Volume 17 • Issue 23 | Oct. 29 - Nov. 4, 2004


Endorsing in less than contested races

Although Downtown Manhattan often sees hotly contested Democratic primary elections when the race is for an open seat, incumbents almost never have competitive campaigns. While our local representatives have mostly done good jobs, there is something troubling about seldom having real choices in elections.

Challengers who truly challenge incumbents prompt vigorous debate on the issues and force candidates to take positions. Unfortunately, potential candidates who would be the most viable challengers wait for incumbents to run for higher office, die or get indicted before they run. We wish that would change.

That being the case, here are our endorsements for Nov. 2:

Senator Charles Schumer has been a reasoned voice on gun control, anti-terrorism initiatives, transportation issues and allocating funding for Lower Manhattan. He has been a leader in the Senate Democrats’ vitally important efforts to block the most extreme judicial nominees of President Bush.

Jerrold Nadler and Carolyn Maloney, longtime congressional incumbents, have been forceful voices calling for the city’s fair share of federal post-9/11 rebuilding funds. Nadler has been a leader on World Trade Center environmental concerns and an advocate for the cross-Harbor rail-freight tunnel, which will remove trucks from our streets, and a staunch First Amendment defender. Republican Peter Hort has waged an energetic campaign against Nadler, but he has fallen far short of making the case for change.

U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez has been a top advocate for small businesses and the Hispanic community.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, one of the state’s most powerful Democrats, is of course one of the “three men in the room.” Nothing can happen in Albany without the support of Silver, Gov. Pataki and State Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno. Lower Manhattan definitely benefits from Silver’s power. He has been effective in fighting for rent protections and drawing post-9/11 funds to his district in Lower Manhattan. Downtown would be worse without him.

New York State government is highly dysfunctional, and until it is fixed, Silver is an effective check on unfettered Republican power emanating from the State Senate and the governor’s office. But we would like to see the speaker take on the issue of returning state government to the people. Silver should be pushing for some of the long list of reforms constantly being proposed by the good government groups. District lines that are not drawn by the incumbents may put a dent in Silver’s overwhelming majority in the Assembly, but it also may give the Democrats a realistic chance of taking the state Senate and would likely get back to the concept of equal representation in Albany.

Assemblymember Deborah Glick is in the forefront on women’s, health and gay and lesbian issues and takes a leading role on the Hudson River Park, as well as the West Side stadium debate.

In the state Senate, Tom Duane has had to fight an uphill battle against the Republicans. He is an outspoken crusader for gay rights and gay marriage and school anti-bullying legislation. His opponent, Emily Csendes, has been on the assault, but hasn’t demonstrated she would do better.

State Senator Martin Connor, who has no opponent, has a larger chunk of Downtown, as well as the W.T.C. site, following redistricting. Yet, we wish an opponent had at least tested Connor, whose local profile continues to be too low.

We endorse Sen. Schumer, U.S. Representatives Nadler, Maloney and Velazquez, Assembly Speaker Silver, Assemblymember Glick and State Senator Duane for reelection.

But more than almost anything, we want to see Sen. John Kerry elected president. As we said in more detail last week, he is able to see the mistakes that have been made in Iraq, and is in a far stronger position than Bush to pull together a credible international coalition to help guide its future. He will make us safer than Bush, work to fix our health care problems, and appoint federal judges and Supreme Court justices who will protect our constitutional rights, including a woman’s right to choose. We enthusiastically endorse John Kerry for president.

Downtown Express is published by
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