As election season begins anew, the Flatbush Jewish Community Coalition has begun its annual series of meetings and interviews with perspective candidates for political office. Members of the FJCC board met this past week with four candidates for the NY State Assembly vying for two local seats. All four candidates had reached out to the FJCC to engage the Flatbush Jewish community on issues and to seek the community’s support in the upcoming September 9th Democratic Primary.
Running in the 42nd Assembly District to replace the retiring Assemblywoman Rhoda Jacobs are Rickie Tulloch and Rodneyse Bichott. Both are members of the African American community, and both are seeking the support of Orthodox Jews living in the district. FJCC members used the opportunity to vigorously question both candidates and seek their positions on high priority communal issues. Education assistance for private schools and support for special needs children dominated the conversation. Both candidates expressed their desire to represent the needs of the Orthodox community in Albany. While this initial exchange was a good start, future meetings are being planned to better understand each candidate and where they stand on the issues that matter most to the Flatbush Jewish community.
The 45th AD is currently represented by Steve Cymbrowitz who pledged to continue to use his experience, relationships and seniority on behalf of his constituents. Ben Axelrod, an Orthodox Jew who was born in the Soviet Union, discussed his ideas and vision for the future. Mr. Axelrod lost narrowly to Mr. Cymbrowitz in a primary four years ago. The questions addressed to both candidates were pointed and led to some very productive conversations. Coalition members used this opportunity to voice their concern and feelings on a number of issues including education, morality issues, kids at risk,and government support for communal organizations.
After the candidates left, the board began an important discussion of how to expand Flatbush voter registration numbers. Of the many tasks undertaken by the FJCC, recent elections have seen an energized FJCC presence resulting in better voting numbers by the community on Election Day. “Strong Orthodox Jewish voter registration numbers and voter turnout benefits our community in numerous tangible ways” FJCC Chairman, Josh Mehlman, commented. Mr. Mehlman continued, “The FJCC plans to build on last years very successful voter registration and get-out-the vote drives that helped secure a victory for Councilman Chaim Deutsch.”
This meeting is part of an ongoing effort by the FJCC to unite the rabbinical, communal and political leadership of the growing Flatbush community.