Send Gustavo Rivera back to the Senate
As a general rule, honesty and dedicated service to the people that voted you into office should not be the litmus test for a politician. Sadly, in the case of the 33rd Senate District in the Bronx, bringing back a measure of trust in their state senator has been, in and of itself, an accomplishment for Gustavo Rivera.
Just four years ago, Rivera took on a polemic, chaos-driven, powerful incumbent by the name of Pedro Espada Jr.. Since his victory over Espada in 2010, Rivera has brought a measure of credibility to a district plagued by corrupt representatives.
Rivera is being challenged this year, just as he was in 2014, by Fernando Cabrera, a pastor and two-term City Councilman who is light on legislative accomplishments.
Among the concerns we have with Cabrera is the flood of financial support he has received in this race from sources outside of his district. These donations from special interests don't come without conditions, which doesn't bode well for the interests of a district that has real needs beyond ideology and regressive stances on social issues.
We feel confident that if elected, Cabrera would likely form a three-member caucus with state Sen. Rubén Díaz, Sr. and state Sen. Simcha Felder. That would burden the New York state Senate with a small block of vociferous and disruptive conservatives that would stand in the way of socially progressive legislation, which polls have repeatedly shown voters want.
There is a reasonable scenario in which a Cabrera victory could tip the balance of power in a way that jeopardizes any legislation advancing LGBTQ rights or women’s rights, even if Democrats controlled the chamber. In a state where the majority of voters have repeatedly shown that they want more inclusive laws on these issues, Cabrera’s election could be disastrous and dangerous.
We had hoped to ask Cabrera about these positions and let him explain his reasoning, but he neither answered our questionnaire nor accepted our invitation to speak with our editorial board. When informed that his opponent was seeking our endorsement, Cabrera’s campaign manager emailed this response: “...if Senator Rivera feels that interviews are more important than his constituents then so be it..."
It should be noted that Rivera did his interview with us in between campaign stops.
We are endorsing the incumbent senator in this race because he still speaks passionately about issues that matter deeply in his district, from his concerns about securing more funding for NYCHA housing, fair funding for education, strengthening rent laws and creating jobs.
Most importantly, in a district where both of his predecessors have served time in prison, Rivera has proven himself to be an upstanding public servant, above the temptations of corruption. Kudos to him for changing the status quo in the district.
We confidently endorse Gustavo Rivera for reelection and encourage the voters of state Senate District 33 to send him back to Albany.
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