GOP Conference in City Council Poised to Combat Progressive Squad - The Jewish Voice
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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

GOP Conference in City Council Poised to Combat Progressive Squad

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By: Ilana Siyance

The anti-squad has assembled in the New York City Council.

As reported by the NY Post, as of the New Year, the city council has a conservative base of five members.  Though five out of 51 seats is a modest representation, it is the largest GOP conference we have had in decades.  It is poised to combat the far-left “squad” which includes outspoken progressive members of congress including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez.

The five opposing Republicans are led by Staten Island Councilman Joe Borelli, who is the new minority leader. Having served for seven years, he is now the longest-serving Council member.  “We have an obligation to speak up for the 565,000 registered Republicans in this city. If they were an ethnic or religious group they would be one of the largest in New York. They deserve to have representation in City Hall as well,” said Borelli.  He referred to his group as the “Common-Sense Caucus” which has formed, encompassing the five Republicans as well as five or six moderate Democrats including Middle Village Councilman Bob Holden and Borough Park’s Kalman Yeger.

This group of Republicans includes Borelli, David Carr of Staten Island, Inna Vernikov from Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, and Joann Ariola and Vickie Paladino of Queens.  They have vowed to push back against the left-wingers, and be a vanguard for those who want to see a tough-on-crime stance and pro-business policies, as per the Post.  “There are now five Republicans in the council who are going to be the voice countering the progressive wing of the Democratic Party,” said Vernikov, a newly minted lawmaker who was elected in November’s backlash against the blue wave.

On the group’s agenda, besides combatting crime and adding cops, is lowering property taxes and opposing vaccine mandates, particularly on private businesses.  “Our property taxes have gone so through the roof that people are saying they can live in Manhasset or the Gold Coast of Long Island for the property taxes they are paying to live in Queens,” said Whitestone Councilwoman Paladino, another new Republican member.

“During the campaign I called for the hiring of 6,000 new police officers over next five fiscal years. So that is something we’re definitely going to try to pursue,” said Carr.   “We lost a lot of good officers” during the De Blasio years, added Queens Councilwoman Ariola.

The team considers itself lucky to be working with new Mayor Eric Adams, who they are confident will be an ally to them at least on some major issues, including restoring  solitary confinement to city jails.

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