Thursday, August 31, 2006

South Brooklyn state assembly race

It looks like a historic and entertaineing (depending on what you consider entertaining)Democratic primary race for the 46th district of the New York State Assembly has been taking place in Brooklyn this summer:

Brooklyn’s 46th Assembly District appears set to make history. Both candidates vying for the Democratic nomination are Russian-Jewish activists. The district is so heavily Democratic that whoever wins the September 12 party primary is expected to go on to victory in the general election in November. The race pits Alec Brook-Krasny, on leave from his position as founding executive director of the UJA-Federation of New York-funded Council of Jewish Émigré Community Organizations, against Ari Kagan, a longtime journalist for local Russian-language media outlets and community volunteer. This race may be, according to some observers, the first time that a representative of the recent waves of immigrants from the former Soviet Union is elected to a state legislature anywhere in the country.

It looks as though Mother Russia has provided plenty of campaign fodder in the race:

Brook-Krasny and Kagan fall on the same side of the partisan divide, the race has featured plenty of rancor. Brook-Krasny, noting Kagan’s past enrollment in a Soviet military school, said that being a former communist should disqualify Kagan from representing the Russian-Jewish community.

Asked to respond, Kagan lifted this reporter’s tape recorder to his mouth and shouted, “Alec, shame on you!”

Kagan said he graduated from the journalism department of a Soviet military school in 1988. He said he had been a Communist Party member for “a very short period of time during the Gorbachev era.” He explained that one needed to join the party to be a military journalist. Kagan also said that he resigned from the party in 1991 in disgust and was admitted to America as a refugee. “I am proud of my biography,” he said.

For his part, Brook-Krasny has been attacked on the Internet and on fliers posted in Brighton Beach as pro-Putin — and even pro-Hamas — following televised remarks he made about the Russian president’s controversial decision this winter to invite Hamas leaders to Moscow for talks. Brook-Krasny said that, at the time, he felt that the Russian government could help sound out “how far Hamas would go regarding talking with the Israeli government.”

That's one thing those of us who've always lived down south have missed. We've never seen a campaign waged between recently arrived immigrants. I find it fascinating that the old country can play a big role in such a race. It affirms what a diverse nation we have. I'd love to hear more about this race.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

“Give me a “nice Bull”
Thank you for opening such an interesting discussion. Yesterday September 7, I was listening to the Russian “Davidzon radio” and it was conversation between Gregory Davidson and Alec Brook Krasny. Of course they were talking about election and people were calling with different questions. One of the questions was why Alec Brook Krasny did not showed up in radio station ‘VSIO’ for the radio debate with Ari Kagan scheduled for September 7, 2006. The answer was very interesting: “I do not want go there – they do not respect me and my family. They do not treat me with respect. I do not feel good going there”. I try to call station with my question and nobody pick up a phone. My question to Alec Brook Krasny is: How he can represent interests of entire 46 district if he “does not feel good” to talk to people that are not respecting him. Leadership is not about “feeling good” leadership is about ability have enough self-confidence to be powerful with people who respect you and do not respect you. Another question is why “they” do not respect you Alec Brook Krasny? You are the only one person who can answer this question. People are making opinion out of information you are giving publicly and out of experience being with you. It does not look good your public appearance on Russian TV or what people saying about Alec Brook Krasny. Ask people to treat you with respect is same as asking for “nice” bull to fight with in bullfight. By the way – “insane” people make this world. It is insane what Mother Theresa did, what Martin Luther King did. That is why we have now what we have.

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