For those who don’t follow politics, it might be easy to subscribe to the ginned-up, hyperbolic anti-incumbent rhetoric heard on cable TV and talk radio.
To go nowhere beyond the daily broadcasts of fear, anger and protest, one could easily be seduced into believing that no incumbent is worth returning to office.
In some cases, the conduct of a small group of politicians rightfully earned the contempt of their colleagues and the public: last summer’s coup in Albany, caused by two state senators, one of whom was expelled last February and the other, currently under investigation by the state attorney general and the FBI.
In Washington, D.C., even though the Obama administration and the 111th Congress passed 22 major pieces of legislation, the contentious and bitterly partisan rancor coming from the House and Senate has helped fuel the flames of anti-incumbency.
When much of the media focuses on stories that generate water cooler talk and profits for its shareholders, it masks the truly important work accomplished by those in office who believe in serving the common good.
There are many decent, effective public servants in Albany and Washington who have fought and continue to fight on behalf of working families, the poor and for the values enshrined in organized labor.
These individuals deserve to return to continue their important work for the benefit of all of us.
Local 802’s Executive Board recently concluded its first round of endorsements. In an election year when anything can happen, we encourage those of you residing in the districts of these candidates to stand with those who have stood by us.
Each one of these members of the House has stood with Local 802 and fought for the Performance Rights Act (H.R. 848), continued funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Arts in Education programs within the U.S. Department of Education:
Steve Israel (D, NY-2)
Joe Crowley (D, NY-7)
Jerry Nadler (D, NY-8)
Anthony Weiner (D, NY-9)
Carolyn Maloney (D, NY-14)
John Hall* (D, NY-19)
*Congressman Hall is not a cosponsor the Performance Right Act because it would constitute a conflict of interest.
New York State Attorney General
Eric Schneiderman began his career in law enforcement as a Deputy Sheriff in Pittsfield, Mass., where he created the first comprehensive drug and alcohol treatment program at the Berkshire House of Corrections.
As an attorney, he was counsel to the West Side Crime Prevention Program for over 10 years.
During his tenure, he successfully evicted drug dealers and shut down crack houses.
During his 12 years in the State Senate, Eric was instrumental in the passage of the Clinic Access Bill, Hate Crimes legislation, the Women’s Health and Wellness Act, legislation that increases the minimum wage, and several civil rights, environmental and anti-illegal gun laws.
He wrote the bill that would allow large institutional investors such as mutual funds and pension funds to sue corporations in state court for violations of state securities laws.
In 2001 and 2003, he worked with the Straphangers Campaign, serving as its lead counsel to go after the illegal practices of the MTA.
As a result of his work, he was able to secure an injunction to keep dozens of token booths open and uncover fraud in the MTA’s bookkeeping practices.
Additionally, Eric was an aggressive advocate for the Empire State Film Production Tax Credit and the new Post Production Tax Credit Programs.
Local 802’s candidate questionnaire addressed many important issues facing our members: tightening employee misclassification laws, increasing unemployment benefits, indexing the minimum weekly worker compensation rate for injured workers, repealing vacancy decontrol to preserve housing stock, restoring lost funding to the New York Council on the Arts budget and continuing strong funding for the Empire State Film Production and Post Production Tax Credit programs.
The following candidates demonstrated their deep knowledge of these and many other issues in our questionnaire. After careful consideration, the Executive Board voted to endorse the following candidates:
Adriano Espaillat (D, Senate District 31; Upper West Side, Southwestern Bronx – Eric Schneiderman’s open seat)
Gustavo Rivera (D, Senate District 33 – Pedro Espada’s seat)
Aravella Simotas (D, Assembly District 36; Astoria, Long Island City – Mike Gianaris’ open seat
Gregg Lundahl (D, Assembly District 72; Upper East Side, East Midtown, Sutton Place and Turtle Bay – Jonathan Bing’s seat)
By now you should have received a special edition of our 802 Notes electronic newsletter with links to the candidates’ Web sites, which explain their respective platforms in great detail.
If you want to volunteer on any of these campaigns, visit their sites, contact me at (212) 245-4802, ext. 176 or Pmolloy@Local802afm.org.
Likewise, if you’d like to see the questionnaires and criteria by which the union endorsed these candidates, please feel free to contact me.
Remember, the primary election is Sept. 14, and the general election is Nov. 2. Not registered? We can help! Contact Paul Molloy at (212) 245-4802, ext. 176 or Pmolloy@Local802afm.org.