Wednesday, March 29, 2017


New York State 17th District for Progress Rally
Thursday, March 30th, 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.

A rally against New York State Senator Simcha Felder has been organized because
  • he is a registered Democrat who has caucused with the Republicans since he was first elected to the State Senate in 2012,
  • he regularly votes the same way as the Republicans, and
  • his actions give the Republicans control of the State Senate, even though more Democrats than Republicans are State Senators (31 Democrats, 31 Republicans, and 1 vacant seat).

When he ran for re-election in November 2016, Senator Felder was the candidate of the Democratic and the Republican and the Conservative parties. He ran unopposed.

The neighborhoods that are in District 17 are Borough Park, Midwood, Brooklyn Chinatown, and parts of Kensington, Bensonhurst, and Gravesend.

The rally will be held in front of his office at 1412 Avenue J, between  E. 14th and E. 15th streets (map).

If you live in District 17, sign the letter here that is reprinted below.


Dear Senator Felder
We, your constituents in New York State Senate District 17, are disappointed in your stands on the issues that affect us. Although you have run as a Democrat, your support for Republican positions prevents important legislation from passing in the New York State Legislature. You have also taken stances that violate New York City’s ability to govern itself. 

You say that you don’t care about party labels, but you have regularly stood with and voted with Republicans. By supporting the Republican agenda, you prevent full funding of New York City public schools; you oppose reforms that would make it easier to vote; you fail to fully endorse treatment of young offenders as juveniles to get them the help they need (Raise the Age).

Most recently, your own proposal to raise the speed limit on Ocean Parkway threatens the safety of pedestrians near your own home. You have also refused to take a position on the New York Health Act, a law that would guarantee quality health care for all your constituents. 

We, the members of NY State 17th District for Progress and our fellow constituents, are here to ask you to take another look at some of the issues that are important to us:

Raise the Age

This measure would stop prosecution of young 16- and 17-year-old offenders as adults, raise the age of criminal responsibility to at least 18, and try offenders in family court, as well as add $5 million to support these changes. The Republicans have proposed a watered down version that won’t truly protect 16- and 17-year-olds. We’re asking you to support the full Raise the Age proposal.

Voting Rights

New York ranks 41st in the Union in voter turnout; 117,000 Brooklyn voters were improperly erased from the voter rolls last year. The Democrats have proposed automatic voter registration and early voting, among other voting reforms. The Republicans reject these proposals to strengthen our democracy. We’re asking you to stand up for voters’ rights.

School Funding

In 2006, the NYS Court of Appeals found that New York State was underfunding our schools. In 2017 our schools are still waiting to see that money, known as Foundation Aid. The Republican Senate majority is refusing to fund Foundation Aid at $1.4 billion, as proposed by the Assembly. Instead, they want to gut the formula entirely. As chair of the New York City Education Subcommittee, we’re asking you to make sure the state budget prioritizes the needs of all our students and schools.

New York Health Act

For the past two years, the Assembly has passed a bill to guarantee health care for all New Yorkers, regardless of their income, wealth, or employment—a huge benefit for all your constituents, especially those with little income. This bill would make New York State a model for the country, at a time when the future of health coverage is so uncertain. The Senate proposal, S4840, is now stuck in the Senate Health Committee, in which you sit, but you have not taken a position. We’re asking you to support this measure for the health of your constituents.

Speed Limit

Ocean Parkway has been regularly ranked one of Brooklyn’s most dangerous roads, especially for pedestrians. New York City’s Vision Zero effort (which lowered the speed limit to 25 mph) has lowered accident and pedestrian death rates. Ocean Parkway went from 1,034 accidents and 2.4 fatalities per year to 880 and 1. Despite this, you have introduced a measure as part of the budget to raise the speed limit on Ocean Parkway back to 30 mph.

Raising the speed limit will endanger your constituents, especially children and the elderly. A person is 74 percent more likely to be killed if struck by a vehicle traveling 30mph as opposed to 25mph. Meanwhile, there is no evidence that raising the speed limit will decrease congestion. Pedestrian safety should be in the hands of our city council, not those of upstate Republicans. We’re asking you to rethink this proposal.

Some of us have tried to meet with you to no avail, and we object to being ignored. As your constituents we encourage you to get on board with these efforts, and stop helping the Republicans. We ask you to meet with your constituents to discuss pressing issues and represent ALL of us. 

Do the right thing for ALL your constituents.