IDC Fallout: Political Ideology Could Cost Central Bklyn Funding

The Campus

As one of New York State’s controversial Democratic groups settles into their new roles as members as the newly unified State Democratic party, more than just the elected officials are going to be feeling the changes.

Late last month, the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC) officially made the decision to join with the mainstream Senate Democrats going into election season.

Under the pact, the mainstream Democrats and the IDC would work together to gain a Democratic majority in two upcoming special elections on April 24 and this year’s general senate elections.

State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Westchester) will be sole leader of a reunited Democratic party and while former IDC Chair Jeff Klein (D-Bronx, Westchester) will serve as a Deputy. Senator Michael Gianaris (D-Queens) will remain in his leadership post.

However, the new deal brings many changes to the group’s power dynamic that now includes a reduced yearly staff budget from $2.8 million to $1.6 million for the former IDC members, who in the last couple of weeks have had to cut down on staffing.

State Sen. Jesse Hamilton

The changes in budget could also mean a change in resources for certain districts. According to sources close to Sen. Jesse Hamilton’s (D-Central Brooklyn) office this could really mean a lack of investments in underserved parts of Central Brooklyn like Brownsville and Crown Heights.

In particular, Hamilton’s ‘The Campus’ initiative aimed at increasing STEM participation and engagement in the communities of Crown Heights and Brownsville could be hit hard.

“The Campus has benefited from the hard work of numerous community groups. Because of that hard work, we have spread to eight schools, serving over 600 students. Our initiative has already seen test score improvements in its short time working with students, educators, and parents,” said Hamilton.  

Hamilton in the past used his membership in the rogue eight member Democratic Party to deliver critical educational funding to families and students in his district through the initiative.

“The Campus students should not lose out because of Albany politics. We all understand the importance of a Democratic majority and I completely support Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins. With my colleagues and our leadership, I will fight any threat that would undermine the achievements of this first-in-the-nation success story. I am speaking with legislative leadership about keeping the significant accomplishments of the Campus intact,” added Hamilton.

The program is funded until September of this year but could be decimated come the end of the year due to unexpected funding gaps.

“Students who face challenges like homelessness and housing insecurity, going to bed hungry and food insecurity, or gun violence on the way to and from school, these students need the Campus and the wrap-around services the Campus provides. These students are counting on us to get this right and I believe Albany should not let them down,” concluded Hamilton.