VID’s February Meeting Spotlighted Seven Congressional Candidates, Two Were Endorsed
With seven congressional candidates in the wings, President David Siffert began his February Meeting President’s Report with some announcements:
- A special meeting on February 18 to interview and endorse Civil Court Judges for District 1 and county-wide
- February 20 VID will hold a Budget Justice Town Hall to discuss the necessity of raising taxes on the wealthy in order to preserve certain social programs, and the possible effects of the Governor’s arbitrary 2% spending cap
- Petitioning starts February 25
- A petitioning kickoff breakfast will be on the 29th
- V0teBlue organizing event on March 7 in conjunction with HK Dems
- The March 12 meeting will include a Presidential endorsement
- Saturday March 14 will begin the days of action which include carpooling to Pennsylvania for petitioning and door knocking. Those interested in going to Bucks County on a Saturday or Sunday can email email@example.com.
- The April meeting will be moved up to the 2nd because of a conflict with Passover, and
- The Gala will be on May 7th at Tio Pepe.
District Leader Report
Jen Hoppe gave the District Leader Report, noting that she had met with Deborah Glick on Friday. She’s soliciting poll workers. She gave a shout out to Melissa Carty, who had accompanied her to New Hampshire for electioneering. Jen is pushing Nate McMurray in a special election in NY’s 27th Congressional District.
Congressional Candidates – 10th Congressional District
Darryl Hendricks, running for the 10th Congressional District, spoke. He thanked everyone, including Jerrold Nadler, his incumbent opponent, and sympathized with Nadler’s family problems (his wife’s illness). He had a platform for the working class poor, the homeless and abused. He also said climate change was the most important factor in transforming the economy for the 21st century. He advocated replacing fossil fuels with data, pushing new technology called li-fi to fight climate change, a UBI, a value-added tax, addressing job displacement because of technology, and bringing conservatives and progressives together.
Next up was Lindsey Boylan, also running for Nadler’s seat. She spoke of the district as being the most unequal in the nation, including some of the wealthiest people and a large number in NYCHA. She said Jane Jacobs was her hero, and in her last job had pushed for $150M for NYCHA. She spoke of the dismal recovery in Puerto Rico, and how Puerto Ricans were being ignored. She spoke of climate change, mental health services, and her wish to be on the Energy and Commerce Committee (she is anti-fracking). She said her campaign money came from people, not companies.
Last up was Jerry Nadler, the incumbent Congressperson. He spoke of two existential threats: climate change–the oceans are very close to acidifying–and the assault on liberties, the greatest threat to democracy and the republic since the civil war. He compared what is going on with the Weimar Republic and Hitler’s strategies in consolidating his dictatorship.
He spoke of becoming the chair of the Judicial Committee last year, and how it took nine months to convince the party leadership to impeach. He said you can’t allow Trump’s conduct to be normalized. He also said that 40% of all bills come from the Judicial Committee. He spoke of passing the ERA today. He is mostly funded by individuals and does not take fossil fuel money. One major goal is to rewrite the law to break up concentrations of power, which holds wages down. He likes Liz Warren because she pushes a wealth tax.
After discussion, a vote was taken, and Nadler won with 34 votes, one for Lindsey Boylan.
Congressional Candidates – 12 Congressional District
Now Peter Harrison spoke –he’s running against Carolyn Maloney in the 12th Congressional District. He’s a housing activist, a teacher, and a union member. He wants to solve the affordable housing crisis with three foci: a home guarantee, and closing homeless shelters; cities must work for everyone, and the MTA should be free and green; and the economy must work for everyone–corporate money must be out of the economy. He said he had been against the Amazon deal and was proud it was defeated. He advocated reforming the tax codes and worked in Housing Justice for All.
Next was Suraj Patel, running for the same seat, who said the promise of New York is still broken. His family were immigrants, and his father was an MTA engineer and a union member. He became a lawyer and worked for Obama. He said his vision was bold and progressive, and we need Trump out in November. He has a five point program: medical leave for all; nationwide pre-K; nationwide child care; medicare for kids; and UBI for kids. He spoke of Maloney sponsoring anti-vaccine bills, and said he’s anti-fracking nationally and in New York State. He outraised Maloney by $100K.
Carolyn Maloney, just back from Washington, was next. She spoke of passing the ERA, and building a woman’s museum on the mall in Washington, an idea she pushed when she was in the City Council. She spoke of the President’s impeachment, and that he was one of only three to experience that in history. She was instrumental in passing the 9/11 compensation bill. She is for affordable medical care for all, and a credit card bill of rights. She said a bill on overdraft needs to be passed. She came to New York as a teacher, and taught in East Harlem–she advocated for free college and abolishing college debt. She asked for VID’s endorsement, and said she supports vaccination.
Last up was Lauren Ashcraft, running for the same seat. She spoke of her origins–her grandfather was a coal miner, and her grandmother had been a Japanese immigrant. At one point, her family had been supported by Social Security, and she felt SS benefits should be increased. She decried concentration camps for immigrants and separating children, and said we don’t have a fighter for immigrants seeking freedom–she would fight for them. Her grandfather had become a quadriplegic, and she wanted to fight for accessability. Currently, 75% of NY subway stations have no elevator. If there’s no access, the MTA must be sued. The Americans with Disabilities Act must be expanded.
She said she’s an activist and a comedian with Collection Box Comedy. She wants to transition into non-fossil fuels immediately, and end subsidies for the fossil fuel industry. She feels we need a term limits discussion, and wants preconditions on every dollar in foreign aid. She’s a pacifist, with an undergrad degree in international relations. She would like to serve on the Financial Services Committee, where she can regulate the banking industry and re-impose Glass-Steagall.
After discussion of the seven Congressional Candidates, there was a vote. Carolyn Maloney won with 23 votes, Ashcraft was second with five, Harrison third with 3, and Patel had one. In addition, there were two “no endorse” votes.
President Siffert again outlined the calendar he had spoken of in his Report, and promised to email it to all members.
Gil Horowitz spoke of an upcoming demonstration protesting the building of a luxury tower at 9 Fifth Avenue, a project which VID opposes, and urged members to come and lend your voices.
Ben Yee, State Committeeman, advised people they can apply to be a delegate for their chosen Presidential candidate. There will be a slate of candidates, and if the convention is brokered, the delegates must stand for their candidate. He predicted there will be contested races.
The meeting was adjourned.