We are at a crossroads where serious decisions need to be made. All general elections are important as we choose personalities that best reflect our outlooks and attitudes and the way in which we believe government should represent us—we, the people.
There are a number of pivotal races being decided on Tuesday, November 6, and while they cannot all be addressed here today, there are several we have selected because they are important on a multiplicity of levels.
David Sussman for NYS Assembly. Locally, from the perspective of this publication’s home base in the Five Towns, there is the closely watched contest between veteran New York State Democratic Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg and his Republican challenger, Dr. David Sussman.
We are supporting the election of Mr. Sussman, for a variety of reasons. First of all, the policies and platforms he is running on are issues that are particularly vital to the burgeoning, vibrant Orthodox Jewish community in the district.
It is time to stop voting for incumbents just because they are incumbents when you may or may not be familiar with policies they support that contravene the essence of what this community or you personally stand for. This includes support of continuous tax increases on our already overtaxed community and a lack of sensitivity to the unique character of a constituency that shoulders the burden of heavy education taxes while simultaneously paying high yeshiva tuitions for students in families that may have four, five, or more children.
No one we know is more sensitive to these issues than Dr. David Sussman. As a leading member and past president of the Lawrence District school board, David Sussman has fought tenaciously to rein in spending that for periods during his early tenure on the board could only be described as wildly out of control.
Despite the fact that David’s children attended the local public schools and indeed excelled and achieved honors over the years, David could not look the other way while a community was being economically exploited. If nothing else, if no other issue attracts your attention, there is the matter of paying a debt of gratitude to David Sussman for the great sacrifices he has made—for long periods as a minority voice on the board—in standing up for our community.
There is a unique dimension to the candidacy of Dr. Sussman, inasmuch as his campaign is not only about what he proposes and promises to do once he is elected to office. When viewing the Sussman record over the years, the indisputable fact is that his actions have already saved every family in this broad school district thousands in tax dollars by taking a stand and doing what was and is right. This is the kind of person we want and need as our representative in Albany, particularly during these very contentious and volatile times.
Harvey Weisenberg has served the district well and has always been there and available when needed. If any criticism is in order, it is that being “automatically” reelected has made Mr. Weisenberg less involved and somewhat removed from the nuts-and-bolts of the changing needs of this assembly district.
That’s why we urge our readers to vote for David Sussman for the New York State Assembly on the Republican, Conservative, or Tax Revolt line on November 6.
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Eric Ulrich for NYS Senate. For similar reasons, it is important that our community in Queens come out on Election Day and vote for Republican Eric Ulrich for State Senate. An Ulrich victory will further assure us of a Republican majority in the Senate, where that party now enjoys a narrow 33–29 edge. Many of us are familiar with the claim that “Albany is broken.” We need people like Eric Ulrich in the New York State capital to work alongside majority leader Dean Skelos and others who are more concerned about the people they serve than simply currying favor with lobbyists and colleagues in the chamber.
And while Democratic incumbent Joe Addabbo has served his constituents well, his liberal pro-tax and pro-same-sex marriage votes starkly contravene the interests of our communities in the district.
The Jewish nature of this district cannot be neglected. And after all this time, and even though it is a traditionally Democratic district, it is the right time, and we have the right reasons and the right person in Mr. Ulrich, to comfortably vote Republican. Not unlike the Bob Turner election of last year, when everyone thought it would be a no-contest Democratic victory, political observers are carefully scrutinizing the Addabbo–Ulrich race for signs of change.
All indications are that the race will be extremely close and decided by perhaps as few as 2,000 votes. And those votes may very well be in the Orthodox Jewish communities of Far Rockaway, Kew Garden Hills, Forest Hills, and Belle Harbor. It’s clear that aside from the all-important presidential election, which we will get to shortly, the Addabbo–Ulrich race may be one of the most telling and important races to watch.
The Senate in Albany has delivered for our communities in numerous meaningful ways when the Republicans have been in the majority. It is our business to not only make sure things stay that way but to do our utmost to widen that margin. Erich Ulrich, a product of the Catholic school system in New York, understands the values and the issues that are important to our community. Ulrich is in favor of tuition tax credits and believes parents should have more flexibility when it comes to determining how and where their children are educated.
Perhaps the fact that best articulates the difference between these two candidates is that Mr. Addabbo is backed by the powerful United Federation of Teachers, which has already poured a half million dollars into his campaign. As we know all too well, the UFT is opposed to any help emanating from Albany to aid the yeshiva system.
As a product of a religious school system, Eric Ulrich, now 28 years of age, understands the issues that are so important to our community. This young, articulate member of the New York City Council understands the vicissitudes of the governmental system in New York. Electing Mr. Ulrich to the New York State Senate will certainly be the beginning of a very good thing going forward for the Jewish community and indeed the community in general in his very vibrant district.
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Dan Halloran for U.S. Congress. Another important race that we have been watching and reporting on is that between City Councilman Dan Halloran and NYS Assemblywoman Grace Meng for a seat in the U.S. Congress. Meng is the favorite to win the race in a heavily Democratic district, but the fact is that not even the experts have a grasp of how the country is going to vote in the aftermath of four years of Barack Obama’s attempts to redefine the nature and very character of the United States.
There is a sense that there is a tilt and momentum in the direction of change. Not the change that Mr. Obama had many of us believing in four years ago. Whatever your political ideologies or philosophies may be, it does not look like the “hope and change” of 2008 really worked out that well.
That situation may play heavily in Mr. Halloran’s favor. A recent poll showed Ms. Meng ahead, but by only an inconsequential margin. A Halloran win in Queens could shake the election landscape and would most likely be indicative of a national shift in allegiances as well as an expression of unhappiness and disfavor with the way things are being done.
Halloran—also a sitting Republican NYC councilman—is a great friend of Israel and the Jewish people. As a member of Congress, he would be an important cog in Washington’s pro-Israel mechanism. Success here is somewhat of an uphill battle because the Halloran campaign is underfunded while Meng seems to be awash with cash, albeit from questionable sources.
The good thing is that America loves a come-from-behind victory, and this would be a classic example of that scenario. How well Halloran does is greatly dependent on how strong the showing at the polls is for the presidential election. The turnout is anticipated to be extraordinary. The idea of being swept into office on political coattails has rarely been more feasible than it is this year. That’s why if you reside in this Queens congressional district, we urge you to vote the Republican line for Dan Halloran for U.S. Congress.
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Mitt Romney for President. This is the big one and it is arguable that the stakes have never been higher. As has been written in this space numerous times over the last few months, this is not an election about personalities or the candidates’ different styles. It’s not about their ability to verbally jab their opponent or score points as if they were doing fancy footwork around a boxing ring in Madison Square Garden.
On November 6, when you go out to vote you will not just be voting for either President Barack Obama or Governor Mitt Romney, but you will be casting a ballot that decides the direction of this country for the foreseeable future.
The question is whether you want the U.S. to be a throwback to the high-taxed, rampant-inflation days of Jimmy Carter, a time dominated by a failed and pessimistic foreign policy, or to re-create a better-managed and more-hopeful era, a period when the image of America garners maximum respect in every corner of the world.
Who can forget President Obama telling Russian President Medvedev—in front of a microphone that he did not know was operational—that he would be able to be a lot more flexible in dealing with the Russians after the election in November. And then there was the Medvedev response: “Okay, I will tell Vladimir (Putin).”
If one really wants to review all the reasons why we should be voting for Mitt Romney, all you need to do is read Bill Keller’s Op-Ed column in last Sunday’s New York Times. Keller, the former Times executive editor, espouses advice he would offer Mr. Romney in the foreign-policy arena.
Keller says Romney should go easy on Iran, be more accommodating to Palestinian president Abbas, and be tougher and more demanding of Prime Minister Netanyahu and Israel (of course). He suggests that Romney try to get closer to President Morsi in Egypt and that the U.S. remain uninvolved in Syria despite a tragic humanitarian crisis and the murder by President Assad of 30,000 of his own citizens.
Keller’s advice is startling, but then is less so when you realize that he wants Mr. Romney to lose the election to Mr. Obama.
And then there is the all-important matter of the economy, unemployment, crises in families, and so on down the line. The Obama presidency has been an apt illustration of Murphy’s Law—everything that could go wrong, did go wrong.
And no one admits this more openly and unabashedly than President Obama. He says that mistakes were made. He admits that he has not achieved his goals, or anything close to them, in many areas. But he also asks for more time so that he can keep on trying and over the next four years make greater and more concentrated efforts to get things right.
Comments for Larry Gordon are welcome at email@example.com.