To the editor:
(re: “Thank you, and a simple plea,” July 14)
It’s disappointing that our recently re-elected Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz took his win as an opportunity to launch charges of antisemitism and extremism at the Working Families Party in his recent letter to the editor.
Antisemitism is too serious of an issue to be casually thrown around. Assemblyman Dinowitz routinely sought the endorsement of the WFP, including as recently as 2022. One wonders what motivates the charge, because the politics of the WFP have changed little over the decades.
Perhaps, it was our active support of a first-time challenger who received 38 percent of the vote against a 28-year incumbent.
His charges of extremism ring hollow as well. By 2018, it became clear the Republican Party was degenerating into little more than an authoritarian, white-nationalist grievance cult. At the same time, the Independent Democratic Conference — a group of turncoat Democrats led by state Sen. Jeff Klein — had enabled Republican control of the state’s senate for nearly a decade.
Two years into Trump’s presidency, Assemblyman Dinowitz continued to support the IDCs leader Jeff Klein until an upsurge of Democratic voters in 2018 defeated the IDC and Jeff Klein, elected our own Alessandra Biaggi and other progressive Democrats, and flipped the state senate blue.
Free from Republican/IDC control, the state senate enacted multiple pieces of progressive legislation that had been previously held hostage, like stronger voting rights and critical tenant protections. They also elected the first African-American woman head of the senate, Andrea Stewart-Cousins.
Equating the political left with the extremism of the right is a disservice to the democracy I know that Assemblyman Dinowitz values and is under attack from Trump Republicans. Instead of echoing right-wing talking points and erecting straw-men, I would hope Jeffrey Dinowitz would use his election as an opportunity to address the many issues affecting our community, city and state.
Instead of getting hung up on slogans, engage in the conversation going on about the criminalization of our young people — especially youth of color — and how resources can be better allocated to create real public safety for our Bronx community.
In other words, instead of reacting, lead.
As the Assemblyman writes, “the challenges to our democratic system are real,” but those challenges don’t come from the Working Families Party. In fact, over the years, the WFP has championed expanded voting rights and getting corporate money out of politics. The public financing of elections that will begin statewide in 2024 and has existed for a number of election cycles in New York City was spearheaded by the Working Families Party.
In November, you can go to the polls and safely vote for Democratic candidates who are happily running on the WFP-line. From Gov. Hochul, U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, Attorney General Letitia James and Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, to our local state senators Gustavo Rivera and Robert Jackson.
If the 2018 and 2020 elections are any indication, you can also join hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers across the state who vote on the WFP line to express their democratic and progressive values. We hope that you do.
The author is a member of the Working Families Party state committee