Simcha Felder

Felder: Cuomo hasn’t talked to me about reuniting the Senate since 2017

State Sen. Simcha Felder refutes a report that Gov. Andrew Cuomo called him.

State Sen. Simcha Felder says he’s still waiting for a call from Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

New York politicos buzzed about a personal appeal by Cuomo to Felder, a conservative Democrat who has flummoxed party loyalists by caucusing with the Republican state Senate majority since 2012.

But Felder says a story in the New York Post is inaccurate. That conversation is old news, Felder said.

The governor has not spoken to Felder on the topic of rejoining the Democrats since well before the IDC announced it was dissolving and folding back into the Democratic party, Felder said. Furthermore, he said, no one gave him any advance notice about the IDC’s plans to reunite, either.

“The governor has not. We have not had a conversation recently,” Felder told City & State on Monday in response to questions about whether the governor had approached him on the topic of reuniting with the Democrats. While he could not provide an exact date, Felder said the last conversation he had with Cuomo on the topic of reunification was as long ago as last summer but certainly before November 2017. He recalls having that brief talk with Cuomo on his cell phone in a hot parking lot in the Bronx.

As of press time, the governor’s office had not responded to questions about when the governor and Felder last spoke about the matter or if anyone from the executive chamber had reached out to Felder since the IDC and Democrat reunited.

“That’s why that story is inaccurate,” Felder said. “(The reporter) put together – you know, I don’t know if you ever buy a veggie burger that’s made of all the leftovers? That’s what that article was.”

Felder said he is continuing to wait out the results of the April 24 primaries that will determine which party has more seats in the Senate before he makes any moves. For now, he’s sitting with the Republicans.

“I wouldn’t hesitate to leave, but I need a compelling reason to leave,” Felder said, adding that no Democratic representative has approached him with any offer, either. “There’s an election that’s going to take place a week from tomorrow.”

When the IDC reunification deal was announced in early April, Felder told City & State at the time that he wouldn’t make any immediate decision. “As someone with no allegiance to either party, I’d have to be an idiot to do anything now,” he said. “How do my constituents gain? … So, either the Republicans win and I’m 33 and it certainly doesn’t make sense for me to move at that time. Or the Democrats win both seats and we’re back to the horsetrading that we talked about before.”

Another consideration is that Felder now has a primary challenger from local lawyer and progressive activist Blake Morris. When asked if Morris’ primary run might push him to reunite or if it was a way to apply pressure to him by Democrats eager to recapture the Senate majority, Felder said that if it was, it was not the right approach.

“I don’t respond to threats well,” Felder said, spacing his words with an unusually firm tone.

Then, Felder fell back into a wry, playful disposition.

“It only encourages me. You can ask the principal I had in yeshiva,” he said. “Whenever I was disciplined, it had the opposite effect – I made more trouble.”

Felder also weighed in on pending bills that are believed to be at the top of the governor’s post-budget agenda.

Early voting and other voting reforms:

“I’m in favor,” Felder said, but added a caveat. “I’m in favor of a change if and only if you require identification to vote. If part of the early voting or the other changes would come along with making sure that people have to show proper ID to vote. I don’t consider proper ID disenfranchising to voters.”

Criminal justice reform:

“I would be interested in criminal justice reform if they got family court open 24 hours a day,” Felder said.

Closing the “LLC loophole”:

“I’m opposed to doing anything about that. At the end of the day you can’t keep making changes thinking that you’re somehow going to prevent someone from doing the wrong thing. Somebody once told me that installing an alarm in your house is to prevent somebody who’s honest who might be desperate to steal, but it doesn’t really stop someone who is determined to get in.”

10-day waiting period for firearms:

“I don’t want to answer that.”

Toughening rent regulations and ending vacancy decontrol:

“I don’t want to answer that.”

DREAM Act:

“I have mixed feelings about it,” Felder said. “On one hand, I feel that it’s a good thing that people who are here should be able to get a free education because at the end of the day if they’re going to be here then they might as well get the free education and be trained. On the other hand, I understand that people such as myself say that we take out loans, we go into hock to get our kids an education when people who are not here legally are getting a free education. I sometimes feel one way, I sometimes feel the other way.”

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.