If the Democratic takeover of the New York State Senate after the 2018 elections has a face, it might be Alessandra Biaggi’s: Young, female, progressive and the winner not just of a general election race but also of a primary battle against a former member of the breakaway Independent Democratic Conference. Biaggi’s September victory over Jeff Klein, a founder and leader of the IDC, would have been impressive if it had been a squeaker. That Biaggi won in a landslide was stunning.
The question as autumn turned to winter was whether Democrats could do something productive with their newfound power in Albany. The answer in the first 37 days of the new session is, objectively, yes. One can disagree with the steps the Democrats have taken on election reform, reproductive rights and gun restrictions, but there’s no denying that something has been accomplished.
Biaggi said she came into office knowing the Democrats had a lengthy to-do list, comprised mainly of policies that Republicans had blocked for years. “I thought in first few weeks we’d get to some of those things. I’ve been blown away by the sheer number of important items we’ve been able to tackle and pass in both chambers—not just in the State Senate but also in the Assembly—and the incredible coordination and partnership that the Assembly and the State Senate have formed, and that’s why we’ve been able to see a lot of progress,” she said. She pointed to the legislature’s election reforms as the most significant early delivery.
How long will it last? On Wednesday’s Max & Murphy Show on WBAI, Biaggi told Ben Max and me that even a potential budget crisis need not derail the progressive wave in New York.
New York must “look at some other revenue streams that we can have in this state so we don’t have this shortfall,” Biaggi said. “New York State is at the moment when we have the luxury to be innovative and we have the people who are smart enough to push those agendas.” She added: “We have to start thinking strategically for the long term and figure out how to invest in people and how to take us forward.”
Listen below. Or hear the full show, which includes an interview with Councilmember Alicka Ampry-Samuel of Brooklyn, chairwoman of the pubic housing committee.
Max & Murphy: Sen. Alessandra Biaggi
Max & Murphy: Full Show for February 6, 2019