A collective of Latino elected officials and labor leaders rallied to boost Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito’s speaker candidacy today, comparing her to President Barack Obama and celebrating her closeness with organized labor.
The rally, held at the headquarters of 32BJ SEIU, served as a reminder to the many council members who were not backing Ms. Mark-Viverito that influential forces were coalescing around her candidacy.
You Sang to Me
Assemblyman Micah Kellner’s campaign for Councilwoman Jessica Lappin’s Upper East Side seat just lost a few more supporters.
Joining Ms. Lappin, State Senators José Serrano and Brad Hoylman withdrew their support of Mr. Kellner following revelations that he had sexually harassed a former staffer.
“The news surrounding Assemblymember Micah Kellner is indeed troubling. In light of this news, I along with my colleague, Senator Brad Hoylman, will be rescinding our endorsements of Micah for the City Council seat he’s seeking,” Mr. Serrano said in an email to Politicker.
After singer Marc Anthony was berated on Twitter, a pair of politicians have rushed to his defense.
Less than 24 hours after former Gov. Eliot Spitzer shocked the city by jumping into the comptroller’s race, his Democratic opponent, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, deflected question after question about Mr. Spitzer at a press conference this afternoon on the Upper West Side.
“I think the strategy is really the same. The issue is, who is going to fight for the working people of this city, the middle class, the people who are struggling,” said Mr. Stringer, insisting that Mr. Spitzer’s late entry into the race won’t change how he campaigns. “This election is about integrity, as every election is. This elections is about choice, so there is going to be competition.”
As the four biggest Democratic mayoral campaigns push against one another for every voter in the five boroughs, their focus has often turned to the Bronx, home to constituencies that none of them can lay natural claim to.
And, earlier today, former Comptroller Bill Thompson was the latest to announce Bronx officials’ endorsements in the form of Congressman José Serrano and his son, State Senator José Serrano. The duo labeled Mr. Thompson a “coalition builder” who can reach out to their heavily Hispanic communities.
Let's Make a Deal
Earlier today, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez died after an extended bout with cancer. Needless to say, Mr. Chávez, a prominent opponent of United States foreign policy whose critics accused him of dictator-style thuggery at home, will not be fondly remembered in many corners of American politics.
But in the Bronx, at least, Mr. Chávez has a booster in the form of veteran Congressman José Serrano, who responded to the news by praising the Venezuelan leader’s anti-poverty efforts.
Three members of New York City’s congressional delegation have signed on to a letter vowing not to back any White House bargain to avoid the $85 billion in automatic budget cuts known as the sequester that includes cuts to Social Security and Medicare. Both parties have been at an impasse over the cuts with Democrats favoring debt reduction through tax increases and Republicans wanting spending cuts. President Barack Obama has repeatedly expressed a desire to make a deal ahead of the March 1 deadline that includes both tax increases and proposals to reduce the costs of social programs. Now, Congressmen Jerry Nadler, Jose Serrano and Nydia Velazquez have all signed the pledge promising not to back any deal including the compromises being called for by the White House.
“Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are the great bedrocks of our middle class society and, together, constitute an essential safety net for millions of Americans,” Mr. Nadler said. “I will fight like hell against any deficit plan that cuts these programs or fails to address our immediate jobs problem. It is unconscionable for Republicans to ask those who can least afford it – seniors, kids, our most vulnerable families – to sacrifice even more and shoulder a disproportionate burden. I do not support anydeal that cuts Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid benefits.”
House of Representatives
Earlier today, Congressman Charlie Rangel’s reelection campaign touted the support he received from his colleague in the U.S. House, Rep. José Serrano. The announcement, while not a surprise, is the latest chapter in an endorsement war going on between Mr. Rangel and one of his main challengers, State Senator Adriano Espaillat.
“I support Congressman Rangel because he has fought for our community with every fiber of his being,” Mr. Serrano said in a statement that stressed his status as “the most senior Member of Congress of Puerto Rican descent.” Mr. Espaillat is of Dominican descent and the incumbent’s campaign has previously emphasized its support among Puerto Rican elected officials.
Several members of New York City’s Congressional delegation released an “It Gets Better” video today in an effort to stop Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender youth from committing suicide. Congressmen Jerry Nadler, Joe Crowley, Ed Towns, Eliot Engel and Jose Serrano and Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney all appeared in the video.
All of the members Read More
Always outspoken State Senator Ruben Diaz Sr. is not pleased with redistricting proposals that would use space in the Bronx to create a predominantly Latino Congressional district or extend Charlie Rangel’s district into Westchester. Mr. Diaz sent one of his periodic “What You Should Know” missives to supporters yesterday slamming the proposals.
“The Bronx is not a colony,” Mr. Diaz wrote. “You should know that I am just calling it the way I see it: the way the district lines have been drawn for New York’s Congressional seats indicates to me that there are some people who still believe in colonies.”