Why I Personally Support Carl Heastie for Speaker of the NYS Assembly

CH_Pic_1_It is with great enthusiasm that I wholeheartedly support Assemblyman Carl Heastie for Speaker of the New York State Assembly.

I support him as a Reform Democrat from the 1960s, a gay man, a person with a disability and as an animal rights activist. I support him as a born and bred Bronxite.

My political activism goes back to the days of Charlie Buckley, who I opposed, and I helped elect reformers such as Congressman Jack Bingham and Jim Scheuer, Assemblyman and then Bronx Borough President and Attorney General Bob Abrams, Assemblyman and then Senator and then Congressman Bobby Garcia, Assemblyman and then Congressman Jose Serrano and countless other Reformers who served our City and State. I have worked closely with Congressman Eliot Engel and Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, both long time Reform Democrats. I hope that my political history shows my commitment to what REFORM means.

Carl Heastie has been the most inclusive, transparent, politically honest County Leader I have ever worked with. As soon as he was elected County Leader he appointed me Vice Chair of the Bronx Democratic County Committee and its liaison to the LGBT, animal rights and disabled communities. He does not look over my shoulder but there are times I upset him. But he gives me total leeway. TOTAL.

For the first time ever Carl Heastie had the Bronx Democratic County Committee march behind its banner in the Heritage of Pride Parade. He did evolve on marriage equality and voted for it at least twice. This was partly due to his sitting down and speaking to those closest to him. He supports GENDA, he supports banning all discrimination that still exists against the LGBT community. He opposes the outdated and barbaric psychological “treatments” used to cure homosexuality, a practice which causes more harm and distress to the person who received it than any type of good.

He has supported animal rights since he was young, taking home an abandoned pit bull, providing it with needed medical help, and raised it. Two years ago Carl hosted a forum on animal rights which was attended by local and national animal right organizations. The forum was chaired by Carl, John Phillips, and myself.

BDCC is totally accessible to the disabled with most of its clubs being accessible as well. Memorandum have gone out requesting not only that clubs be accessible but that political events be accessible.

For the first time in the Bronx, The Executive Director of BDCC is female and so is the First Vice Chair. Gender bias going back to the smoke filled rooms is history under his leadership.

Carl Heastie is a private man. He does not often show his emotions and his passions. I know that he is a very sensitive and understanding human being. A mensch. He never favors one race, religion, nationality, gender or sexual orientation over another. The Executive Committee of the Bronx Democratic County Committee under Carl Heastie is more inclusive than any other time in the political history of the Bronx.  New York State needs him as Speaker of the New York State Assembly.

Of course, while most of my words are that of praise, there were times when Carl was aligned with individuals of very dubious reputation. With my age and experience, I can say that at some point we all regret some of our past associations. Look at past “reformers” such as Alan Hevesi. When Carl and I both were members of the NYS Democratic Committee and when he was elected to the NYS Assembly  I didn’t really know him until he became County Leader in 2008 and I got to work with him. Now I know him and have the greatest respect for him.

These are the reasons why I, personally, support Carl Heastie for Speaker of the NYS Assembly.

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