If you are a resident of the Town of North Hempstead, there is a good chance you are getting bombarded with election mailings claiming that New York State Sen. Elaine Phillips is a “bipartisan leader.” Perhaps you find it disingenuous that, although these mailings are from the New York State Republican Committee, they do not mention that Phillips is a Republican.
The truth is that Republican Elaine Phillips won by just two percent two years ago by posing as a bi-partisan moderate for a constituency that is mostly Democratic. One of the problems with this bipartisan claim is that policies in Albany are not decided by individual legislators, but by “three men in a room”: the governor, the majority leader in the Senate and the majority leader in the Assembly.
Republican Phillips currently provides Republicans with a slim majority in the Senate, which means that one of these three men is currently Majority Leader John Flanagan who prevents Democratic bills from coming up for a vote.
Another issue with her bipartisan claim is that Phillips is beholden to her party because she relies on it to provide stipends from two leadership positions to supplement her base salary of $79,500. She also relies on her party for her campaign funding as 72 percent ($927,570) of the money raised for her last election campaign came directly from the NYS Senate Republican Committee.
Here are two recent examples of how Phillips stood up for her party as opposed to her constituents to make sure that popular initiatives from Democrats were not passed.
This past winter, Democrats attached gun control measures onto an existing bill in order to get Republicans to address banning the possession of bump stocks and requiring longer background checks.
Phillips, and every other Republicans in the state Senate, opposed these measures in lockstep and killed them by not voting on them before proposing their own watered down measures.
As a result, it is still legal to purchase and possess bump stocks in New York state, which allow a weapon to fire at nearly the rate of a machine gun without technically converting it to a fully automatic gun.
This past spring the NYS Assembly passed the popular Child Victims Act for the fifth time, which would have raised the age limit for victims seeking criminal charges against child molesters from 23 to 28 and those seeking civil charges from 23 to 50.
With Phillips providing Republicans with a slim majority in the Senate, Republican Majority Leader John Flanagan prevented this act from coming up for a vote. Now the age limit for victims of child molestation to file criminal or civil charges in New York state remains at just 23.
Do not be fooled by the “bipartisan” claim in the mailings from the NYS Republican State Committee. If you are still supporting the Republican Party in this upcoming election, then by all means vote for Republican Elaine Phillips.
But if you don’t agree with the Republican agenda, vote for the Democratic candidate: Anna Kaplan. Phillips’ actions speak louder than her words.
Charles S. Maass