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
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.
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.
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?