New York City

A Lifelong Democrat, I Can’t Vote for Rebecca Seawright

I’m a lifelong Democrat, but I can’t vote for Rebecca Seawright. My reasons are as plain as they are simple. Who does she represent?

By David Stone

Roosevelt Island News Today

With a single exception, I’ve been a registered Democrat since I became eligible to vote. The exception came in the 1980s, before my move to New York, but it’s relevant today.

I can't vote for Rebecca Seawright, at least partly because she's owned by Governor Cuomo.
Governor Cuomo endorsed her, and that’s one reason I can’t vote for Rebecca Seawright.

After tangling with Erie County Democratic boss Joe Crangle, the man who ruined Bela Abzug, I marched down to the board of elections and became an independent.

But in 1981, I voted for Jimmy Griffin for mayor of Buffalo. Although Jimmy was a Democrat, he won in 1977 on the Conservative Party line. After that, he was reelected three times as a Democrat, and he was so popular, the Republican and Conservative Parties cross-endorsed him.

The reason I — and so many others in Buffalo — loved Jimmy Griffin wasn’t his politics, although they were clearly populist. It was because Griffin, a man of the people, practiced good governance.

It may sound innocent in these days of polarizing politics, but Jimmy Griffin devoted himself to cleaning the streets, sprucing up the city and the simple things that make urban life more enjoyable.

He made sure the snowplows worked, getting streets cleared quickly, a task that multiple machine-lead mayors failed with. In Buffalo, good governing counted.

For me, it still does.

That’s why I voted three times for Jimmy Griffin, and why I can’t vote for Rebecca Seawright.

In the details, why I can’t vote for Seawright

In 2014, I became a strong Seawright supporter. Covering the election for replacing Micah Kellner in the state assembly, I watched her stand out against a strong field in the primary. All men.

She stood out, not for her gender, but for her wise outreach across political boundaries, the makings of good governance.

I thought she resembled Hillary Clinton, the one who was voted most popular woman in the world, 19 out of 20 years, until Republican disinformation campaigns soiled her exemplary record.

I voted for Seawright in 2014, and then, I voted for her again.

But then, I didn’t vote for her a third time because she never matured as the plugged into the people politician I expected.

In short, I can’t vote for Rebecca Seawright because, absorbed in Albany power, she decided to represent her party, that is — Governor Cuomo, not her constituents.

Even as he endorsed her, this year, amid a flurry of blather, the only tangible achievement Cuomo came up with was a bill requiring “insurance companies to pay for 3D mammograms, vital to early detection of breast cancer.”

I’m happy she did that, but in six years in Albany, shouldn’t there be a little more?

Flops, failures and dirty campaigning…

Rebecca Seawright favors the right things: a fairer shake for women at work; respect for the LGBTQ community; and universal healthcare.

But her problem’s in the practice. Her support amounts to little more than writing letters, posing for photos and handing out awards. When push comes to shove, she doesn’t do either.

I can’t vote for Rebecca Seawright because, when the rubber hits the road, she looks both ways and follows Cuomo. Wherever.

Locally, on Roosevelt Island, her failures have been stark.

Early on, she advocated for a residency requirement at RIOC, an agency run by Cuomo out of Albany. Former RIOC president Susan Rosenthal muttered that Seawright was “an enabler” for local grievances.

But not for long.

When legislation for RIOC president residency finally became possible, with Democrats winning state senate control in 2018, Seawright dropped that idea with barely an “Oops!”

I asked her why. Her spokesperson said she’d talk it over with Senator Serrano, a familiar dodge, but never got back to me on it.

And Cuomo praises her independence. With a straight face.

She’s also given lip service to an elected RIOC board, but of course, words without actions are… well, what the party expects of her. She once railed against “taxation without representation,” but now?

S’okay by Seawright.

That party dished out a quarter of a million dollars, directly from Albany, for her reelection, even though she’s not running as a Democrat. And her campaign against the only Democrat in the race, progressive Patrick Bobilin, has been both dirty and hypocritical.

For the record, according to her recent filing, in contrast, Seawright did not collect a single dime from Roosevelt Island.

Maybe it was because of her rolling over for real estate owners on sub-metering, or maybe it was her treacherous flip flop on the Save Our Shorelines protest.

Whatever it was, local residents got the message. Rebecca Seawright does not support those of us walking the streets, trying to preserve community values.

I can’t vote for Seawright conclusion…

After six years of watching Seawright, I can’t vote for her because what I’ve seen is a conversion. From progressive advocate to focusing on job retention.

Her own.

And that means toeing the line for Governor Cuomo and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, the folks dumping hundreds of thousands into her campaign, not voters.

Until recently, I thought I’d have to chose between Bobilin and Liberal/Republican Lou Puliafito, but things changed.

With a huge campaign war chest funded from Albany, Seawright’s blatantly hypocritical attacks against Bobilin forced him to withdraw. In doing so, Seawright disenfranchised countless voters who won’t find Bobilin’s name anywhere on the ballot.

I can’t vote for Rebecca Seawright…

…and so, that leaves only Lou Puliafito.

Seawright supporters, including some in the local media, argue that his Republican party endorsement disqualifies him. But in reality, Republicans like him because he favors lower taxes and smaller government. Those things, ladies and gentlemen, are favored by people on the streets here, not inside Cuomo’s Albany bubble.

With no real achievements to boast of, Seawright’s team struggles to link Puliafito with President Trump, but is that really relevant?

Trump’s got nothing to do with funding schools, fostering business and sponsoring better healthcare in New York.

That’s the state legislature, and that’s what’s at stake in this election.

I can’t vote for Seawright because she’s done next to nothing positive for my community, and we need change. We need to send Cuomo a message, or we’ll be stuck where we are with a bumbling, mediocre at best RIOC for who knows how long.

I’m voting for Lou Puliafito on the Liberal party line.

How about you?

2 replies »

  1. I read David Stone’s recent views about the opportunity voters have this Tuesday, November 3 to re-elect Assemblymember Rebecca Seawright on the “Rise and Unite” party line. Let me say, most charitably, that he may not be aware of her impressive legislative record. Permit me to help. Here are two examples of many.

    “The Jewish World” and the “ Manhattan Jewish Sentinel” endorsed Rebecca this past week , saying “ First elected in 2014: Assemblywoman Seawright has fought hard to represent her community’s interests. As Secretary of the Majority Conference, she has sponsored 40 and co-sponsored 897 individual pieces of legislation. Most elected legislators take 20 years to accomplish that. Seawright has done it in six.” These have included tenants rights, environmental and criminal justice reform, codification of “Roe vs. Wade” into state law, unemployment, childcare and health care benefits, small business assistance, consumer protection, support for public education, just to name a few of her many initiatives. (You can read about the many laws she achieved by visiting her website at rebecca.seawright.com ).

    The Citizen’s Union, one of the oldest and highly-regarded good government organizations in the nation, endorsed Rebecca last month saying,” Given the high level of constituent services she provides her district, as well as her strong legislative record, Citizens Union proudly endorses Assemblywoman Rebecca Seawright”.

    There are nurses, teachers, professors, hospital workers, transit workers, security guards and more who live on Roosevelt Island, the Upper Eastside and Yorkville. Their labor unions, their professional associations, have all endorsed and are campaigning for Rebecca—including the union which represents her current opponent.

    It is sad that one of her prior opponents chose to run for an office that he was not eligible for under the provisions of the New York State Constitution. You simply must be a NYS resident for at least five years prior to the election for the New York State Assembly job you wish to run for. The NYS Appellate Division unanimously removed him from the ballot because he did not meet that minimum qualification. The NYS Court of Appeals rejected his appeal and the Appellate Division denied him a second time. It was a fraudulent run from the start. Even a spin master cannot change that reality.

    Finally, a Republican Party Trump-supporting wolf wearing Liberal Party sheep’s clothing for one election is deception at best and hypocrisy at its worst. We just endured almost four years of Donald Trump deceiving voters. Enough is enough.

    I encourage all to vote to re-elect Assemblywoman Rebecca Seawright on the “Rise and Unite” Party line this November 3. She merits our support the old-fashioned way.
    She earned it!

    Sent from my iPad

    • Editor’s note: Linda Kane, although she previously declined to acknowledge it after a direct question, is an active member of the Seawright campaign, a campaign that set high water marks for dirty politics.

      Furthermore, this recitation of achievements, as we have said before, shows not a single item directly related to Roosevelt Island or the Upper East Side. In fact, she repeatedly failed to fulfill a promise to help reform RIOC. RIOC, like Seawright, is a member of Team Cuomo, owned by the governor.

      I should add, as well, that Seawright’s media representative has refused to answer direct questions about these topics and for obvious reasons. She failed for six straight years, and if reelected, will fail for two more.

      That’s unfortunate. Seawright can do better but choses instead to take her orders, not from constituents, but from Cuomo and assembly speaker Carl Heastie.

      Finally, I have direct experience with Seawright’s “constituent services.” When the going got tough, and she would have to stand tall against RIOC and real estate favorites, she left me twisting in the wind. I would be happy to document in full for anyone who is interested in learning more.

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