Let's focus on flipping Klein out


To the editor:

(re: “Focus on Democrats, not Klein,” May 31)

In a recent letter to the editor, Ira Bigeleisen credits Jeff Klein’s leadership in passing progressive legislation in the New York senate. He mentions marriage equality, the $15 minimum wage, gun control laws, and raising the minimum age for adult prosecution to 18.

The reality is that each of these progressive advances were stalled or watered down because of Klein’s deal to empower senate Republicans for seven years. Had Klein not empowered the GOP, these advances would have happened faster, and the resulting progress would have been stronger. 

Mr. Bigeleisen also praises Klein for sponsoring “many progressive bills.” Anyone who understands the history of Klein’s Independent Democratic Conference knows well that his sponsorship of bills was meaningless when Klein was simultaneously helping to keep the Republicans in control of the senate. Klein’s GOP co-leaders blocked progressive bills from ever reaching the floor of the senate. 

Mr. Bigeleisen places the blame for GOP control solely in the heads of Simcha Felder. Not true. Klein and the IDC collaborated with Felder to hand hard-earned Democratic power to the Republicans. For example, in 2013, if Klein and his IDC traitors had joined with the loyal Democrats in the senate, there would have been a majority, even without Felder.

Mr. Bigeleisen repeatedly alludes to Klein getting “things done” for our district. Klein certainly had access to more resources for our district than other senators because of his deal to empower Republicans. The Republicans were extremely grateful that he abandoned the Democratic conference and kept the GOP in power. The Republicans rewarded his betrayal with power, perks, and yes, more resources for our district.

The good things provided by this money were not worth blocking legislation advancing the rights of women, electoral reform, immigrant rights, tenants’ rights, etc. 

It needs to be pointed out, if we are to believe Sen. Klein now, that he is not going to return to empowering Republicans (he did renege on the same promise in 2014 when facing a primary challenger), then he will be on the same footing as any other loyal Democrat. 

If Klein does not renege on his promise to stay in the Democratic conference, the flow of GOP-tainted pork to our district will be over.

I agree wholeheartedly with Mr. Bigeleisen when he writes, “Every progressive should work to flip the state senate blue.” The first step in that “flip” is to replace former IDC turncoats with true blue, progressive Democrats like Alessandra Biaggi. Once the IDC is defeated in the Sept. 13 primary, we’ll have plenty of time, energy and momentum to build a strong progressive majority by defeating other Republican state senators in the general election.

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Jack Marth

Jack Marth