2022 is already slated to be a big year for Republicans around the country. Given the massive failures of the Biden administration on both foreign and domestic policy, and the backlash that inevitably comes from said failures, Republicans have a massive opportunity.
New York State Democrats have done everything they can to minimize that opportunity, gerrymandering the districts for the State Assembly, State Senate and U.S. House in an egregious manner. To win, Republicans need to put forward dynamic and energetic candidates that appeal to a broad swath of voters.
Stefano Forte is running for State Senate in the 16th District, which includes Fresh Meadows, Whitestone, College Point, and other portions of Queens. Forte, who is of Greek, Italian, and Puerto Rican background, managed political campaigns prior to throwing his own hat in the ring. “My family instilled in me this belief that your neighborhood, your community, your city and state, is your responsibility,” he said. “Nobody is coming to save us, we need to save ourselves.”
The greatest challenge that New York faces is undoing the damage done by Democrats in 2019 when they passed the now infamous No Cash Bail law. “I decided to run after the events of 2019 and 2020,” Forte lamented. “What I saw shocked me; it brought a great sadness to my soul to see the people who we elected to keep our communities safe, abandoning us.”
The end of No Cash Bail is a common theme in Republican campaigns this year, as well it should be. Not only is the effect being felt every day with monstrous headlines of released perpetrators committing horrific acts, it’s also a political winner. Last November, unknown Anne Donnelly wiped the floor with longtime State Senator Todd Kaminsky for the Nassau County District Attorney’s race. Kaminsky, who was credited with writing a portion of the No Cash Bail law, has decided not to run for re-election.
The crime is hitting Asian and Jewish communities especially hard. “Criminals think these communities are easy targets,” Forte said. He recently met with some members of the neighborhood watch group Shomrim at the Chazaq event held this week. “Shomrim are truly heroes. We need them to be working with a strongly-funded police force. [The police have] been defunded and handcuffed so they can’t do their job.”
“My parents lived in the bad old days; they remember pre-Giuliani. Seeing these increased crimes, they are reminded of a bygone era.” On his campaign website, Forte describes late ‘90s and early 2000s New York as “a verifiable golden age: both violent and petty crime were low, businesses were thriving, education was a priority and the prospect of starting a family was within reach for most young people.”
In order to win, Republicans like Stefano will have to appeal to communities that historically voted Democrat, including the Jewish community. “Our path to victory runs through the Jewish community,” he said. “The readers of this paper. I believe the radical establishment in Albany have taken advantage of this community. They promise and promise and never deliver.”
Forte acknowledges the mistakes that the Republican Party has made in the past. “It’s the fault of the republicans. We have not gone to this community, we have not spoken to this community.” Forte shares a joke popularized by Curtis Sliwa during his unsuccessful Mayoral campaign: “We plan on going into these communities where they haven’t seen a Republican since Abraham Lincoln on a five-dollar bill.” Sliwa, who is still popular among New York Republicans, endorsed Forte. The founder of the Guardian Angels, Sliwa is well-versed on how bad New York crime can get.
Crime is not the only issue that Forte is tackling to restore New York. Education has become a national issue, especially in a post-COVID America where parents are finally waking up to what their children are being taught. This most famously led Governor Glenn Youngkin to victory in Democrat Virginia, but also caused a large recall vote in San Francisco. Three radically Leftist members of the school board were recalled with 75% of the vote. Such a feat would be unthinkable even a couple years ago. “Curriculums should be reviewable by parents,” says Forte, “and we must protect gifted and talented schools.”
Forte is also concerned about the dramatic consequences the governmental response to the pandemic had on small businesses. “I am proposing a 1-year tax moratorium on all small businesses in New York,” he said. “They were shut down here in the pandemic, so I believe they should not have to pay any state tax for at least a year so we can pay them back for the time they were closed during the pandemic.” The forced closures have caused suffering for small business owners throughout the country, and states like New York are losing out to far more tax-friendly Florida and Texas. This proposal certainly has enough merit in order to allow small business owners a chance to recover.
Forte knows that he is a part of a transcontinental wave. “We’re looking to build a movement,” he said. “We’re not just looking to build a small campaign. This campaign stopped being about me a long time ago.” The movement is a backlash for years of policy, as New Yorkers all over are finally done with the destructive policies that have ruined their state.
Moshe Hill is a political columnist and Senior Fellow at Amariah, an America First Zionist organization. Moshe has a weekly column in the Queens Jewish Link, and has been published in Daily Wire, CNS News, and other outlets. You can follow Moshe on his blog www.aHillwithaView.com, facebook.com/aHillwithaView, and twitter.com/HillWithView.