New York State Senator Malcolm Smith began what is being dubbed a Truth or Myth tour. The tour's purpose is dispel the current myths associated with the Senator as he begins his run for re-election.
One factor that makes the need to separate truth from rumor is the pending legal action against the Senator. He has been indicted for his role in a bribery scheme to get on the Republican ballot for New York City Mayor.
The Senator told the audience that he could not speak about the case. “I would love to have a conversation about it..I’m sure at the appropriate time I will be able to,” he said. He did, however, speak about being a multi-party candidate in an effort to dispel the myth that he wanted to be a Republican. The Senator is a Democrat.
“When we ran for office previously, we had every line: Working Families, Conservative, Democratic and Republican,” he said. “In other communities, they talk across the table,” he said. “Buses that run, baseball fields [and the like] these things don’t care if I’m a Democrat.”
The audience was comprised primarily of Senator Smith supporters who praised his past record and his previous support during their turn at the microphone. As such, the only pointed question for the Senator came from the press (Communities of Color News) which challenged him on his ability to affect change now that he is no longer in a leadership role and part of the Independent Democratic Committee (IDC).
Smith spoke about the pervasiveness of his time in leadership and all that he was able to accomplish as a result of that position. He pointed to his appointment as Sandy committee co-chair after he joined the IDC, the ability to have opened up hundreds of summer youth jobs after years of Southeast Queens residents being denied access to the program. Now that he isn’t part of the IDC, he stressed how he has been able to get things done on behalf of programs and efforts for the community despite having that leadership backing.
Those efforts included several million dollars for an anti violence campaign with the Feurtado Brothers that will go statewide and money for day care centers. He also dispelled the myth that his lot in Albany is a lonely one and spoke about the many relationships he still has upstate. The Senator also illustrated the fact that it is the number of votes, which are on the side of the Democrats (not the Republicans or the IDC) that affect any change in Albany.
The Senator also spoke to an image he sees as being tarnished by the media.
“Just because the papers call you corrupt doesn’t make you corrupt…[I will] let my work speak for itself,” he said.
The other conversation of note in the tour dealt with possible running mates. “I hope they are not being used,” Senator Smith said when questioned how he felt of once supportive colleagues now considering a run.
“After 13 years you didn’t choose to run against me, why now, all of a sudden you think its time to run against me,” he said.
“I do find it strange that people who have been in the community for that long a time, who have worked with me…have bestowed accolades on me…never have come forward about running. This one time that I have my challenges they choose to run against me.”
Although there was no mention of any candidate by name, Deputy Queens Borough President Leroy Comrie seems to fit the bill. There have been numerous rumors that the former long time Councilman is considering a run for the seat.
Senator Smith laid out his vision for Southeast Queens if he is re-elected which includes attention to economics, schools and public safety. In the area of economics he will focus on developing commercial strips, creating jobs and assisting entrepreneurs. For schools, he noted that academic performance of schools changes for the better once one crosses Hillside Avenue. With Public Safety he recognized that there could be no economic development without safety and business owners feeling secure.
The Senator will use his standing as a tenured official and his record to convince voters that he should be re-elected.
The tour began at the Greater Springfield Community Church. Queens Chapter National Action President, community activist and church pastor Reverend Phil Craig, introduced the Senator and supported his rationale for the tour.
“There are a lot of things going around. Some of them true. Some not true…If you want to hear a thing, go to the source,” he said.
The Senator announced the tour will be making stops around the District. The Feurtado Brothers will be hosting a leg of the tour at a location and date to be announced. New Greater Bethel Ministries 215-32 will be hosting the tour on March 22nd at 1P