Several groups that are opposing a group of breakaway Democrats plan to meet with State Senator Marisol Alcantara, who represents part of the Upper West Side, on Friday and try to convince her to leave the breakaway group. They’ll meet with her on Friday and protest outside her office from 11 a.m. to noon at 5030 Broadway between 213th and 214th Street.
Alcantara is part of the Independent Democratic Conference, a group of Senators who identify as Democrats but who have thrown their support to the Republicans who control the state Senate, despite having fewer total elected members. The Republican leadership has quashed bills that would expand abortion protections, and insure rights for transgender people, among other bills that the Democratic-controlled assembly passed. As New Yorkers have gotten newly energized in combating President Trump’s policies, they’ve zeroed in on the IDC as an impediment to a more progressive New York.
The IDC’s opponents say that Alcantara and her 7 peers are complicit because they back the Republicans. The 13 groups opposing the IDC, including “Indivisible We Stand—UWS”, explained their position in an email to us:
“By refusing to conference with the rest of the Democrats, the IDC along with Senator Simcha Felder of Brooklyn, who also ran as a Democrat and also conferences with Republicans—has handed control of the Senate to Republicans. In exchange, they get campaign funding and special positions of power and leverage.
The IDC claims to be progressive but actually prevents Democratic legislation from making it to the floor of the Senate, or else actively votes against it. Were it not for the IDC and Felder, New York might now have:
—The money Albany owes to NYC public schools
—State-level action on climate change
among many other much-needed policy changes.”
A local City Council candidate, Mel Wymore, has also weighed in against the IDC after the Republicans let a bill called GENDA that protects transgender people die in committee. Wymore, who is transgender, wrote in a statement that “The members of the IDC have allowed an agenda of bigotry, regression, and elitism to persist in New York, inflicting real damage and leaving us wide open to Donald Trump.”
Alcantara’s office told us that she supports GENDA, as do the other members of the IDC, and noted that one of the mainline Democrats voted against it, so the IDC is not to blame. (Opponents say that no matter what the IDC supports, they helped kill the bill by allowing Republicans to control which bills get a vote.)
Will Alcantara reconsider her support for the IDC after meeting with the opponents on Friday? Her office sent the following statement.
“The Senator is always available to meet with her constituents and will stand by her record of achieving results for the 31st Senate District, These include a $10 million immigrant defense fund to protect our immigrant communities from the Trump administration’s policies.”
Robert Jackson, a former councilman who lost to Alcantara last year, has formed a Senate Campaign Committee, with the expectation he will challenge her in 2018.