When addressing the hotly contested race for the 21st State Senate District in Flatbush, incumbent Kevin Parker tells both the press and longtime supporters that he is a victim of “term limits.”
Yes, opponents Simcha Felder and Kendall Stewart are both City Councilmembers who are facing the prospect of unemployment at the end of 2009, but Parker is a victim of something more dire than term limits: he suffers from lethargy.
While the three-term incumbent has spent the last two years rising in the ranks of the State Senate (he’s the newly appointed Democratic Minority Whip) as well as being one of the early supporters of presidential candidate Barack Obama’s campaign – both noble causes, mind you – he has left his constituents fending for themselves in a dicey economic time, leaving the door open for two Albany hopefuls who claim to have done more for the community on a city level than Parker has from upstate.
It’s this lassitude that, we believe, is the reason he is always facing a bare-knuckled primary challenge every time he’s up for re-election while his Albany colleagues skate through the electoral process – even as all of their colleagues in the City Council face term limits as well.
Four years ago, Parker won a similar three-way primary challenge with 45 percent of the vote.
We predict that this year will be far worse for him.
Each of his challengers is tied to a different part the 21st District, which includes Flatbush, Kensington, Midwood, Ditmas Park and Borough Park.
Stewart, who has been constantly under a microscope ever since his staff members were charged with taking part in a slush fund scandal, was born in St. Vincent and represents the district’s Caribbean community while Felder represents the Jewish Orthodoxy.
Yet of the three, Felder is the one we believe will represent all of the communities in the 21st District with compassion, vigor and a splash of humor.
During his time in the City Council, Felder has proven to have both an open mind as well as a willingness to work with anyone, even when their personal and political philosophies conflict.
For example, despite his personal religious beliefs about homosexuality, Felder supported the openly lesbian Christine Quinn for City Council Speaker.
(While he did not cast a vote for her when the moment arrived and instead took a well-timed bathroom break, he’s been known to take a stand when called upon.)
Back in 2006, he made headlines when he lashed out against the NYPD, accusing a high-ranking police chief of using foul language during a riot in Borough Park.
Even though he disagrees with some of his politics, Felder has also built a strong alliance with Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has backed him in his State Senate run.
This, of course, has backfired somewhat, with many Democrats claiming that Felder would side with the Republicans in the Senate if elected.
We disagree and believe that Felder will be an independent thinker and straddle the political divide in the senate, voting for the bills he believes would benefit his entire district.
That is why we give our endorsement to Felder as well as hold him to the challenge we’ve just laid out for him.