After Assemblyman Dov Hikind and a key lobbyist in the influential Jewish social services organization Agudath Isreal both praised the State Senate’s decision to create an Orthodox Jewish-majority district last week, it seems unlikely that any elected official in southern Brooklyn will blast its creation in the redistricting process.
In an interview with Shimon Gifter, Republican State Senator Marty Golden praised the new district, which will neighbor his. “I was very happy with my seat, obviously,” he said. “A new Jewish seat will be a good seat for the future for the state, and I thought that was well-designed as well.”
“When you take a look at the swath of the Brooklyn, when you take a look at the Hasidic, you take a look at the Sephardic, you took a look at the Russians, you take a look at the community of Brooklyn, it’s a large, tremendous a large, tremendous Jewish community and — rightfully so — should have their own representation,” he said. “I believe we’ll hopefully see a Republican in that seat in the near future and representing them in the majority in the Senate.”
Republican Congressman Bob Turner, who won his seat in an upset last year with heavy support from the Orthodox Jewish community, supported the new district as well, saying the new seat would ”be in the community’s interest, as well as mine.”
On the other side of the partisan coin, Democratic Councilman Lew Fidler, who’s running in a special election for the seat the new map chops up to create its Jewish-dominated district, also supported keeping these communities intact. “Neighborhoods should be brought together by their commonality of interests, the type of people that live there. Russian voters shouldn’t be divided up into three different districts. Othodox voters shouldn’t be divided up,” he said.
However, unlike the Republicans interviewed, Mr. Fidler blasted the redistricting process in the harsh terms, saying it “was one of the reasons people are so cynical about politics.” He interestingly used Mr. Golden’s awkwardly-shaped district to describe a district that is part of this cynical process. “There’s no reason that — we’re in Marine Park this morning — why Marine Park is part of the Senate District that’s in Bay Ridge. It makes no sense unless you’re looking at in in a partisan, political way. People are tired of that and it should stop. It’s gotta stop.”
Watch the interviews below: