On Thursday, September 13, incumbent New York State Senator Jeff Klein faces challenger Alessandra Biaggi in a primary election to determine who will be the Democratic candidate for the 34th senate district in the general election this November. The original date for the primary was set to be Tuesday, September 11, the second day of Rosh Hashanah, but the New York State legislature approved moving the date so as not to cause a conflict for those observing the holiday.
Jeff Klein was first elected to represent the 34th district the New York State Senate in 2004, after serving 10 years in the New York State Assembly. The 34th district includes Riverdale, through the North and East Bronx, as well as Pelham and Pelham Manor, in Westchester.
Senator Klein is a leader in the State Senate, currently serving as the deputy minority leader for the Senate’s Democrat Conference. He considers the legislative highlights of his career to include the SAFE ACT for gun regulation, a $15 minimum wage, universal pre-kindergarten, 12-week paid family leave and the foreclosure prevention and protection laws that followed the 2008 economic crisis. Further, Senator Klein secured the continuation of a middle-class tax cut, and delivered Rider Relief for commuters through the allocation of $836 million to the MTA for crucial repairs and upgrades. Senator Klein helped to add $1 billion to the education budget. Currently, $26.7 billion enables teachers and schools to have the resources they need for their students.
Private education is also a concern of Senator Klein’s: “The educational choice we make for our children is under attack. Religious education is not valued equally to public education.” The senator continued, “We must be vigilant in our fight to ensure that we provide resources to our yeshivas and ensure that the high standard of education we provide for our children is protected.”
When reflecting on his accomplishments in Albany, Senator Klein states, “I am most proud of the work I have done on behalf of the Jewish Community. These efforts include passing legislation that targets the BDS movement, ensuring that anti-Semitic attacks are penalized to the fullest extent of the law, serving as a member of a delegation from New York State with Governor Cuomo on a peace mission to Israel and ensuring that our yeshivas and religious schools have the full support of our state’s education system.”
Further, Senator Klein fought for NYCHA residents by exposing dangerous mold and lead paint negligence. Through the Senator’s leadership, New York expanded the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption (SCRIE) and Disability Rent Increase Exemption (DRIE) to protect rent-regulated tenants, and increased the Senior Citizen Homeowner Exemption (SCHE) and the Disabled Homeowner Exemption (DHE), which offer a 50 percent deduction on property taxes.
“I have spoken to thousands of constituents this summer on the campaign trail and they all speak to the same things. They want a safe community,” said Senator Klein of the needs facing many voters. “They want to be able to afford their mortgages and keep their dream of homeownership alive. They want quality education for their children. They want to be able to retire with dignity. They want the American Dream that we all fight so hard for each and every day.”
The senator sees a distinguishable difference between himself and his opponent is his support for Israel and the Jewish community. “As a proud Jewish American, who is the grandson of Hungarian and Polish immigrants who fled the Holocaust, my Jewish heritage and religion are very important to me. My opponent has chosen to seek the support of Anti-Israel candidates and has not made one reference to her plans to work on behalf of the Jewish community.”
Harry Feder, a prominent member of the Riverdale Jewish community is a proud supporter of Senator Klein. “I have known Jeff a long time. Jeff is very supportive of the Jewish community and all his constituents in the Bronx and Westchester.” Feder continued, “He has been a reliable legislator.”
Jeff Klein was born and raised in the Bronx; his public service career includes serving as the chief of staff to then-Congressman James Scheuer, a Democrat state committeeman and Democrat district leader. Senator Klein was educated in Bronx public schools, received a B.A. from Queens College, an M.P.A. from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and a J.D. from the City University of New York Law School where he was also a member of the law review.
Senator Klein has been endorsed by Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the State Senate minority leader, and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., as well as Marcos Crespo and Amy Paulin, two local members of the New York State Assembly whose districts overlie the 34th Senate District.
Additional information about Senator Klein can be found at www.jeffkleinny.com.
By Judy Berger