By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Former councilman Domenic Recchia, who is trying to unseat indicted US Rep. Michael Grimm, has picked up the endorsement of the New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council, AFL-CIO.
The union, which was founded in 1939, represents 35,000 hotel and motel workers in New York and northern New Jersey.
Josh Gold, the union’s political director, cited Recchia’s progressive credentials as a reason for the endorsement. “Domenic Recchia has been fighting for working families and progressive issues his entire career. It’s time for the people of New York to have a leader they can trust to carry their voice to Washington,” Gold said.
Recchia said he was grateful for the endorsement, praising the union’s members as having fought for the rights of workers and having advocated for social justice. He has also been fighting for working families, he said.
“I’ve been campaigning hard across Staten Island and Brooklyn because the working families of New York need a leader who will make their concerns a top priority. Middle class families deserve leadership they can trust, leadership that will work with everyone to ensure that the people of this district are heard and represented. The men and women working across this city need someone who will fight for them every day, and for issues that matter most to middle class and working families.” Recchia said.
As a councilman, Recchia, a Democrat, represented a district that covered Coney Island, Gravesend and parts of Bensonhurst. He is running against Grimm, a two-term Republican congressman representing the 11th Congressional District, a seat that covers the entire borough of Staten Island and takes in parts of Brooklyn, including Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights and Bensonhurst.
The already heated race went into overdrive in April when Grimm was indicted on federal charges. The 20-count indictment charged the congressman with failing to disclose an estimated $1 million in profits from an Upper East Side health food restaurant he owned before running for congress in 2010. Grimm allegedly paid workers in cash and filed false tax returns.
Grimm, who has vowed to fight the charges in court, has attempted to go about the business of being a congressman as if nothing is amiss. The lawmaker has made numerous public appearances on both sides of the bi-borough district in recent months and has regularly issued press releases on various issues in congress.
On June 16, Grimm took part in “Will on the Hill”, an annual event hosted by the Shakespeare Theatre Company of Washington D.C. in which congress members join actors on stage in a performance to benefit local theater, art and humanities programs that serve 23,000 students.
“It was such a pleasure to join my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support such a great cause. It’s coming together in light-hearted events like this that help us work through our differences and deliver real results for our constituents. I’m proud to continue to be a strong advocate for arts and humanities funding, especially those that support youth programs and museums” Grimm said.
Grimm was honored earlier this year by the American Alliance of Museums for supporting federal funding for arts programs like the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.