Bay Ridge

OPINION: Why I love Marty Golden, and why you should, too

February 13, 2018 By John Alexander Brooklyn Daily Eagle
State Sen. Marty Golden speaking in the Senate. Photo courtesy of Marty Golden

Brooklyn’s only Republican senator can get things done

“There would be virtually no film or television production in New York but for Marty Golden,” according to Steiner Studios Chairman Doug Steiner. “He helped create the production tax credit, and has carried it through the Senate from inception through each of its renewals and expansions. He’s been an absolute godsend for city not-for-profits, and his heart is always in the right place.”

Such a testimonial for Brooklyn’s senior Republican state Senator underlines a regrettable dichotomy in politics today, both locally and nationally: that is, no matter how accomplished a public servant might be in the realm of creating legislation, talking heads on cable and social media pundits judge them on one-liners. Golden was recently a victim of this phenomenon.

Recently Golden found himself in media hot water for an off-hand comment he made about the spread of opioids in New York State. In an article about transportation he added his concern about opioids, in particular fentanyl, by saying “It’s not a ghetto drug. It’s happening to doctor’s kids.”

The impression to uninformed consumers of information was a simple one: ‘Golden say bad thing; Golden not good public servant.’  In fact, because of his unique position in the state Senate as a Republican, Golden might just be the most valuable connection Brooklyn has in Albany.

The comment, and comments about the comment, went viral. While the media frenzy provided an opportunity for Golden’s Democratic opponents, who made arguments about how he needed to be replaced, all media coverage seemed oblivious to Golden’s decades of public service. 

Many people who have built businesses and brands in Brooklyn feel the same way that Doug Steiner does. When an elected official builds that many jobs, the maxim “actions speak louder than words” is an operable term, particularly when those words are off the cuff and not indicative of the official’s policy.

Golden’s Chief of Staff Jerry Kassar believes that the meaning of his comment was lost in translation. “Actions speak louder than words,” Kassar said. “Marty meant that the spread and abuse of prescription drugs is a scourge that transcends class. It affects everyone from the poorest victims to the wealthiest from one end of the state to the other. His point was to drive home the belief that once an individual anywhere is addicted to painkillers it can be devastating and lead to heroin addiction.”

For the last 15 years, state Sen. Marty Golden has been working hard on behalf of his constituents in Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst and Marine Park. He is the only Republican senator in a largely Democratic city so Golden’s importance to the fabric of Brooklyn is immense.

Kassar thinks Golden is in a unique position to help introduce bills benefitting Brooklyn.  “With the Democrats controlling the Assembly, Marty’s role is essential in helping pass legislation as the only Republican voice in the Republican-controlled Senate,” Kassar said. “And Marty is also able to work with members from both sides of the aisle to get the legislation passed, legislation that benefits both parties, Republicans, Democrats, and Brooklyn as a whole.”

Golden’s list of accomplishments includes the vast economic development in the borough which has boosted Brooklyn’s economy and led to the creation of jobs throughout the city. For example, he was instrumental in the expansion and development of the Brooklyn Army Terminal, Industry City, the Brooklyn Navy Yard and Steiner Studios, the largest U.S. film and television production studio complex outside of Hollywood.

Golden was also a proponent of the Barclays Center from the onset before it was even built, according to his Deputy Chief of Staff John Quaglione. “He was one of the key original supporters of the project,” Quaglione said.  Golden also helped fund the construction of the Marine Park Senior Center and the Federation of Italian Americans Organization Cultural Community Center.

“In many instances he has been the driving force for a lot of what has happened in the borough; similar to the energy and success of someone like Marty Markowitz,” Quaglione added. “Marty has put Brooklyn on the map, and on a state level. He’s become a real champion for all that is Brooklyn.”

Golden has been sponsoring bills in the Senate that directly deal with the opioid epidemic. “Just this week he led a legislative effort in support of New Yorkers fighting addiction,” Quaglione said. “The bill would authorize the reinvestment of funds into community based services for persons suffering from chemical dependence. It has already passed the Senate Committee on Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities.”  

Recently Golden has also supported a child abuse prevention bill that was signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo that establishes a temporary New York State Commission to study child abuse prevention and make recommendations for the implementation of child abuse prevention programs in New York state.

As part of the State Senate Joint Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction, Golden has called the increased funding for treatment programs a top priority.

He also sponsored a bill that lets bus drivers administer EpiPens to children with severe food or other allergies. An immediate epinephrine injection can help reverse the effects of anaphylaxis and save the life of child suffering from severe allegoric reactions.

Golden, a former police officer, has used his legislative powers to help secure funds for the NYPD and the FDNY, two groups Golden has wholeheartedly supported throughout his entire 15 years in the Senate. He recently joined forces with Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis to sponsor the “Officer Randolph Holder Law,” which makes necessary reforms to ensure and enhance public safety.

And Golden has always been tough on the issue of gun control. In 2006, he wrote a law that mandates prison for the possession of a single loaded illegal firearm.

He has also passed bills in support of our veterans, sponsored free mammograms for women and is currently offering free tax filing help to members of the community and assisting homeowners who have questions about their property values.

Golden is the representative to the MTA Capital Program Review Board, which is responsible for overseeing and approving MTA spending. Last May Golden announced that the MTA board had made X-28 bus weekend service permanent, a proposal he had been advocating for some time.

He has worked closely with the Third Avenue Merchants to have the summer stroll and helped instill a movie tax credit that brings added revenue into the community with the filming of movies like “Cop Out” with Bruce Willis and popular TV shows such as “Blue Bloods.”

“The Republican majority is in power in the state senate so Marty wields the most power here in Brooklyn,” Quaglione said. “On a state level, the Assembly is controlled by Democrats and the Senate is controlled by Republicans. Having said that, he is the only Republican senator in Brooklyn and so for any of these pieces of legislation, or any of these tax credits to see the light of day, he needs to be the driver of that agenda.”

Quaglione emphasized Golden’s ability to partner with powerful Democrats in the Assembly including Peter Abbate, Joe Lentol and Felix Ortiz as prime examples. “You need to have those relationships with Democrats in both the senate and in the assembly,” Quaglione said. “For any bill to become law it has to pass both houses and be signed by the governor. And Marty has been able to do that. With Republicans controlling the Senate, we need a Republican member to get the job done and, for us, Marty is it.”