This evening I had the chance to chat with Democrat Lew Simon about his path to victory. While Simon has run before and lost, this year he is more organized by hiring an experienced campaign staff from Red Horse Strategies.
“We’ve been on the phones, going door to door and we will be pulling them out on Election day,” Lew said describing his campaign’s strategy as focused – not only having identified the support he intends to pull out but concentrating on a large-scale ground operation.
Lew is running against incumbent Eric Ulrich, a one term Councilman who Simon said failed to serve the entire community during his tenure. Simon cites Ulrich’s poor attendance record at Borough Board and stated Council meetings, as well as his reputation for ignoring constituents pleas for help, as grounds for removal.
“He has one of the fifth lowest attendance at meetings! That’s unacceptable when you’re being paid,” said Simon who went on to explain that if elected as a member of the Democratic party, he would be empowered to chair a committee (Simon set his eyes on Parks and Recreation) unlike his Republican rival that while in the minority party cannot chair any committees thus limiting his ability to accomplish an agenda.
Counting on his experience as a longtime Assembly District Leader, Simon feels he’ll be better able to communicate with constituents. He mentioned the support his campaign received as proof, calling it a “fusion” including members of ethnic coalitions, civic organizations, even members of his opponent’s party.
“I never would have expected Republicans to come over and work with me and I’m proud to have them,” said Simon.
His agenda for City Hall is pretty robust. “My first priority is rebuilding after the hurricane.” Simon vowed to make sure his district gets everything available “by not playing favorites” and calling participatory budgeting “a great thing”.
Neighborhood safety is also a major priority. “There are many parts of the district that have not gotten help… We need better lighting, additional police, the old-fashioned way of police officers walking the beat, not cameras, cameras that don’t do anything,” Simon explained.
In terms of supporting the Community Safety Act, Simon said “it is ridiculous to threaten police officers with lawsuits,” and pointing to the Civilian Complaint Review Board, which is already in place, by giving it an enforcement mechanism by appropriate legislation.
Recently Simon had two stints placed in his heart, however the downtime had not taken him off the campaign trail entirely, in fact he made the most of it and campaigned right from his bedside.
“For the few days I was out, I’ve done more by phone, and the staff are working hard. Field operations are doing a superb job and I thank them.”