Brooklyn, N.Y. – With her colleagues in the Coalition of Black Brooklyn Legislators, Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke has asked Governor Cuomo to schedule special elections for the seven State Assembly and two State Senate seats that are currently vacant, a situation that has effectively disenfranchised 1.5 million people in New York State.
“Today in Brooklyn, there are nearly 700,000 people who lack representation in either the State Assembly or the State Senate. The voices of these men and women have been excluded from the debate about the future of their communities,” said Congresswoman Clarke. “Democracy cannot exist without the participation of the public.”
In Brooklyn, the vacancies were created in 2013 when New York State Assemblymembers Inez Barron of the 60th District, Rafael Espinal of the 54th District, and Alan Maisel of the 59th District were elected to the New York City Council and a member of the State Senate, Eric Adams of the 20th District, was elected Borough President of Brooklyn. Under the existing calendar, with the general election scheduled for November 2014, these vacancies will exist for one year – until January 2015. Governor Cuomo has the authority to schedule special elections immediately.
Congresswoman Clarke continued: “We have asked Governor Cuomo only to restore to the people of Central Brooklyn and other parts of New York State the ability to contribute to the debate about the most critical issues, such as protecting Long Island College Hospital and Interfaith Medical Center from closure. Without special elections, many of the people who depend on these hospitals for medical services or who work there will have been silenced in the discussion of their future.”
U.S. Representative Yvette D. Clarke is a member of the House Committee on Small Business, Ethics, and Homeland Security, where she is the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies. She represents many neighborhoods in central and southern Brooklyn, NY which include Brownsville, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Flatbush, Gerritsen Beach, Madison, Midwood, parts of Park Slope and Flatlands, Prospect Heights, Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, Sheepshead Bay, and Windsor Terrace.