OPINION: Former republican opponent salutes retiring Brooklyn legislator Brook-Krasny
Last week, NYS Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny, who represents parts of Brooklyn, announced that he plans to resign from office and return to the private sector. Although we disagree on many policies, Assemblyman Brook-Krasny’s story and service to our communities is an example of the American dream, and his decision to not make elected office a career is exactly what our founding fathers intended.
In 2008, I had the privilege of running against Assemblyman Brook-Krasny on the Republican, Conservative and Independence party lines. During this race and through my time working for Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz and Congressman Vito Fossella, I saw first-hand his passion and commitment to our district. Our campaign against each other was a respectful one, focused almost exclusively on our policy differences.
Brook-Krasny immigrated to the United States in 1989 from the former Soviet Union. As a result, he has a deep appreciation for our democracy and free market system. Prior to becoming the first Russian-born member of the NYS legislature in 2006, he was a successful business owner and a leading member of his community board. Brook-Krasny’s success story epitomizes the American dream and is an example of why so many still consider the United States a beacon of hope and opportunity throughout the world.
Our founding fathers assumed that our elected officials would be part-time in their offices and have to rely on their private jobs to financially support themselves. They did not envision the emergence of today’s full-time career politicians, a development that ensued due to the expansion of government at all levels.
However, just because there is a greater role for government today, which may require elected officials’ positions to be full-time, we should not disregard the founding fathers’ belief in the benefit of citizen legislators who would serve some time in public office and then go back to their private lives and work.
Those who hold private jobs and live outside the political bubble and then choose to run for public office are in a better position to represent the interests of their constituents. Also, these officials who intend to serve for a period of time, not decades or for life, know they will soon have to live under the same laws they are legislating that apply to everyone else.
Sadly, we see too often, including in recent months, career politicians forced to leave office after decades because of an indictment or an arrest for taking advantage of the public trust that they were given when elected. Citizen legislators, like Alec Brook-Krasny, fully understand that holding public office is a temporary honor and privilege that should not be abused.
Bob Capano is an instructor of political science at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. He also served in senior level positions under former Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz and former U.S. Reps. Vito Fossella and Bob Turner.
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