By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
With a little over three months to go until Election Day, Democrat Domenic Recchia, hoping to wrest the congressional seat that covers Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights and Staten Island away from Republican Michael Grimm, focused his campaign on the Brooklyn end of the two-borough district on Saturday, organizing a group of volunteers to go door to door for him to talk to voters.
Recchia came to the Stars and Stripes Democratic Club on 15th Avenue to kick off what his campaign labeled a weekend of volunteering.
Dozens of volunteers came to the political club, heard a pep talk from Recchia, and then fanned out throughout the neighborhood, knocking on doors.
"We're building a movement. Since day one, we've been focused on our grassroots infrastructure, with volunteers out there every day to meet with voters and talk about the importance of this election, and what is at stake this November," Recchia said.
Recchia, a former councilman, said he has also been knocking on doors in an effort to reach voters. "I've been knocking on doors to speak with voters about issues facing middle class families, from creating jobs to improving our transportation and infrastructure. This isn't political to me, it's personal. As the husband of a public school teacher and father of three girls, I understand what working families are going through each and every day, which is why I'm going to fight for Brooklyn and Staten Island families in Washington," he said.
The 11th Congressional District, which Grimm represents, covers the entire borough of Staten Island and takes in parts of several Brooklyn neighborhoods, including Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights and Bensonhurst. Staten Island is the power center of the district. When the district’s boundary lines were drawn, Staten Island took up two-thirds of the map.
Grimm, meanwhile, has also been out on the campaign trail. The incumbent, who was indicted in April on tax evasion, fraud, and other charges stemming from alleged wrongdoing at a health food restaurant he owned before winning election to congress in 2010, received some bad news last week when it was learned that his criminal trial could take place as early as October. That would put Grimm’s legal troubles front and center at a time when voters are beginning to pay close attention to the election campaign.
Grimm appeared determined to ignore the legal storm clouds and focus on his role as a congressman. On Saturday, he spoke out against a proposal made by City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito to have New York City take in some of the children from Central America who have been streaming across the southern border of the U.S.
The New York Observer reported that Mark-Viverito called for the undocumented children to be welcomed here because they are fleeing violence in their home countries.
“These children are facing a horrific situation at home, which has led them and their families to make some really difficult decisions. I think we have a responsibility to respond to a humanitarian crisis that we have before us,” Mark-Viverito told the Observer.
“The speaker talks about our obligation to respond to a humanitarian crisis at the border, but what about the unresolved crisis right here in Staten Island and Brooklyn with countless families still struggling to get back in their homes 19 months after Sandy?” Grimm said. "Where are our priorities? The City Council Speaker’s priorities are just as deluded as the President’s. If we're going to allocate resources, shouldn’t we do so for those that have earned that obligation, like our veterans? Our nation’s heroes are coping with record-high homelessness, not to mention failing to receive the basic healthcare they deserve. Before spending resources to house undocumented immigrants, doesn’t the city have a real obligation to help people like our veterans who risked life and limb for this country or the hardworking families ravaged by Sandy who want to be reunited back in their homes?”