At its annual meeting held last Wednesday, the Benjamin Franklin Reform Democratic Club chose its leadership team for 2017. New president Bruce Feld, a 50-year resident of Riverdale, had in previous years been an area Democratic party official. Vice presidents elected were Bryant Daniels and former club presidents Ellen Feld and Daniel Johnson. Other officers chosen were Robin Weinstein, Treasurer; Ivan Nedds, Corresponding Secretary; and Kate Theobald, Recording Secretary.
Addressing the club membership was new congressman Adriano Espaillat, whose 13th district overlaps part of the club’s jurisdiction. Longtime congressman Eliot Engel serves the other portion of the area. Representative Espaillat spoke on a number of issues, notably the fate of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and immigration policies in the Trump administration. He also announced the opening of his new Bronx office on the Grand Concourse. The 13th district extends from Manhattan to the Bronx, and the club had urged last year that a new office be established in our borough. Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz and congressman Engel’s chief of staff, Bill Weitz, also reported on developments in Albany and Washington.
The following at-large members of the club’s executive committee were also elected: Steven Balicer, Ira Bigeleisen, Delores Dixon, Paul Ellis, Joseph Gordon, David Greenblatt, Michael Heller, Jerald Kreppel, Georgianna Land, Sylvia Lask, Eleanor Oliff, Daniel Padernacht, John Ryder, Andrew Sandler, Heidi Schwartz, and Judith Sonett.
Mr. Feld spoke of the challenges to be faced by the surprise election of Donald Trump to the presidency. “Grassroots political organizations like the Ben Franklin Club will be necessary more than ever if we are to defend our democratic principles and progressive programs,” he said. Mr. Feld also noted that 2017 is a municipal election year and the club will have an important say in the election of the mayor, city comptroller, public advocate, borough president, and the 11th district city council member (currently Andrew Cohen.)
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