Focus on Democrats, not Klein


To the editor:

New Yorkers need a Democratic majority in the state senate.

Candidates need to be judged on their ability to get things done for their district. Our state senator, Jeff Klein, has long been a positive progressive voice in the senate. 

Many important laws on the progressive agenda have passed due to Klein’s leadership. These include marriage equality, the $15 minimum wage, the SAFE Act (the strictest gun-control laws in the nation), and raising the minimum age for prosecution as an adult to 18.

His ability to build coalitions in the senate benefits us locally as well: Getting tax relief for seniors, getting funding for local infrastructure improvements, and much more. He is a sponsor or co-sponsor for many progressive bills.

Sen. Simcha Felder is the reason the New York senate has a Republican majority.

The lack of a true Democratic majority in the state senate is the reason we cannot pass a number of important bills: universal health care insurance, a woman’s guaranteed right to choose, bail reform, and marijuana legalization, just to name a few.

The recent election of Shelley Mayer and Luis Sepulveda on April 24 has not given us a Democratic majority in the state senate. Nor has the dissolution of the Independent Democratic Conference given us the Democratic majority. All these changes merely maintain the status quo ante of 31 Democrats and 31 Republicans in the senate, with Simcha Felder of Brooklyn deciding the majority (Republican) caucus. Sen. Felder is the lynchpin of Republican power in the senate.

In the past, Sen. Felder has played the game of possibly joining the Democratic conference, but Felder has stated unequivocally that he will remain in the Republican conference. We should consider him a Republican.

Every progressive should work to flip the state senate blue.

Klein has been campaigning hard for Democrats and contributing to their campaign funds. If Democrats were to become the majority in the state senate, Klein would be able to do even more to advance the progressive agenda. He deserves our support because of his long record of getting things done for our district and for New Yorkers.

Recently, five senate seats — formerly held by Republicans — have become open for the fall elections. If Democrats can take some, or all, of these seats, and target others that may be won by a Democrat, the progressive agenda can become a reality.

This is the goal for anyone who cares to enact a progressive agenda. Primaries will not help us achieve this. 

We should be focusing all our energy and resources on flipping Republican seats. This is something for which every progressive should work.

Ira Bigeleisen

Ira Bigeleisen