By Yaacov Behrman – Jewish Future Alliance
Crown Heights will head to the polls on Tuesday, September 9th, to elect the Democratic Candidate for State Senate. We have been without a State Senator since Eric Adams was elected Borough President.
Although the general election will take place be on November 4th, this election will actually determine the next State Senator. The Republicans have virtually no chance of winning in the general election.
Our choices are between Rubain Dorancy and Jesse Hamilton.
The State Senate has limited power and both Rubain and Jesse will likely toe the Democratic Party line in Albany. Whoever promises you major changes is lying or is naive and doesn’t know how the State Senate operates. Still, it is important that Crown Heights has a State Senator who is both competent and a friend.
Jesse is a friend who has lived in Crown Heights for some twenty years. As district leader, Jesse went well beyond his job requirements and was active in helping the Jewish community in our time of need. He knows the intricacies of the community and has always shown us friendship. When the knockout attacks happened last summer, Jesse was the first African American leader to condemn the violence in the neighborhood.
I’ve seen Jesse at Friendship Circle events, Lag Ba’omer parades, Simchas Beis Hashuava, Bar Mitzvah’s, weddings and,sadly, at funerals and Shiva calls. I doubt Rubain Dorancy even knows what any of these events are.
Additionally, Jesse worked for the former Senator and knows how the office operates. Rubain had very little to do with the Jewish community or the State Senate and, although Rubain claims to live in the district, his opponents question whether that is in fact the case.
A few month back, it seemed that a modern miracle was about to occur in Crown Heights. The entire Jewish community seemed to be supporting the same candidate. Jesse was someone who know both the community and the job, an obvious choice. He also was projected to win. Many in the Jewish community assured him their support.
Eric Adams and Bill Thompson endorsed Jesse while Congresswoman Yvette Clarke and her mother, former Councilwoman Una Clarke, threw their support behind Rubain. Those in the political arena know that over the last few years there is a political battle in Brooklyn between Adams and the Clarkes. The State Senate had just become the latest playing field.
Jesse still believed the community would support him due to his credentials and long term friendship.
I started to hear from Crown Heights’ activists that they are no longer supporting Jesse after Mayor Bill de Blasio released a statement endorsing Dorancy. “I am supporting Rubain Dorancy because he is the best progressive choice for State Senate,” wrote de Blasio. Apparently, the Mayor feels that Rubain fits better into his vision for New York.
These activists are likely worried that supporting Jesse may upset the Congresswoman and the Mayor, and that Rubain is more likely to win with de Blasio’s support. Some even went as far as to say that de Blasio may show gratitude if we support his candidate.
I wasn’t planning on writing an op-ed or giving an endorsement, but after an image of the Kinus Hashluchim in front of 770 appeared online with a misleading headline implying that the worldwide Jewish community is united for Rubain Dorancy, I could not remain silent and let injustice prevail.
The race is projected to be very close but it’s not about who wins or loses. The political leadership is attempting to use the community as puppets for their personal political pursuits. This is infuriating. It is my opinion that voting for Jesse will send an important message to the political leadership in New York – “We Stand By Our Friends.” I can assure you that everyone respects loyalty.
On the other hand, if you vote for Rubain you’re essentially saying that a phone call or a pat on the head from a Congresswoman or Mayor is more important than twenty years of friendship.
I am proud to join Rayi Stern, Mendy Margolin, Joseph Rapoport, Rabbi Moshe Feiglin and Mordechai Lightstone in support of Jesse Hamilton for State Senate.