Felder Thanks WFP, Parker Tells Felder To Manup


Maverick State Sen. Simcha Felder (Boro Park, Kensington, Midwood) today fended off harsh critics for turning on his registered Democratic Party ranks, and deciding to again caucus with the Republicans in the upcoming state legislative session.

Felder is a registered Democrat but also ran on the Republican and Conservative Party lines in the recent election. While his district, like all of Brooklyn is largely registered Democratic, it did go soundly for Republicans  Trump and Romney in the last two presidential elections.

Sen. Simcha Felder
Sen. Simcha Felder

“There are a number of considerations [on his decision to caucus with the GOP]. One, it’s doing what’s best for my constituents, and two, doing what’s best for New Yorkers in general,” said Felder, who has yet to conference with the Senate Democrats since being elected in 2012.

Before making his decision, Felder met with both Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, who leads the mainstream Democratic conference, as well as Senate Republican Majority Leader John J. Flanagan. He also received a phone call from Gov. Cuomo.

“As a general rule, unless I have a compelling reason to change I don’t see why. Otherwise most of my constituents are satisfied or more with the experiences we’ve had over the last four years caucusing with the Republicans,” he said.

Felder said conferencing with Republicans makes more sense on the issues of improving education/common core problems for all New Yorkers, especially for students with special needs, and to do everything possible to eliminate Mayor de Blasio’s onerous bag tax.

But Working Families Party NY State Director Bill Lipton linked Felder’s decision to President-Elect Trump‘s selection of senior advisors and cabinet officials with “white supremacist, racist, anti-Semitic, and Islamophobic views.”

“The New York Republican Party has stood hand in hand with Donald Trump since the beginning of his campaign,” said Lipton. “If we are going to make New York a bulwark against Trumpism, Democratic State Senators must unite to show their unequivocal opposition to the racism, misogyny, xenophobia, and sharp departure from democratic norms that Trump is set to unleash.”

Felder responded that some people are only liberal when it comes to doing or thinking what they want or they think is right and anybody who does not agree is evil.

“They’re entitled to their opinions and so am I,” said Felder. “In fact, I want to thank the WFP for attacking me because now I’m sure I’m doing the right thing.”

Sen. Kevin Parker
Sen. Kevin Parker

But Sen. Kevin Parker (Flatbush, East Flatbush, Midwood, Ditmas Park, Kensington, Windsor Terrace, and Park Slope), an ardent and loyal Democrat, said that Felder’s caucusing with the Republicans doesn’t make sense from a legislative angle.

“I’m terribly disappointed that he’s decided to conference with the Republicans, and it’s laughable that he did so on policy concerns, especially on education where Republicans have a proven record of denying education dollars to New York City, including kids with special needs. Certainly, a large number of Democratic members, including myself, voted for education tax credits, which he supports, and is desperately needed for his community and mine,” said Parker.

Parker said if Felder wants to be a Republican, he should change his Party registration and run as a Republican and be honest about it. “If he wants to be in the Party of Trump, go all the way and be real committed to it,” Parker added.

Felder responded it makes a lot of sense for Parker to be a loyal Democrat without exception because if were to do anything otherwise his constituents, also loyal Democrats, would vote him out of officer.

“I have been blessed with the most liberal constituents in the city who don’t care about party affiliations. I don’t believe party affiliation is a religion or a belief. It’s a question of issues to New Yorkers and how it affects their daily lives,” said Felder.

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