They say Felder’s a fake!
A few dozen angry constituents protested in front of Democratic state Sen. Simcha Felder’s Midwood office on March 30, accusing him of being a “fake democrat” for his allegiance to the Republican party up in Albany — and for ignoring the concerns of many in the community, who aren’t part of his heavily Jewish Orthodox core constituency, said a member of New York State 17th District for Progress.
“He votes with the Republican party on almost all issues, our main goal is to bring awareness to those in District 17, that are not his Orthodox community. This person was elected partially out of our own ignorance and partially pretending to be a Democrat,” said Kensington resident Aaron Wexler. “I just want him to run as a Republican because that’s what he is, and he’s playing a game.”
Felder was first elected in 2012 as a Democrat, but in 2016, he ran unopposed and on the Democratic, Republican, and Conservative party lines. He raked in 11,872 more votes on the Democratic line than for the Grand Old Party, but still chose to still sit across the aisle — and betray his voters, according to Wexler.
“I think that that’s not democracy, that’s playing a shell game,” he said.
Felder, who just won an award for being the top Conservative senator in the state, has recently come under fire for his legislation to hike the speed limit on Ocean Parkway by five-miles-per-hour, despite statistics and warnings that such an increase could cost lives.
And he’s refused to say whether he supports the “Raise the Age” bill — which would increase the age at which New Yorkers can be tried as adults. New York and North Carolina are currently the only states that prosecutes teenagers as adults when they turn 16.
Felder gives the Republicans their 32-seat majority, and it feels like he’s stabbing his constituents in the back, said another Kensington resident who held high her sign reading, “Felder, don’t be confused — Raise the Age, not the speed limit.”
“Becoming familiar with his record and his positions has really made me conscious of the fact that he’s not completely representing his constituents, and occupying an extremely pivotal role in the senate,” said Lisa Hamilton. “I’m upset about the fact that my representative is the one who feels he can apparently auction off his allegiance to the highest bidder.”
Members of New York State 17th District for Progress are actively looking to run a true-blue Democrat against Felder, so that person can represent everyone in his district, not just his heavily Orthodox community, said Sunset Park resident Eleanor Whitney, who lives right on the edge of his district.
“It’s very important that we show up and let our voice be known, and send a message that we will be watching how he votes and will be holding him accountable,” said Whitney. “I will hope there is a real Democratic candidate who runs against him.”
The rallies in front of Felder’s office may still be small now — one back in December for “Jews Against Trump” brought out just a handful of people — but they will grow once his voters learn that he’s not on their side, said Wexler.
“The next one, there’s going to be 60, and it’s just going to keep getting bigger and bigger,” he said.
Felder was up in Albany working on the budget, due April 1, when his constituents peacefully protested — some strumming on guitars — in front of his office. But he welcomes them all back, Felder said in an e-mailed statement.
“I’m sorry they came to my Brooklyn office while knowing I was in Albany working on the budget,” Felder said. “I would have loved to meet with them in person and have a productive conversation to address some of their concerns.”
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