Bay Ridge

Golden-Kemmerer race heats up a week before Election Day

October 27, 2014 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
State Sen. Marty Golden (left) is running for a seventh term in office. James Kemmerer (right) is trying to stop him. The two candidates are pictured at a recent political debate. Eagle photo by Paula Katinas
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State Sen. Marty Golden is a man on a mission, according to sources in his re-election campaign. The lawmaker, who is running for a seventh term representing the 22nd Senate District in southwest Brooklyn, is focused not only on trying to win on Nov. 4,  but also on getting the lion’s share of votes in the Bay Ridge portion of his district.

Golden (R-C-Bay Ridge-southwest Brooklyn) lost his home turf of Bay Ridge to Democrat Andrew Gounardes in the 2012 election and is determined not to let that happen again this time around, aides told the Brooklyn Eagle. Golden won re-election that year, largely because of a strong showing in neighborhoods like Marine Park, Gerristen Beach and Manhattan Beach. But Gounardes, a lawyer who now serves as chief counsel to Borough President Eric Adams, earned more votes in Bay Ridge than Golden did. Both Golden and Gounardes live in Bay Ridge.

Democrat James Kemmerer, owner of a tech company, is running against Golden this year and is determined to keep the incumbent from winning Bay Ridge, or any other part of the district for that matter.

In debates and on the campaign trail, Golden, a retired police officer and former owner of the Bay Ridge Manor catering hall, is touting his record of getting funding for local schools and parks, fighting for improved transportation services and working to bring jobs to Brooklyn. This year alone, he got $200,000 for schools in his district, he said.

Golden, who was first elected to the state senate in 2002, said he also successfully fought to get the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to bring back the B37 bus on Third Avenue and is developing a proposal to have an express bus line that would serve Dyker Heights residents. “It would run along 75th Street,” he said.

Golden also said he has used his senate discretionary funds to provide funding for summer concerts in parks, a Haunted Halloween Walk in Owl’s Head Park, the Senior Idol talent contest and other events that give residents something to enjoy and that improve the quality of life in the communities he represents. He also provided funding for free flu shots for senior citizens, he said.

Across a series of debates, the two candidates have gone head to head over a variety of issues.

Kemmerer has charged that Golden is part of a politically corrupt class of politicians in Albany, is in the pocket of real estate developers and doesn’t put the best interests of his constituents first. Kemmerer said that by contrast, he would put the constituents first. “I am not for sale,” he said at a debate sponsored by the Dyker Heights Civic Association earlier this month. Kemmerer also charged that Golden has used the Bay Ridge Manor, the catering hall he used to own that is now owned by one of his relatives, to hold taxpayer-sponsored events that financially benefitted his family.

Golden vehemently denied Kemmerer’s contentions. Golden said he followed the letter of the law when it came to holding events at the Manor. And a recent bill Kemmerer criticized him for supporting, to give tax abatements to a millionaire real estate developer, was also supported by Democrats Peter Abbate and Alec Brook-Krasny in the assembly, Golden said. But Golden “didn’t just vote for the bill, he inserted language into the bill,” said Kemmerer, who added that the final version of the bill was much more favorable to the developer.

At the Dyker Heights debate, Kemmerer said he wasn’t impressed by Golden’s funding list. Activities like free flu shots and summer concerts would take place regardless of who the state senator is, according to Kemmerer.

As a small business owner, Kemmerer, a Bay Ridge resident, said, “I know how the economy works.” He would be able to work on economic issues with a special understanding, he said.

Kemmerer, who is making his first run for public office, said a vote for him would be a vote to help get rid of corruption in Albany.

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