Thursday, December 18, 2008

Why Should Caroline Kennedy Be the Only Woman Considered For NYS Senate: Pt. 2

So I'd like to continue the conversation from yesterday about putting forth female candidates for the NYS Senate, though I think Kennedy is pretty much a done deal at this point. Governor Paterson was said to be looking for a candidate who's female or from Upstate New York and can beat the Republican opponent obviously. From a political standpoint Obama would greatly benefit from having an ally of any gender in that position. Considering the vice-grip the Clintons (and to a lesser extent the Cuomos) have on the Democratic politicians and media pundits in New York City coupled with certain recalcitrant Republicans he can take nothing for granted with his administration. So like with Illinois, the new President needs to shore up all leaky faucets, potential dissent and fair weather 'friends'. Of course in politics there are no permanent friends, only permanent interests!

Likewise New York State could benefit from having a Senator that has immediate and unfettered access to the President. Due to their current relationship, New Yorkers would be certain to have the ear of Obama that another newly-elected junior senator w/o the name of Kennedy wouldn't necessarily get. NYS has a $15B budget deficit - hey like California! We're lucky that San Francisco DA Kamala Harris was one of Obama's National Co-Chairs and the state provides such a large Electoral College vote. 

The Kennedy family puts the L in Liberal so I will give credit where credit's due. From nurturing personal and political relationships with many people of color as well as starting organizations like the Special Olympics, they have been consistent in public service. Caroline may not be seen as having certain policy experience because she's fastidiously kept a low profile and didn't need to have her name in the press. She's clearly worked across the aisle with anyone who's anyone, has her own marque status and plenty of money. She has nothing to prove to those at a certain social level. Also NYS has major infighting between Upstate and Downstate politicians with lots of turf wars and pettiness. It will take a heavy-hitter to keep all the children sharing their toys.

With so many people hurting right now those old enough to remember Camelot are likely to be comforted knowing the daughter of their fallen hero is offering her expertise to the man people hope will be the next great President. Did I forget to mention she's no drama and is known to actually get along with others? It's also a nice set-up for her to run for President in 2016 if she chooses.  This will effectively neutralize the Clintons should they pull something during Hillary's time as Secretary of State. So no humming of the Ojays' Backstabber will be necessary - with Caroline at least. I can't vouch for anybody else. 

Now I've laid out what I think Obama's looking for in terms of shoring his political footing but are there other female candidates besides Caroline Kennedy who could also meet the administration's needs as well as those of New Yorkers? 

Member Photo

Why not NYS Assemblymember Crystal Peoples who represents Erie County? She's served in public office since 1992, first in the Legislature before moving to the Assembly in 2003. Read a copy of her Report to her constituents about her efforts in promoting reading literacy, small business development, funding  for secondary education and teen reproductive rights. It's of no coincidence these are some of the most important issues to the oft-mentioned Millennial generation who voted for Obama overwhelmingly. She is an unabashed supporter of Black women and therefore covers issues that pertain to everyone. Per her bio:
She is the author of Local Law #5, the Erie County MBE/WBE law and certification program. This law generates millions of dollars in revenue annually for minority and women owned businesses by giving them access to County contracts. Ms. Peoples sponsored public education campaigns that addressed social ills, housing and economic development and played an integral role in the inter-governmental economic development collaboration that brought a food market to an area where over 113,000 people had no immediate access to fresh meats, fruits and vegetables. Crystal Peoples also successfully sponsored the legislation that allows Erie County homeowners to make partial payments on back taxes. Crystal Peoples’ commitment to family, community and servant leadership is illustrated in her motto dedicated to her constituents - "the quality of your life is the purpose of my politics."

Another viable candidate is Leecia Eve who comes with a family pedigree and is deeply entrenched in NYS politics. She had the support of Rangel, Dinkins and the usual folks. Her father Arthur O. Eve was the former Assembly leader. She grew up on the campaign trail. She is a Harvard educated attorney. She is also a former policy aide to HRC and had initially run for Lt. Governor but eventually bowed out when Spitzer selected Paterson. There was an element of how she got shafted by Spitzer.  There was also a bit of irony that Eve was being supported by the senior Paterson at that time (unless it was politricks). Supposedly nobody knew the younger Paterson was going to run. If  Spitzer had selected Eve she'd be Governor of New York right now! Things that make you go hmmm. No Black female candidate has won a Statewide office in New York - yet. It's time to get cracking!!

Members of the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucuses meet often enough to be able to form a plan for putting one or more of their members for consideration. Then there's the voters who can contact Governor Paterson directly. If the decision is truly his to make and he's concerned about securing his new administration now would be the time to get his attention. I actually think if a Black female candidate emerged with enough buzz or behind the scenes muscle she would have a shot at being appointed. I think this was a golden opportunity that may have been wasted because no one was prepared to seize it. As a side note Brooklyn Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez removed herself from consideration. So although I think Caroline Kennedy will be fine - great even in comparison to some of the other names floating around - it would've nice to see somebody else come from out of 'nowhere' to seize the moment.

photo credit: official Assembly photo/NY Daily News
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Unknown said...

man how did i forget about Peoples?

an ex of mine worked in her campaign so many many moons ago...

but i got it

She's a smokescreen (kennedy that is)

Clinton said she will not resign her position until she is confirmed... so Gov Paterson has maybe two months to vet and pick someone

Faith at Acts of Faith Blog said...

Hey: You know there is not enough a coalition. The Harlem sleezebags have a stranglehold on everything. And Paterson may have come clean about cheating but he didn't admit it was related to working in NYS gov't! We need some more Shirley Chisholms and we'll have to use the blogosphere to help get them elected. Donate via Act Blue, use the Black Agenda Report and other sources. It can be done but it needs to be planned for.