Steve Saperstein, candidate for the 46th Assembly District seat covering Coney Island and parts of Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights and Brighton Beach decided to hold his campaign launch last night at The Salty Dog, 7509 3rd Avenue, to show unity between the two sides of the District.
“I want to be here in Bay Ridge to prove a point. This neighborhood is not to be forgotten,” said Saperstein. “I’m from the Brighton Beach side.”
The Republican candidate announced his campaign to a room full of enthusiastic supporters and endorsers. He vowed to them he was ready to treat the community with concern, dignity and respect.
“The theme is anti-corruption,” he said, “the residents of this community have been wronged for far too long.”
Saperstein was referring to the seat being currently vacant due to the resignation of former Assemblywoman Pamela Harris, who resigned after being indicted on felony fraud and corruption charges. Harris won the seat in a special election in 2015, and served about three years before her resignation.
“Our elected officials are supposed to have our best interests in heart,” he said. “Unfortunately she didn’t.”
He said that the people of all parts of the district could unite around issues that affect all of them and that if given the chance to represent the constituents, he will fight for the issues everyone cares about.
“If I’m given that privilege, I will not let you down,” Saperstein said.
Republican backers were eager to get behind Saperstein, who is running for the assembly a year after receiving 40% of the vote in his city council election loss to City Council Member Chaim Deutsch (D-Sheepshead Bay, Manhattan Beach, Brighton Beach, Midwood). The district, like all of Brooklyn, is heavily Democratic, but the area does swing right and was one of the few areas in the city where Donald Trump did well in the recent presidential election.
Lawmakers in attendance were State Sen. Martin Golden (R-Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, Marine Park, Gerritsen Beach, Gravesend) and Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R-Bay Ridge, Staten Island).
While endorsing Saperstein, Golden touched on the talking points of better education, safer streets, reliable public transit and support for authorities which are outlined in Saperstein’s platform. He said that the city public schools has one of the highest education budgets in the country.
“There is no one that spends more on education than the city of New York, or the State of New York,” he said.
Golden also spoke on the city’s potentially legalizing marijuana, calling the drug “dangerous” and a “gateway drug.”
“Do we want people with a gateway drug like marijuana walking down the streets everywhere we go,” Golden questioned rhetorically. “No, we don’t.”
He also spoke poorly of safe injection sites, a program that allows those with opioid addictions to use opioids in a controlled environment. Trained staff would also have medications on site that could be used to prevent drug overdoses.
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced his endorsement of the plan for injection centers recently with the city still in opioid crisis mode. Last year, the city had 1,441 overdose deaths.
“Steve Saperstein is the guy to stop that,” Golden said.
Malliotakis said a Republican victory in the district is possible, citing her mayoral run last year where she received over 50% of the vote in the 46th district. She also took aim at the Democratic Party, and how they have been representing the district.
“What does that say about the caliber of people you are sending to Albany to represent us?” she said, “When they are resigning or leaving in disgrace.”
She said Saperstein is the right person to help her fight the Democratic policies in Albany.
“I’m only one person,” she said, “So if you send Steve with me to Albany next year, we will be speaking more vociferously than ever.”