New York magazine City & State sat down with Alex and their mother Christine Salazar and discovered even more discrepancies in her life story.
Contrary to Salazar's claim that "my mom ended up raising my brother and me as a single mom, without a college degree and from a working-class background," her brother says they lived comfortably and their father made six-figures as a pilot and continued to pay child support following their divorce.
"We were very much middle class. We had a house in Jupiter along the river, it was in a beautiful neighborhood," he said.
Julia, in response, said since her parents separated when she was six, there were two years that she lived only with her mother before Christine Salazar graduated from college.
Salazar's claim that "I was raised by a single mom who didn’t have a college degree. My father didn’t graduate from high school," was also wrong, they said. Christine Salazar got a college degree in psychology when her daughter was eight. Her husband, Luis Hernan Salazar, attended high school in Santa Barbara, California, although it’s unclear whether he ever graduated from the school. Christine Salazar said it’s possible he received his degree from a night school as an adult if he did not in fact graduate from the California school as a teen.
The Salazars said there were times when money was a bit tight, such as when Luis Hernan Salazar was briefly laid off or late in his life when he went on disability. But they denied the assertion on Julia's campaign website that she began "working at a local grocery store when she was 14 to help make ends meet." Christine Salazar said she encouraged her children work to build character and because they didn't get an allowance, not out of necessity.
Salazar's family also denied the candidate's claim that she spend her childhood moving back and forth between Florida and Colombia. The family made a few visits to Colombia they said, but never lived their permanently. "Maybe she was just referring to going there more than we went anywhere else," her mother suggested.
Another fib from Salazar was her claim that growing up, "We didn’t all have permanent residence in the U.S." By the time she was born, every member of the family was a U.S. citizen.