12th Congressional District, Including Roosevelt Island

I'm voting for Carolyn Maloney. I hope you are too.

Updated 4 years ago David Stone
Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney
Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney
Source: Online Guide to House Members and Senators / Wikimedia.commons

While Carolyn Maloney may be running against an unqualified opponent tossed in to the fire because no one with a name was willing to take a certain loss against her, it's important that you vote anyway. It's a message of support, encouragement and approval.

When I first met Carolyn Maloney, she was running for the first time to unseat a Republican in the Congressional District that covered the Upper East Side and tossed in Roosevelt Island as a sort of "What are you going to do with them?" assignment.

It was 1992, and she was running against that now rarest of political creatures, a progressive Republican, Bill Green, who held the office for fifteen years. Many still blink and rub their eyes when they read "progressive Republican." It was the last time I saw the term. I'm sure I'd remember.

Anyway, defeating an incumbent is hard work, but Maloney was up to it. When I met her, she was riding a red bus that picked up my wife and me at the subway.

We'd lived on Roosevelt Island for only a year, but it was still New York. Whoever expected retail politics in the back of a gritty public shuttle?

But there she was, willing to talk about whatever came up.

Maloney defeated Green narrowly, partly because she was a well-known City Council Member, the first ever to have a baby while in office or to offer comprehensive legislation for expanding day care, but also because she worked so damned hard. She still does.

  • Govtrack regularly lists her among Congressional leaders in introducing legislation, #1 last year.
  • Ferocious in our behalf while battling the Republican current in recent years, Maloney was described by Wayne Barrett in the Village Voice as "like a tiger in the House on every dollar due New York."
  • Maloney's record on the environment cannot be improved upon, earning her perfect 100s from Wildlife Action Fund, Environment America and the League of Conservation Voters. This from a woman who represents one of the most intensely urban areas in the world.
  • In Congress, as she did on the City Council, she continues her aggressive advocacy of women's issues, from supporting a Women's National History Museum to cosponsoring the Debbie Smith Act, a bill that funded breaking the backlog of unexamined rape kits and entering them as evidence in DNA databases. This last achievement led to her role being represented in a Lifetime film about the rape survivor for which the act was named.

The last time I talked with her, it was in the spring of 2012.

I'd been pulled away from lunch by a last minute call from my editor, asking me to rush down to FDR Four Freedoms Park, still under construction, to cover the laying of a cornerstone at the base of the monumental steps leading up to its long, then very muddy meadow.

Relieved to find myself right behind City Council Member Jessica Lappin, confident that the ceremony hadn't begun, I snapped a photo of Carolyn Maloney's dedicated assistant, Bryce Pyre, holding up an enlarged version of a check like a sandwich board without the loop around his neck.

After the speakers finished and a strong box filled with contemporary mementos was placed, Four Freedoms Conservancy allowed a few of us to venture inside as long as we promised not to take any photos of the FDR bust just recently mounted.

The lawn was soft, the trees alongside newly planted, and walking down past the landscapers, I was happily surprised to find myself walking alongside the Congresswoman. I couldn't resist.

With the House now dominated by Republicans and the Republicans dominated by the Tea Party, I remarked to Maloney, "It must be frustrating to be in Congress, these days."

I expected a liberal's grumble about keeping up the fight. Instead, Maloney spread her arms wide, embracing the park being built and declared, "Not when I can do things like this!"

That's quintessential Carolyn for me. She gets things done.

That's why I will eagerly vote for Carolyn Maloney on November 8th.

Republican Robert Ardini opposes her. He has raised only two issues. First, because Maloney has been in office for twenty years, he says we need a change but never explains why a change would be better, per se, probably because there is no viable argument for it.

His second issue is the national debt, which he claims will crush us, a long time unfulfilled Republican threat, and compares it to a personal or family debt, a foolish assertion proving he has little idea of how different the two are.

Later, after declaring his willingness to work with everyone, he brags on Twitter about meeting Anne Coulter, one of the most divisive characters in American politics.

But just because Ardini is hopelessly unqualified, that doesn't mean you should not vote. It might make your vote count even more.

So, pull the lever for Carolyn Maloney on November 8th, and while you're at, do the same for Hillary Clinton. These two women really are stronger together.

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