Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R- Bay Ridge, Staten Island) today met with her beaten opponent from last month’s general election, Democratic candidate Adam Baumel, to discuss how they can collaborate to improve their district from across party lines.
Baumel, a U.S. Navy Veteran and John Jay College political science graduate, met with Malliotakis to talk politics and the issues at the Royal Diner, 7609 5th Avenue in Bay Ridge over Challah French toast and lightly salted scrambled eggs.
Malliotakis stressed the importance of former political opponents being able to meet at environments other than podiums- because they all want the same thing, to make their communities better.
“I think ideologically were pretty far apart, but I think there are common ground issues like traffic and transportation and Education and areas where we can find a commonality and work together,” said Malliotakis, who is now the borough’s only Republican legislator.
After the election was called and Malliotakis remained in office the two had a phone conversation where they decided that even though Malliotakis was going to be the only one in office, it didn’t mean that they couldn’t still work together.
Despite being apart of two opposing political parties the two agree on a surprising amount about issues like veteran services, health care, the importance of supporting small businesses, and especially public transportation and traffic.
“Traffic congestion is not a Republican-Democratic issue. It’s a human issue. We talk about transportation as well, I think, for the most part, we want to see the same exact things about subway signals and infrastructure. We want the same reduction in Verrazano bridge toll,” said Malliotakis. “Those are things we both want to see happen and I think we can find a lot of common ground with a lot of those things.”
Baumel, a driver, agreed with Malliotakis that they needed to work on fixing public transportation and traffic in a way that wouldn’t affect the working class Brooklynite- like raising the subway fare. The two continued back and forth about changing penalties for turnstile hopping and making sure if people have to pay more for the MTA that the changes are noticeable.
Similarly, they both wanted to see changes in education and more vocational schools which could help place students down a stable career path. As a working-class veteran, and CUNY school graduate who had trouble finding job placement Baumel backed Malliotakis’ points on teaching trades to students.
Regardless of their newly founded tradition to get together and speak about the issues that they’re both passionate about fixing, there remain a few issues they still respectfully disagree on like cannabis legalization and state and city sanctuary status.
After Malliotakis finished off her grilled cheese on rye with tomatoes and cleared her chicken-rice soup, Baumel promised to pick up the bill the next time, as this first date was her treat.