On June 26 a few registered Democrats in Rockaway, Breezy Point and Broad Channel will help pick our voice in Congress for the next two years. With reapportionment all of Rockaway is now included in the new 5th Congressional District.
An effective voice in Congress is essential for progress on national and local issues. The current Republican leadership in the House of Representatives is determined to destroy the programs that have helped millions of Americans to have a decent standard of living.
College student loans and daycare centers, Medicare and Social Security, collective bargaining and pensions, protection of our water and air are threatened. The right to vote is threatened for many and unlimited, secret contributions can drown out the voices of legitimate candidates.
The representative we choose must be able to stand up and help reverse this trend. Any perceived ethical weakness will be exploited to weaken our arguments. Most of us are aware of the personal issues raised about our current Representative, Gregory Meeks. Unfortunately, these issues have not all been resolved at this time.
We have elections for the House of Representatives every two years. Some will suggest that we wait until November to vote for the Republican candidate for Congress. Unfortunately, the Republicans are giving their line to former City Councilman Alan Jennings, a Democrat, who was defeated in his own Council District after charges of harassment of Council employees were found valid by the City Council.
The voters in Rockaway have had little or no chance to meet and question the candidates. The only groups to invite the candidates have been the Rosedale Civics and the 5 Towns Democratic Club. Organizations that could have invited the candidates did not choose to do so.
Since the primary is almost here, voters can get some ideas about the candidates by looking at their websites. Joseph Marthone, a resident of Cambria Heights, is at josephmarthone.com and Mike Scala, a former resident of Rosedale, now of Queens Village, is at scalaforcongress.com Congressman Gregory Meeks, formerly of Far Rockaway, now a resident of St. Albans, uses his official website meeks.house.gov. No website is available for Alan Jennings, a South Ozone Park resident.
We need a Representative who will work for our needs and see that our federal government does the things that we cannot do for ourselves. We need reasonable access to Gateway National Park for non-profit sports and festivals. We expect help in getting the Army Corps of Engineers to complete their beach study and replenish the sand on our beach. We expect help in passing the Transportation bill so funds will be available when the MTA decides to reopen the Rockaway Beach line. We expect adequate Medicare reimbursements so our local hospitals do not totter on the edge of bankruptcy.
We can look at the candidates, ask questions and maybe get an answer. If you choose to vote for the winning candidate, keep track of his efforts on behalf of our community. Make sure that he remembers that elections are held every two years and you are watching.