No Summer Slump in Bay Ridge State Senate Race

July 30, 2018 Paula Katinas
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The dog days of summer are forcing the incumbent and two challengers in the Bay Ridge state Senate race to work doggedly to win over voters.

Republican state Sen. Martin Golden and Democrats Ross Barkan and Andrew Gounardes are all busy traveling around the 22nd Senate District, meeting with voters, collecting endorsements and speaking out on issues.

Barkan and Gounardes are running against each other in the Democratic Primary on Sept. 13. The winner will be the party’s nominee in the Nov. 6 general election against Golden, a seven-term incumbent looking to win an eighth term. The district Golden has represented since 2002 covers most of Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights and Bensonhurst and includes parts of Borough Park, Gravesend, Marine Park and Gerritsen Beach.

On July 30, Golden’s campaign touted an endorsement he received from District Council (DC) 37, New York City’s largest public employee union.

“Our members live and work within your senate district and they play a vital role in maintaining the quality of life for our city’s neighborhoods,” DC 37 Political Action Director Jeremy John wrote in the endorsement letter to Golden.

“City workers keep New York working, and I’m grateful for their endorsement,” Golden said in a statement. “DC 37 members are in health care, mass transit, child care, schools and colleges, infrastructure maintenance, courts, construction, and in agency offices. We depend on them, and I’m proud to be their voice in Albany.” 

Gounardes, who serves as chief counsel to Borough President Eric Adams, has been endorsed by Bay Ridge Councilmember Justin Brannan, the Working Families Party, 32 BJ SEIU, the Communications Workers of America, NYSUT United and a host of Democratic clubs, including the Lambda Independent Democrats of Brooklyn, and the Stars and Stripes Democratic Club.

Barkan, a political journalist, has won the support of the Bay Democrats, the 504 Democratic Club and the Muslim Democratic Club of New York City, as well as former Bay Ridge congressional candidate Michael DeVito and Bushwick state senate candidate Julia Salazar.

Golden, Gounardes and Barkan all spoke out against discrimination in the wake of a shocking verbal assault on a Muslim woman by another woman on an S53 bus on July 11.

In response to the incident, Gounardes held workshop on July 26 to demonstrate how bystanders can help victims of discrimination.

During the incident on the S53, which was captured on a video that went viral, the attacker, who identified herself as “Ashley,” taunted the headscarf-wearing victim by telling her that agents from Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) were coming to arrest her.

The workshop, which took place at the Cocoa Grinder restaurant in Bay Ridge, was presented by Gounardes in association with the Accompany Project, an initiative of the Arab-American Association of New York.

“With dangerous rhetoric coming from the Trump administration and local elected officials, it’s important that we empower people to stand up to hate in our community,” Gounardes said. “I was touched that so many neighbors chose to spend a beautiful summer evening at Cocoa Grinder for an informative and engaging workshop by the Accompany Project. I look forward to the day when events like this are no longer necessary.”

The S53 attack and immigrant rights were also on Barkan’s mind as the senate campaign hit mid-summer.

Barkan recently released an immigration rights platform that calls for undocumented immigrant college students to receive the same tuition assistance as in-state residents of New York. He has also called for ICE to be abolished in the wake of a Trump administration policy in which parents crossing the U.S. border illegally are separated from their children.

To get his point across, Barkan served up scoops at an Abolish ICE-cream Social at his Bay Ridge campaign headquarters on July 28.

“This campaign is all about fighting for those who are under attack right now, especially from the hatred in D.C. It’s so important to stand up for our immigrant neighbors,” Barkan wrote on Twitter. At the social, “I spoke about how we have to stand in solidarity with our Bay Ridge neighbors who are under attack,” Barkan wrote.

Golden called the attack an “act of religious and ethnic intolerance” and said it was “beyond disturbing to watch and has no place in our society.”

The attacker engaged in “completely un-American behavior,” said Golden, who called on the New York City Police Department is investigate the incident.

“No one should ever have to endure or fear discrimination as they go about their daily life, simply because of who they are,” Golden said.

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