To the editor:
(re: “Focus on Democrats, not Klein,” May 31)
We agree with Ira Bigeleisen that “every progressive should work to flip the state senate blue.” But we are compelled to reject his opinion that “primaries will not help us achieve this.”
Too many women, children, workers and other New Yorkers have been hurt because Jeff Klein led seven other senators, who were elected as Democrats, to form the Independent Democratic Conference, and sell the control of the state senate to the Republicans for personal perks. It is time to replace them with Democrats who will remain committed to their principles and constituents like Alessandra Biaggi, who is challenging Klein in Senate District 34.
Only by gazing through a distorted lens could we believe that claim that Klein’s leadership is responsible for passage of “important laws on the progressive agenda.”
The truth is the IDC’s corrupt behind-the-scene deal to give the Republicans the “majority” in the senate let them block legislation from coming to the senate floor.
Klein and the other turncoat IDC Democrats have had it both ways — they co-sponsor and verbally support progressive legislation while knowing that they never have to put their votes where their mouths are. (Simcha Felder, who added a ninth vote to the IDC’s eight, does not bear the blame alone).
As a result, many bills passed by the New York Assembly have died in the senate, including codification of Roe v. Wade to protect New York women if the U.S. Supreme Court reverses that case; the New York Health Act; prevention of price gouging on medicine; the Dream Act and the New York State Reuniting Families Act; a minimum wage for home health care workers; protection of tenants through curbs on rent increases; criminal justice reform; laws that would protect the right to vote, such as early voting and voting by mail; and much more.
The dissolution of the IDC under pressure from Gov. Cuomo does not give us much comfort that it will not return to business as usual, especially in light of its recent fundraising dinner where the $1,000 per plate went to the IDC, not the senate Democrats.
The only sure way to make the senate “true blue” — transparent and inclusive — is to elect Biaggi and other challengers to Klein and his IDC cronies in the September primaries. Then we can turn our attention to electing them and other real Democrats in November.
The author writes on behalf of members of Riverdale Huddle, which includes Sue Ellen Dodell, Annemarie Golden, Julie Marcus, Judith Minkoff-Grey, Mihaela Ghiuzelli, Ruth Mullen, Carol Radel and Dale Wolff.