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Dem Felder honored as ‘top conservative’ in senate • Brooklyn Paper

Dem Felder honored as ‘top conservative’ in senate

Thanks Dan: After Republican Rep. Dan Donovan bucked his party and came out against the American Health Care Act last week, some grateful constituents showed their appreciation with a cake.
Rep. Dan Donovan’s office

Democratic state Sen. Simcha Felder (D–Midwood) is set to take home an award for best Conservative senator in New York on Sunday.

Felder — who caucuses across the aisle in the Republican-controlled senate, and who ran on the Republican and Conservative lines in 2016 — has one of the most conservative voting records among all of his 62 colleagues up in Albany, and says he is “honored” to get the trophy.

New York State Conservative Party leaders select about 20 bills which they think most improved New Yorkers’ lives and look at how each senator voted — Felder and a Republican senator from Upstate New York had the best record for 2016.

But among all the senators, 31 of whom are true members of the Grand Old Party, conservative party leaders didn’t think twice about handing over the award to a Democratic pol, said party chairman Mike Long.

“We look if a person does well and votes the right way. We don’t care if he’s a Democrat or Republican,” said Long. “What’s more important is we pick the bills that best help improve life in New York State and on various issues, whether it be the economy or quality of life.”

But Felder — who was elected in 2012 and has come under fire for his decision to sit across the aisle from his registered party, which gives the Republicans their needed 32-seat majority — won’t change his affiliation any time soon, because otherwise he would have no say in electing the city’s highest leaders, he said.

“The reason I am a registered Democrat is that I would say to anybody, that if they want to be able to have a say in who their next Mayor, Comptroller, Public Advocate, Borough President is, they have no say in the matter unless they are registered Democrat, and I’ve been one since I’ve been able to vote,” said Felder. “Whoever wins the Democratic primary is going to be the next person in office.”

And Felder — who says he aligns more with the Dems on social issues and the Republicans on economic ones — blamed the breakaway Independent Democratic Conference, which now contributes eight votes to the Republicans, for preventing the Democrats from reclaiming the majority.

“In terms of the way I caucus, if I had an ability to serve with the majority in the Democratic caucus, I would be happy to be there. I’m not in the Republican caucus because the Republicans are better, I’m there because that’s the only proactive way that I can get things done,” said Felder. “The Democrats who have really ruined the opportunity for there to be a Democratic majority is the IDC.”

But IDC leaders are calling Felder’s bluff.

“Since his first day in the Senate, Simcha Felder caucused with the GOP and voted for a Republican leader,” said IDC spokeswoman Candice Giove.

Felder will receive his award at the Bay Ridge Manor on April 2, in his Conservative colleague, state Sen. Marty Golden’s district.

• • •

Donovan takes the cake on healthcare reform!

Rep. Dan Donovan (R–Bay Ridge) — who has gotten repeated flak from many of his left-leaning constituents over his support for some of President Trump’s policies — received an unexpected and sweet gift after came out against his party’s American Health Care Act (also known as Trumpcare), and announced last week he would vote “no” on dismantling Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

A few dozen constituents hand-delivered a cake — decorated with the words “Thank you Dan,” and with a slash through “AHCA” — to his Staten Island office on March 23, just one day before the scheduled vote that ultimately never happened.

Donovan said he will continue fighting to fix what he considers the country’s current broken healthcare system.

“I appreciate the ‘thank you’ messages. I’ll keep doing what I believe is in the best interest of the people I represent, and I look forward to future conversations on issues impacting South Brooklyn,” Donavan said in an e-mailed statement. “This bill would not have given hard-working families relief from the burdensome premiums, enormously high deductible, and co-payments that discouraged them from utilizing the insurance they have. I will continue working with my colleagues to fix our broken healthcare system known as Obamacare.”

For the record, Donovan couldn’t have his cake and eat it to — since it would break a rule on accepting gifts — so he offered it up to local cops and visiting constituents.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.

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