By former Assemblyman Steven SandersSettings
For a year and a half politics have been dominated by the race for the White House, and for good reason. The stakes have never been higher and the candidates of the two major parties offer much different visions of America now and into the future. My views on this subject have been extensively discussed on this page. So anything more would just be repetition. I will just say this… I don’t think Trump could have beaten any Democrat other than Clinton, and I don’t think Clinton could have beaten any Republican other than Trump. There was more talk about Donald Trump’s serial misogyny and Hillary Clinton’s mishandling of sensitive emails, than the economy or international relations. And that is a very sad commentary on this campaign as it staggers to the end.
But there are other notable races and candidates that should not be overlooked in the avalanche of presidential ads and hype. These are the so called “down ballot” races.
The Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village voters have historically been fiercely independent and have cast ballots for the person and not the party in many instances. As a Democrat in the State Assembly for 28 years I had the good fortune to work with a number of very capable Republicans who were also supported by this community. They included State Senator Roy Goodman, Congressman Bill Green and Councilman Andrew Eristoff.
In those days, not so long ago, bi-partisanship was not considered a dirty word and working across party lines was what we did in a politically divided government to get things done. That is precisely what Democratic House Speaker Tip O’Neill did with Republican President Ronald Reagan. And the country was better for it.
This area is again fortunate to have some of the finest elected officials who are also running in next week’s crucial general election, all of whom understand the ethic of public service and the necessity of public trust. In many places this year incumbency is a political liability in what is considered a “change election”. However, in New York State and specifically our community voters will most likely choose to buck that trend. Here are a few good reasons why.
Chuck Schumer is seeking his fourth term as United States Senator. If he wins he will either become the Minority Leader of the Senate, or if the Democrats win a few more seats he will become the Majority Leader. Either way, Brooklyn-born Schumer will become a national leader of great importance. Like the late great Ed Koch, Schumer is a quintessential New Yorker. He is smart and brash and driven. His ascension to the highest levels of Congress can only be good for New York. He will bring his unique brand of gumption and street smarts to the politics of Washington D.C. His influence over national policy will be profound.
Carolyn Maloney has been in Congress since 1993. She improves with age. Although most of her years have been spent as a minority member of the House of Representatives she has used the bully pulpit very well to advocate for our district and larger issues impacting the entire nation. I have known her for nearly 40 years and I can say that nobody fights harder for their beliefs than Carolyn. Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh and State Senator Brad Hoylman are excellent State Legislators and emerging stars. With State government roiling in ethical turmoil for the past number of years, where the conviction rate for crimes and abuse of power has exceeded the number of good laws enacted, Brian and Brad have stood out as paragons of integrity and public service. They are not just smart, they are forward thinkers. They both bring a gravitas and progressive approach to Albany politics so sorely lacking in recent years. Nobody in this community need ever worry that some scandal will envelope either of these two fine legislators.
And lastly a word about Kavanagh’s opponent Frank Scala. Frank is a hard working community activist. He has run for office before, representing the Republican Party, because he believes that competition in politics matters. He ran against me 12 years ago and is running again. He is a gentleman and even in defeat always gracious. He will likely come up short again this year. But he is a fine individual in the mold of the aforementioned Goodman, Green and Eristoff. Unlike their national standard bearer, the Republican Party can be united in their appreciation of Frank.
So the shouting and histrionics of this election season is mercifully coming to an end. The voters will now have the loudest voice and the last word. So go to the polls and vote on Tuesday. It really matters.