Democratic State Senator Malcolm Smith, who is floating his name as a potential Republican mayoral candidate in 2013, says he’s reaching out to all communities to gather support for his mayoral campaign. And in an interview with Y0ssi Gestetner, he explained why he might have some particular appeal in the Orthodox Jewish community.
“I always boast about Yeshiva Darchei Torah, which is in the district that I represent,” Mr. Smith said of his support from Orthodox voters, mentioning the Jewish school in Far Rockaway. “More importantly, it’s the same values and interests that we share in the Orthodox community, and that is the job that I would have as mayor, … trying to help everybody and trying to help individuals who are in need and have a better life for them and their family.”
“I’m just another person from the neighborhood, I’m the guy you can talk to, knowing you will be able to talk to and touch,” he continued. “Doesn’t matter whether I was mayor of the City of the New York or majority leader, I pride myself in not changing and being the same person. I’m no better than the guy on the street that’s homeless. I look at myself the same way. And so therefore it’s important for me to be able to relate to people as an everyday person and I think that is what makes the difference.”
Mr. Smith also weighed in on a hot button policy issue in the Orthodox community — Mayor Bloomberg’s proposed ban their ritual circumcision practices.
“You know, Gestetner, I have been brought up and raised in such a way that I always respect the belief of particular individuals,” he said when asked about it. “It’s a 3,000 year old tradition. I understand the importance of public safety and everybody wants that, I’ve always learned to respect the beliefs and followings and customs of individual groupings and I think that would be the best position that anybody should take.”