By now, the whole world knows that the American people chose to send Barack Obama back to the White House for another four years. But how did your local elected fare on election day? In short, Southern Brooklyn will see little if any change, with all incumbents but one returning for another term. Here’s the roundup.
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The following op-ed is submitted by Alan Bellone, the Republican candidate running for Congress against Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries and Green Party candidate Colin Beavan in the 8th Congressional District.
If you listen to the media and the news, you will hear that you do not have a choice in the upcoming election for the 8th Congressional District. This is entirely untrue. You do have a choice, and that choice is Alan Bellone.
I have lived in Brooklyn all my life. I have had the luxury of doing business in all areas of our expansive district; from Manhattan Beach to Howard Beach, from Bed-Stuy to Canarsie, from Starrett City to Clinton Hill. I have worked with people in almost every area within the district. I have watched areas go through good times and bad. Recently, I have noticed more difficult times for business owners and home owners. It’s time for a change for the better.
I worked in the corporate world for 20 years before venturing into my own business. I started as a help desk analyst and worked my way up to director of technology at a law firm. Because of the enormous responsibility that was placed in my hands, I had to quickly transform my attitude towards work. I adopted the strategy of getting my jobs done in the best and most efficient way possible.
Now, the question is “Why politics?” What makes me think that I can start in corporate politics, advance to owning my own business, and ultimately settle in Congress?
Candidates for a handful of local elections came before the Manhattan Beach Neighborhood Association last night to make the case for residents’ votes.
Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz was first up, speaking about his work to increase access to healthcare in the community through his health fair and free screenings, as well as his role in helping establish the Maimonides Cancer Center, Brooklyn’s first and only cancer center. He also noted his efforts as chair of the Assembly’s Committee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse to raise awareness of issues in drug use – which, he said, for youths often begins with the medical cabinet at home – and to steer revenue from potential casinos in New York towards gambling addiction programs.
Mike Geller, who is running for re-election as 46th District Leader, told the crowd about his history as a lover of Manhattan Beach, and how he first got involved in politics (apparently, at the urging of Ed Eisenberg). He also criticized the Manhattan Beach Neighborhood Association’s rival group and predecessor, the Manhattan Beach Community Group, for a structure that gives too much power to too few neighbors, and complimented the MBNA for broadening participation in the neighborhood.
Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, the front runner in the race to replace Congressman Ed Towns in a congressional district that, beginning in 2013, will include Manhattan Beach, Sheepshead Bay, Brighton Beach and other Southern Brooklyn communities, discussed the extraordinary diversity of his district, which crosses Brooklyn from our shores up to Cobble Hill and Fort Greene. Jeffries said that, despite the diverse backgrounds, all residents want safe streets and more job opportunities. He also noted that he believes the greatest foreign threat of our times is the potential of a nuclear Iran, and noted that we must work with Israel to stop that from becoming a reality.
A contingent of Republicans also attended the meeting, including Russ Gallo, who is vying for Cymbrowitz’s seat, and Alan Bellone, who is taking on Hakeem Jeffries in the November elections. Bellone asked the group earlier in the day for time to speak, but was declined. A representative for the group said there was not enough advance notice.
As a 501(c)4 organization, the MBNA is not required to provide equal opportunities to competing candidates for office, and is permitted to make endorsements.
Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries defeated Councilman Charles Barron in the Democratic primary for the 8th Congressional District last night, setting the stage for a general election battle against Republican businessman Alan Bellone and third party candidates in November.
Jeffries supporters outnumbered Barron supporters at the polls by a wide margin, with the victor racking up 25,712 (71.9 percent) votes to Barron’s 10,063 (28.1 percent), according to the New York Times. It was one of the most well-attended elections in New York State last night, with more than 35,000 voters turning out - putting it neck-and-neck with the much more widely promoted primary for Charles Rangel’s seat.
Meanwhile, Congressman Bob Turner, who currently represents Sheepshead Bay, may be out of a job come January. His district is being eliminated, and last night he lost his bid for the Republican nomination to take on Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. Turner received 35.6 percent of the vote, losing out to Manhattan lawyer Wendy Long, who took 50.9 percent.
In the 9th Congressional District, Democratic incumbent Yvette Clarke won the party’s nomination to proceed to November’s election, handily defeating upstart Sylvia Kinard, who took in only 11.7 percent of the vote. Clarke will now face off against Republican candidate Daniel Cavanagh.
If you live in our coverage area, chances are you didn’t have reason to know much about Congressman Edolphus Towns until recently. After all, for the last 29 years the Democrat has represented Bed-Stuy, Canarsie and Brownsville – neighborhoods that have little in common with our own.
But, thanks to this year’s Congressional redistricting, Towns’ district sprouts southwest, pulling the communities of Marine Park, Plumb Beach, Manhattan Beach and Brighton Beach into a 71 percent black and Hispanic district.
Now Towns is stepping down, and the race to replace him is heating up. Vying for the Democratic ticket are City Councilman Charles Barron, a controversial figure citywide with a strong following in his East New York, Brownsville, East Flatbush, and Canarsie base, and Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, who has won the endorsement of many of our local elected.
But no Congressional race would be complete without a couple of long-shot candidates. Enter Alan Bellone and Colin Beavan.