Brooklyn, N.Y. – Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke has called on leaders of the New York State Assembly and State Senate to continue the allocation of resources to the people of Central Brooklyn and other parts of the state who currently lack a representative in either chamber of the State Legislature.
There are 700,000 Brooklyn residents (and 1.3 million around New York State) whose representative in the State Assembly or the State Senate has resigned or been removed from office. In Brooklyn, State Assembly districts 54 (Bushwick and Cypress Hills), 55 (Brownsville and Ocean Hill), 59 (Canarsie, Marine Park, Mill Basin, and Gerritsen Beach), and 60 (East New York), and State Senate district 20 (Crown Heights, Brownsville, Prospect Heights, Park Slope, and Sunset Park) are vacant.
Governor Andrew Cuomo has refused to schedule special elections. As a result, residents of these neighborhoods will not have an elected representative until January 1, 2015 – several months after the budget for 2015 has been finalized and other matters of importance have been decided.
“The refusal to schedule special elections has effectively denied hundreds of thousands of people in Brooklyn – primarily people of color – of a voice in the government of New York State,” said Congresswoman Clarke. “Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, many of these families and children will not have a representative in the State Assembly and State Senate for an entire year – a year in which legislators will debate such critical issues as early childhood education, protecting our safety-net hospitals, and the minimum wage.”
Congresswoman Clarke continued: “We cannot allow the failure to schedule a special election to prevent the allocation of resources to the people who lack representation. The legislators whose positions are now vacant supported many of the most important social service organizations and cultural institutions in Brooklyn. I believe we should continue that level of support.”
The members of the State Assembly and the State Senate from Brooklyn whose positions are vacant allocated resources to such organizations as the Central Brooklyn Housing Council, the Brooklyn Arts Council, the Marine Park Community Association, the West Indian American Day Carnival Association, the Amity Little League, Wayside Outreach Development, Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Eagle Academy for Young Men, and Brownsville Community Outreach Services.
The letter, to Speaker of the State Assembly Sheldon Silver and State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, has been reprinted here:
March 13, 2014
Assemblyman Sheldon Silver
Speaker of the New York State Assembly
Legislative Office Building 932
Albany, NY 12248
Senator Dean Skelos
Majority Leader of the State Senate
Legislative Office Building 909
Albany, NY 12247
Dear Speaker Silver,
I write to you as the representative in Congress of more than a quarter-million people who currently lack a representative in the New York State Assembly.
The election in 2013 of State Assemblyman Alan Maisel of the 59th District (who represented Gerritsen Beach, Marine Park, Mill Basin, Georgetown, Canarsie, and Bergen Beach) and the recent conviction of Assemblyman William Boyland, Jr., of the 55th District (who represented Brownsville and Ocean Hill) have resulted in vacancies. Without special elections, these vacancies will continue until January 3, 2015. There are another seven seats in the State Assembly (two in Brooklyn, the 54th District and the 60th District) and two seats in the State Senate that are currently vacant.
I ask that in developing the budget for 2015 you continue the allocation of resources to the residents to Brooklyn who lack a representative in either the State Assembly or the State Senate. Members of the state legislature have the ability to develop the cultural institutions and the social service organizations that are important to their constituents. The representatives of State Assembly District 55 and State Assembly District 59 have provided support to such organizations as: the Central Brooklyn Housing Council, the Brooklyn Arts Council, the Marine Park Community Association, the West Indian American Day Carnival Association, the Amity Little League, Wayside Outreach Development, Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Eagle Academy for Young Men, and Brownsville Community Outreach Services.
People in Brooklyn know the value of these institutions, which create opportunities for recreation, for education, and for entertainment, and allow people to obtain critical services, such as assistance in finding a job, apply for benefits, keeping an apartment, and preventing mortgage foreclosure. I ask that you allow my constituent to continue their access to these resources.
Yvette D. Clarke
Member of Congress
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.
Issues: 113th Congress