On November 8th, Lester Chang was duly elected on the Republican and Conservative lines by the people of New York’s 49th Assembly District defeating longtime incumbent Peter Abbate by a clear and undisputable margin. He is the first Asian-American elected to the Assembly from Brooklyn and is part of three flips in the Assembly from Democrat to Republican/Conservative in Brooklyn.
Now, Speaker Heastie and the Democrats do not want to seat him due to a residency question stemming from a section of the State Constitution that has never once been argued since the current version of the State Constitution went into effect in the late 1930s.
Lester was born and raised in Brooklyn, pays taxes in Brooklyn, owns property in Brooklyn and returns to the house he grew up in on a nightly basis except for the time he spent in recent years on active military duty. While he did for many years live in Manhattan and vote in Manhattan, Lester returned to his Brooklyn roots.
His nominating petitions that contained the address of his place of residence in Brooklyn were gathered and filed without objection from Peter Abbate or the litigious Brooklyn Democratic Party. They took the 49th district for granted—then the unthinkable happened.
The red wave drowned the Brooklyn Democratic Party in Southern Brooklyn.
Having egg on their face, Abbate and the Brooklyn Democrats are throwing a fit and refusing to seat Lester, all at the expense of the voters who gave him a clear majority. Furthermore, they are actively working to disenfranchise the Asian American community who elected Lester and are excited by his win.
They are planning to run the question of residency through a Kangaroo Court consisting of the Democratically controlled Assembly Judiciary Committee. If that was not bad enough, the Heastie crew are using the old committee which is going out of office to make a recommendation about seating a newly elected member.
Lester won the election and should be seated. The Daily News and NY Post have said so in editorials. Locally there have been press conferences and rallies.
Not surprisingly the Brooklyn Democrats have been silent on their colleagues attempt to overturn the results of an election, the Conservative Party will not be.
Every four or five weeks I have an opportunity to do the Capitol Connection NPR show with Alan Chartock. My most recent interview took place yesterday. Click here to listen to me discuss the 2022 midterms in New York and what led to our success.
Lame Duck House Session
Efforts by outgoing House Democrats to use the final days of the Nancy Pelosi-run 117th session of Congress to pass Democratic agenda items need to be opposed.
Any new policy including year-long spending deals and the passage of marquee bills should wait until the new Congress is sworn in. Departing members of Congress should not disenfranchise newly elected members of Congress by denying them the ability to vote on and otherwise impact major policy items in the first months of the new session.