Ben Franklin Democratic Club Endorses State Senator Jeff Klein

Ben Franklin Democratic Club Endorses State Senator Jeff Klein

By Robert Press

Challenger Alessandra Biaggi addressing the Ben Franklin Club members

In a much more civil endorsement meeting at the Ben Franklin Democratic Club of Riverdale than his last primary challenge incumbent Democratic State Senator Jeff Klein received the Ben Franklin Club endorsement once again.

Challenger Alessandra Biaggi tried to call Jeff Klein a person who kept Republicans in control of the State Senate, thus blocking Progressive Democratic legislation. She spoke of her work as a lawyer working on issues important to women, and tried stress her Riverdale roots of her Grandfather former Congressman (and Riverdale resident) Mario Biaggi. She also said that she has received the endorsement of Ben Franklin Club founder former Councilman Oliver Koppell.
During the question and answer period Ms. Biaggi was asked if she would bring the same passion she has shown tonight to Albany, and her reply was ‘Yes 100 Percent’. When asked about charter schools, Ms. Biaggi replied that she went to public schools, but that tax dollars need to be prioritized not only in Scarsdale, but also in the Bronx. Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz asked her if she is so much in favor of woman’s rights how could she work for Congresswoman Maloney’s male opponent. Ms. Biaggi replied that it was for only two weeks, and that she has $180,000.00 of Law School loans.
Senator Jeff Klein countered his opponent’s claim that he had blocked Progressive Democratic legislation rattling off several items which he was able to get through the State Senate, Klein added that on one such progressive issue that failed while the IDC voted in favor, there were two Democratic Conference senators who voted no. Senator Klein said that he has produced for the local level of the communities of his district. He ended by saying that the IDC rejoined the Senate Democratic Conference in the hopes that Senator Andrea Stewart Cousins would soon become the Senate Majority Leader.

(L-R) Ben Franklin Vice Chair Bruce Feld, Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, Senator Jeff Klein, Female District Leader Randi Martos, Councilman Andrew Cohen, and Male District Leader Eric Dinowitz.

During the question and answer period Senator Klein received a few questions on Democratic values to which he replied that it takes a majority, and even with the IDC rejoining the Senate Democratic Conference they still did not have the majority. He said that he wants outside income eliminated, and that he has stopped taking it. To a question on the MTA he replied that the MTA will get $840 Million dollars, half from the state and half from the city. When asked about School libraries, and books on the shelfs, he replied the state wants accountability from the DOE for the almost $30,000.00 dollars per student the DOE receives. He added that in small school districts there is accountability, but not in NYC.

State Senator Jeff Klein addressing the Ben Franklin club members

There were various different members of the club who spoke in favor of Senator Klein or Ms. Biaggi, but  Ms Biaggi was corrected by former Councilwoman June Eisland who stated that Oliver Koppell was not one of the founders of the club.
Of the 151 members of the Ben Franklin Club who voted 106 votes went to endorse Senator Jeff Klein for re-election. 43 votes went to challenger  Alessandra Biaggi. With 2 votes not to endorse either candidate.
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