Friday, September 7, 2012

Interview with Ben Akselrod, Candidate for the 45th Assembly in Brooklyn

Ben Akselrod is no stranger to politics. After graduating from Touro College with a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science and receiving a Master's Degree in Urban Policy and Administration from Brooklyn College, Ben - a immigrant from the former Soviet Union – served as a legislative aid for former State Senator Seymour Lachman and councilmember Noach Dear. In 2004, Akselrod was chosen as the first and only Russian-born Community Board District Manager in New York City. 


Speaking to the ‘Let’s Talk Dogri’ blog, Ben Akselrod, a candidate for the State Assembly in the 45th District in Brooklyn, touted his upbringing, and frum lifestyle that makes him uniquely qualified to represent the 45th Assembly District. In a district that has a heavily religious and immigrant population, Akselrod expressed belief in his qualification to serve the community, as someone who fully understands the needs of the district and as one that would relate to the issues that most concern them as a representative in the legislative branch in Albany. 

As a frum Jew, having five of his own children in Yeshiva and Girl school, Akselrod fully understands the burden we face as parents of paying tuition, and therefore has pledged in public, that his first priority in Albany will be to confront the financial burden, and enforce a temporary tuition tax credit, until the chambers come together to work out a school choice-voucher system or repeal the blaine amendment. 

Akselrod is challenging 12 year incumbent, Assemblyman Steve Cymbrowitz in the September 13th primaries. “Cymbrowitz is an absentee official, and his work in the district in non-existent,” Akselrod described his primary opponent. “He spends more time traveling to Turkey, than meeting with his own constituents. In fact, he was quoted saying that he feels more secure in Turkey, than in Israel,” he charged. 

Cymbrowitz, calling himself a conservative Democrat, contradicts with his work in Albany and his affiliation with the ‘working families’ party, who are the equivalent of the communist party, Akselrod suggested. “My opponent has a 100 percent approval rating from the largest Gay group (LGBT Pride Agenda); he voted against the Same Gender Marriage bill while voting in favor of the transgender bathroom bill; he voted in favor of 3rd trimester abortions and sponsored a gender identity bill, which leads to the assertion that he definitely does not represent the moral and conservative values of the people in the district,” Akselrod asserted. 

Akselrod recounted an outrageous comment made by the Assemblyman at those who protested the planned memorial headstone to honor LGBT etc. who were also persecuted and killed by the Nazis at the Manhattan Beach Holocaust memorial, condemning them for “living the mindset that led us to the holocaust.” 

Since he’s running in the Democratic primary, if Akselrod indeed succeeds in ousting the incumbent Assembly member, Akselrod will ultimately become the favorite to win the seat in the upcoming Nov. elections. “Beating an incumbent will give me a leg up over my Republican opponent in November,“ he confidently assumed. 

“I am not going to adhere to party lines when it comes to the values of our community,” Akselrod promised. “I will be able to establish myself as an independent voice for the community and my constituents, because of the consequences that brought me in to the race in the first place. Speaker Silver is a pragmatist, who knows the district and is committed in protecting his members as speaker,” Akselrod further pledged. 

In a district with a growing Russian and Orthodox population, who are traditionally leaned more towards the right, Akselrod firmly believes that he is the right guy to uphold the power and responsibility in representing the district. “Given the opportunity and the trust of the community, I will be able to deliver,” Akselrod expressed his hope of becoming a sufficient voice for as a public servant.

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