By Bill Parry
The breakaway Independent Democratic Conference in Albany is an affront to strong progressive values, City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) said Monday, and state Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst), a Queens member, effectively “disqualifies himself in a Democratic primary” by “empowering Republicans in the Age of Trump.”
That is Van Bramer’s reason for endorsing Jackson Heights resident Jessica Ramos in her Democratic primary challenge against Peralta in September.
Van Bramer cited Ramos’ longstanding commitment to deepen investments in public schools, expand affordable housing in Queens and improving the MTA system for Queens straphangers.
“Everyday I champion progressive causes and Queens values in the City Council. And I need a partner in the state Senate who I know will do the same,” Van Bramer said. “Jessica Ramos is that partner. Together we will fight for NYCHA residents, mass transit that works and real reform that matters. It’s not just about electing Democrats, it’s about electing the right Democrats. Jessica Ramos is the right Democrat for this district and this moment.”Van Bramer said he knows Ramos “would never side with the IDC and continue to allow the Republicans to run the state Senate.”
The Van Bramer endorsement of Ramos comes a week after City Councilman Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria) did the same, becoming the first Council member to endorse an anti-IDC challenger this year.
“As a lifelong resident of Queens like me, Jimmy Van Bramer has been on the front lines fighting for working families in Queens since day one — and I’m honored to receive his support,” Ramos said. “I’m running for state Senate because we need a real Democrat representing Queens — not a Trump Democrat who empowers the Republicans and blocks the DREAM Act, the Reproductive Health Act, and more.”
Peralta has “achieved real, meaningful results” on immigration, education and affordable housing, according to his campaign spokeswoman, Jennifer Blatus.
“As the sponsor of the New York DREAM Act, the senator is working to protect immigrants and provide real access to affordable education,” she said. “He has provided free legal services to his constituents. He has allocated to schools and programs such as Project Boost. He has sponsored and passed countless pieces of legislation to protect tenants and homeowners from being pushed out of their community. Senator Peralta’s constituents know he is the right person to lead District 13 as they have seen firsthand the achievements he has brought home to them. In Albany, Senator Peralta has delivered on Queens Values and will continue to do so.”
After Van Bramer endorsed Ramos at NYCHA’s Woodside Houses, they paid a visit to the complex’s senior center. At about that time, Peralta received an endorsement from the president of the Woodside Houses Tenant Association, Ann Cotton-Morris.
“During my time serving as the Woodside Houses Tenant Association Leader for over 37 years and as the Queens district chair for more than 10 years, I could always count on Senator Peralta to be right there fighting with me,” Cotton-Morris said. “Whether it was pushing for more affordable housing so that our neighbors are not forced out of their communities or the improvement of conditions at NYCHA buildings, Senator Peralta never backed down. I commend his steadfast approach to finding solutions for tenant protections and being a true champion of the people. I know I am not alone when I say I am grateful for his continued allegiance to this community, and I am proud to support him in his re-election campaign.”
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr