2010-08-20 / Columnists

It’s My Turn

By Reshma Saujani Candidate For Congress

Reshma Saujani is an attorney who graduated from Yale Law School and is now running for Congress from a district that includes the east side of Manhattan and parts of northern Queens.

I commend President Obama for reaffirming our country’s commitment to the freedom of religion for all Americans, including the right to construct the proposed Cordoba House in Lower Manhattan.

As I stated last month in an op-ed piece in The Daily Beast, fidelity to the First Amendment should not be subject to polls or political posturing. While I understand the sensitivity surrounding the project, I do not understand the silence of New York’s elected officials, including Congresswoman Maloney, on this issue. This is a major debate unfolding in our city and country, and our leaders — with the exception of Mayor Bloomberg and Representative Nadler — are weighing in with lukewarm statements when asked by the press for their opinion.

John Cornyn, the head of the Republican Senate campaign committee has already jumped on the President’s comments, promising to make it a major campaign wedge issue. We need strong Democratic leadership in Congress from New York to fight back against Republican fear-mongering and set the facts straight.

It’s time for Carolyn Maloney to tell New Yorkers what she thinks about the issues that affect their lives. She has been silent on the construction of the Cordoba House, silent on Charlie Rangel’s ethics investigation, silent on passing the DREAM Act, and silent on new ideas to get New Yorkers back to work.

I have repeatedly invited Carolyn Maloney to debate me on the issues important to voters in the 14th District. We have both been invited by Baruch College to debate on August 26 — an invitation I have accepted — but she has responded with more silence. Even if Carolyn Maloney refuses to debate me, which is unfair to her constituents, she still has an ethical obligation to speak up and talk about the Cordoba House and other major issues. I have been vocal in my support for the Cordoba House — and I believe Carolyn Maloney needs to do the same.”

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