Eichenstein Brings Political Thaw In Boro Park Lawmaker Relations

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The old saying that if you put three Jews in a room they will soon form two shuls is being put to the test.

That after Simcha Eichenstein, the consensus pick to replace retiring Assemblyman Dov Hikind, said he gets along with and expects to work well with all his colleague representing the district in government. This includes State Sen. Simcha Felder, City Councilman Kalman Yeger and Democratic District Leader David Schwartz. and who ran without a primary opponent and has no Republican opponent in the upcoming general election.

Boro Park has long been known to have political rivalries and an inability to bury the hatchet, even though the electeds themselves usually supported the same issues regarding support for Israel and for yeshivas and the insular Frum and Hasidic way of life.

For example, Hikind, who mentored Schwartz, fought with former City Councilman David Greenfield, who was aligned with Yeger, while Felder has traditionally been a lone wolf politically and wasn’t very close with either.

But Eichenstein said he ran into Yeger at Schwartz’ primary night victory party and the three got along swimmingly.

Simcha Eichenstein. Photo by Stephen Witt

“I think we’ll work well together,” said Eichenstein. “And I look forward to working with my colleague from the district in Albany, Senator Felder. I’ve known him for over a decade and we remain close. I used to pray at his father’s synagogue and I’ve known him a long time.”

While Eichenstein expressed confidence of working well with his colleague who also represent the district, Yager did not reply to a KCP text on his working relationship with his colleagues, and Felder refused comment on it. Schwartz, who won his primary with 82 percent of the vote, would only say, “We’ve all worked really hard and we’ll have very good working relationships.”

But Eichenstein is certainly the most visible on the streets of Boro Park as compared to his counterparts in government. Even lacking a primary opponent, Eichenstein’s team of volunteers could still be found at the polls first things in the morning on primary day handing out palm cards.

And on primary evening, Eichenstein was out shaking hands, posing for selfies with eager community members and talking issues. Even with a few hours left, he was still encouraging everyone via social media to come out to vote, and since the primary he has literally burned two holes in one of his shoes walking the district without a general election opponent.

“For me it’s about meeting as many constituents as I can and letting them know that even though nobody is running against me, I’m here for them,” said Eichenstein. “I’m not taking anything for granted. I’m out knocking on doors, greeting voters and listening to their concerns. I plan on doing this beyond Election day as well.I want to hear from people. You learn a lot talking to people, and sharing ideas and concerns.

Eichenstein’s professional life makes him well-suited to serve in the state assembly. This includes a stint working as a senior advisor to State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli for several years, and then working for several years in the de Blasio Administration as part of the mayor’s intergovernmental team.

I’ve known the speaker [Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie) and look forward to working with him in the next session,” said Eichenstein, who is interested in sitting on the housing, social services and health committees.

The general election is Nov. 6.