The weather forecast was for a very hot day -- ninety degrees. Regardless, I wanted to witness an on the ground action by Rise and Resist, a group active in response to the election of Donald Trump. (Full disclosure: I am a member of a New York Indivisible group.)
While the rest of the country is dealing with the daily breaking news of "Trumpland," New York State has its own political drama which is picking up steam.
It's all about Albany politics, specifically the State Senate. Eight elected Democrats have joined a group called the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC). Under the tutelage of State Senator Jeffrey Klein, they have formed a coalition with Republicans.
With the arrival of Trump's agenda, voters are getting more tuned in to government at every level. The IDC, previously under the radar, now finds itself scrutinized, both by a newly energized electorate and New York newspapers.
The location of the protest was listed as being at Klein's Bronx office, 1250 Waters Place, located in the Hutchinson Metro Center. Rather, it was on a two-way street at the foot of the entrance to the large, gated complex.
I didn't see demonstrators when I arrived, and wondered if I were in the right place. The first thing I saw suggesting I was in the correct vicinity was a large truck. It sported the message, "Laborers Support New York State Senator JEFFREY KLEIN." In small print was the acknowledgement, "Paid for by New York State Laborers PAC."
I finally spotted a gaggle of people. They were behind a barricade that had a blue banner with a photograph of Klein. Many of the men had signs or shirts identifying them as belonging to the Transport Workers Union Local 100.
I engaged in conversation with a woman giving directives. She was from Klein's office, but declined to give me her name. She informed me the people in attendance were part of a community rally, because Klein supports efforts to fix the Tier 6 Bill. "John Samuelson [TWU Local 100 President] supports the IDC," she said. "Labor issues, working people, retirement - are all one and the same." When I pressed her on whether the IDC had been preventing legislation that would help most average New Yorkers she replied, "It's news to me."
Bronx Community Board 11 member, Marcy Gross, was anxious to share her enthusiasm for Klein. "He supports progressive issues as well as old-school issues," Gross told me emphatically. "He supports unions." Without missing a beat, she suggested, "He should run for President!"
I was given a flyer, a list of suggested chants. "Jeff Klein is on our side," and "The IDC fights for me," seemed to be favorites. A man yelled out, "There's nobody more honest than Jeff Klein."
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