by Robert Kesten

Many Americans grew up believing that a single party in control of all branches of government would not serve the people. That certainly seems true in Washington, DC, today. But across the nation there are only 4 states where the legislatures are divided between the two parties. In all others, it is one-party rule, and those states have more legislative successes while the few divided states, including New York, are making far less progress on important issues like healthcare, voting rights, tax reform, and education funding.

There will always be differences on policy concerns, but many of those can be resolved and a shared benefit can be found. The bigger difference is how the two parties view the role of government. One views it as a part of the solution and the other as part of the problem. Because of that there is no coming together to address the biggest issues, and the divide continues to grow between the parties and the people. New Yorkers deserve better.

The Republican Claims and The Reality

Republicans want to maintain the status quo. They favor the establishment and pass legislation that believes corporations are people and money is speech. They may argue that women deserve some economic rights but can’t come around to accepting that women have a right to control their bodies, making women second-class citizens at best.

Republicans have an “us vs. them” way of thinking and use fear and anger as weapons. Their feeling is that gun violence should be fought by building fortresses, that economic stress should be fought by allowing corporate control of the levers of power, and that the economy should be protected by eviscerating the safety net that allows those most in need to hold on to a shred of dignity.

Republicans faithfully claim smaller government and lower taxes, yet in reality, they raise the deficit and increase the budget in every administration they control, along with increasing the size of government.

Republicans are far more monolithic than Democrats. They fall in line.

What Democrats (and I) Believe

Democrats have traditionally spent less and invested more in our country and people. We believe that human beings, not corporations, are people, and that business is meant to provide jobs, goods, and services. We believe that government is part of the solution: that government works to strengthen the safety net for those most in need, aims for fairness, and expects those who reap the benefits of the system to pay their fair share.

Democrats believe in economic and social justice, a middle class, unions, and giving every child an opportunity to learn in well-funded public schools no matter what neighborhood you live in.

When John F. Kennedy pointed us to the moon, he captured the imagination of the nation. Democrats still believe that investing in the future is the best vision forward for our country and New York.

What a Democratic NY Senate Would Look Like

Over the past few months, I have held 7 Town Hall meetings. I’ve been told that is 7 more than my opponent has held in his almost 4 years in office. I offer a different view of government—of what we can achieve when the people, business, and government work together. At our next Town Hall in Pawling on May 7 we will take a look at my vision of what a Democratic NY Senate would look like. It’s a hopeful, positive, forward-looking vision, and definitely not the status quo.

I ask you to consider voting for and investing in a Democratic New York State Senate, not because one party should control all levers of government, but because it will allow our legislature to do what is right for the people of New York. It will put people first.

Join our campaign as a volunteer, learn more about where I stand on the issues, and know you are welcome to be part of this campaign no matter your political affiliation. Like you, I believe in the future of New York and New Yorkers and the first step is taking this senate seat. Join me.

Catch up on all the past Kesten Essays »

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