Democratic candidate for the 11th district in congress, Vincent Gentile met with the leadership of the Flatbush Jewish Community Coalition, FJCC, for a broad discussion on local, national and international issues.
The NYC Council member is the chair of the Council Oversight Committee, and the most senior member in the City Council. Mr. Gentile a former State Senator is seeking the congressional seat vacated by Rep. Michael Grimm who resigned last December. The 11th congressional district includes Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn, including a significant area of the greater Flatbush/Midwood community. Members of the FJCC executive board discussed issues important to the Orthodox Jewish community including support for Israel, Homeland and communal security, the social safety net, and education. The meeting was hosted by executive board member Leon Goldenberg, and chaired by FJCC Chairman Josh Mehlman.
Chaskel Bennett, FJCC co-founder and Alan Esses, a prominent member of the Sephardic community and executive board member of the FJCC, stressed that our community is concerned that any congressional representative, Democrat or Republican, be an unwavering supporter of Israel, despite any possible pressures from Washington.
Respected activists, Moshe Zakheim, Peter Rebenwurzel, and Larry Spiewak active in many social service advocacy groups discussed the need for an advocate for the underprivileged and challenged in the district, while Leon Goldenberg made the case for the pressing need to assist those families struggling with the costs of private school education.
Mr. Gentile declared that he is a conservative and did not get or seek the endorsement of liberal groups, and will be an advocate for his constituents especially those financially struggling. A Brooklyn resident, Mr. Gentile made the case that as a former state senator he represented parts of Staten Island and Brooklyn and feels he is well suited to continue to serve the needs of both Boros as a legislator in Washington.
One of the founding missions of the FJCC is to meet candidates for office and elected officials to dialogue, inform and educate them on the issues of concern to the Orthodox electorate.
A meeting with the Republican candidate, Staten Island District Attorney Dan Donovan was held before the holiday. The special election will take place May 5, with very low turnout expected.