Editorial: Keep Epstein in the State Assembly, send Cuomo a message from tenants

On Thursday, September 13, Democrat voters in New York will have the opportunity to vote, at the primary level, for their governor, lieutenant governor and public advocate. In the 74th Assembly District, which runs along the East Side from the East Village to Tudor City, there will also be the chance to vote for their representative in the New York Assembly.

For this seat, we endorse Harvey Epstein.

Epstein received our endorsement prior to the special election in April and is getting it again now for the same reason, his record of getting results for tenants. His opponents have argued – and rightly so – that it’s nearly impossible to beat the “Democratic machine,” a candidate supported firmly by the party, which in this case is Epstein. However, we do believe he has rightfully earned the trust he’s gotten and look forward to seeing him implement not only tenant protections but reforms to the state’s voting system as he has already sponsored legislation to do.

As for governor, we support Cynthia Nixon.

Normally, we’d be wary of supporting someone with no political experience other than using her celebrity status as a bully pulpit for her activist efforts, but we agree with tenant champion Mike McKee who has pointed out that Nixon has already accomplished much without even being elected.

Now, polls suggest she has no chance against Cuomo, but clearly, she has still managed to frighten the normally centrist governor enough to the left that he has even promised meaningful strengthening of the rent regulations. A campaign promise to be sure, but still more of a commitment he’s made on the subject previously.

That said, from our perspective, this is too little, too late. Cuomo had two terms to actively push tenant legislation and instead he stood by as voting power was seized from his own party by the Independent Democratic Conference. Once the IDC oozed its way into the State Senate, it remained intact until the latest election season got underway, blocking tenant-friendly and other Democrat efforts. New Yorkers who care about the lack of affordable housing in the city should let Cuomo know on the 13th that he had his chance to fix the problem that his Democrat challengers seem even more eager to tackle.

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