Democratic candidates for the 39th Assembly District, the 13th Senate District and the 14th Congressional District met for a series of debates Thursday night in Jackson Heights. Assembly Member Aridia Espinal debated challengers Catalina Cruz and Yonel Letellier Sosa, Senator Jose Peralta debated Jessica Ramos and U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley debated Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Chris Barca of the Queens Chronicle moderated each of the debates. Organized by several civic and activist groups, the debates drew an overflow crowd to the Jewish Center of Jackson Heights.
Mayor Bill de Blasio today joined New York City members of the House of Representatives in urging newly elected House Speaker Paul Ryan to pass legislation permanently reauthorizing and fully funding the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act. de Blasio hosted a meeting and press conference at City Hall with House members Charles B. Rangel, Joe Crowley, Carolyn Maloney, Jose Serrano, Nydia Velazquez, Hakeem Jeffries, Gregory Meeks and Yvette Clarke. Dan Donovan attended the closed press meeting, but did not attend the press conference. Police Commissioner Bill Bratton and Public Advocate Tish James also attended the press conference.
For Mayor de Blasio it was a moment of shared interest, if not unity, with a group that he’s had a variety of political differences with. Renewal of the Zadroga Act, funding treatment for first responders ill from the effects of working in the wreckage of the World Trade Center, is a strongly shared interest transcending a variety of differences de Blasio has with City House members. It faces strong opposition in the Republican Congress, however, and a floor vote in the House is not certain to occur.
Would it be logical for Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York’s Democratic members in the House of Representatives to accept or even welcome a Republican winning the upcoming special election in the 11th Congressional District? That seat was held by Michael Grimm, the only Republican House member from New York City. Republicans hold a 245 to 188 edge over Democrats in the House and a member of the majority may be more successful than the minority members in advancing New York City’s interests. Mayor de Blasio, when asked that question by Anna Sanders of the Staten Island Advance, didn’t buy it.
Nine members of congress representing New York City discussed the upcoming speech by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Congress and whether they plan to attend. Senator Chuck Schumer and Representatives Charles Rangel, Jerrold Nadler, Carolyn Maloney, Joe Crowley, Hakeem Jeffries, Grace Meng, Nydia Velazquez and Yvette Clarke joined Mayor Bill de Blasio this morning for a press conference at Gracie Mansion intended to focus on the House Republicans’ inability to fund DHS for longer than this week.
Senator Schumer and six of the eight house members said that they plan to attend. Charles Rangel does not plan to attend and Yvette Clarke said that she has not yet decided. Many of the representatives had harsh words for House Speaker John Boehner, with Velazquez denouncing his actions as “shameful.” Mayor de Blasio harshly criticized Speaker Boehner for his invitation to Netanyahu, but since he is not a member of congress de Blasio does not have the option to attend.
Here’s what Senator Schumer and the House members had to say:
Today we spoke with Congressman Joe Crowley. Crowley, who is Vice Chair of the House Democratic Caucus and Chairman of the Queens County Democratic Party, addressed several issues. We spoke at a Three King Day celebration in Corona hosted by Council Member Julissa Ferreras.
I asked Crowley about the unfolding Chris Christie/George Washington Bridge lane closing scandal.
Congressman Crowley discussed the council speaker’s race, in which his candidate lost to Bill de Blasio’s candidate, Melissa Mark-Viverito, and his relationship with the mayor. (A little background is here.) He also discussed the mayor’s pre-K/middle school program initiative and the related proposed income tax surcharge. Here is his full Q&A.
Congressman and Queens County Democratic chair Joe Crowley answered reporters questions concerning the selection of the next speaker of the city council. Crowley has reportedly worked in support of Dan Garodnick for speaker.
Crowley spoke following a press conference focused on drivers licenses for undocumented immigrants at City Hall on December 19, 2013.
The Queens County Democratic Organization endorsed Bill de Blasio for mayor yesterday. de Blasio has been steadily consolidating his former foes and their supporters as he shifts to the general election. The Queens County organization supported Christine Quinn in the primary, having long had a strong relationship with her. They put on a strong, enthusiastic rally for de Blasio, however, with a wide range of Queens Democrats joining Chairman Joe Crowley in front of Borough Hall.
de Blasio Press Q&A:
At a morning press conference focused on condemning Iran, de Blasio had declined to answer any questions from the press, promising to do so at the afternoon Queens rally, all while he led a pack of reporters on a three block walking chase. He fulfilled his morning promise at the Queens rally. Here is Bill de Blasio’s full Q & A with the press.
Update – Crowley/de Blasio Highlights:
Here are highlights from the remarks of Joe Crowley and Bill de Blasio.
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