There is so much excitement surrounding the first term of new state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi that if her inauguration last weekend had been opened to the general public, organizers might have had to abandon Lehman College and instead find out if Yankee Stadium was available.
With great excitement comes great responsibility — something Biaggi already recognizes, especially with her plan to visit every high school in her district, armed with voter registration forms.
It’s no secret there are problems voting in New York where early voting and easy absentee balloting are about as rare a sighting as Mayor de Blasio anywhere outside the inner boroughs.
Yet, her first announced bill doesn’t tackle any of those issues. Instead, according to the Albany Times Union, Biaggi will work with Rockland Democrat James Skoufis to ... ban the name of the Independence Party?
To those not familiar with the Independence Party, it was the organization used by Biaggi’s predecessor, Jeffrey Klein, and his rogue Independent Democratic Conference to raise lots of money for re-election campaigns that ended up not really working.
Biaggi makes a great point: The name is indeed confusing for those who simply want to be independent, and think signing up for a party that has the name “independence” attached will somehow make them not a member of any party (the logic escapes us, too).
So yes, take some time to explore whether we should add “independence” and “independent” to the list of banned names for parties in New York — joining other words like “American” and “Empire State.” But just don’t make it the first thing coming out of the gate.
Skoufis is new to the senate, but not new to politics. His first bills as an Assemblyman back in 2013 looked to address serious issues caused by Hurricane Sandy. That is a solid way to get off on the right foot.
But Biaggi’s career as an elected official will begin with renaming a political party used by her predecessor?
Voters want change. That’s why Biaggi now works in Albany. But we need priorities, too. So maybe we can save name bans until after we first achieve just a few of some much larger goals?