On June 26th, Democratic Primary voters in NY Congressional District 2 will determine which candidate – LIUBA GRECHEN SHIRLEY or Leg. DUWAYNE GREGORY – challenges the long-entrenched Republican incumbent in the midterm election.
Community organizer, business and non-profit leader Liuba Grechen Shirley and Suffolk County Legislator DuWayne Gregory faced each other Monday, June 4, in a debate held by the Seaford Wantagh Democratic Club at Levittown Hall.
The two Democrats, not surprisingly, have much more in common than not, but there are differences and points they each stressed.
Gregory is the Majority Leader of the Suffolk County Legislature, where he’s been legislator for the 15th District since 2008, compared to Grechen Shirley who hasn’t held an elected office.
Grechen Shirley’s fundraising efforts have been more successful; plus, the mother of two toddlers recently gained national attention when she became the first female congressional candidate to get FEC approval to use campaign donations for childcare when she’s working on her campaign.
The following short videos – each about 5 minutes – are Gregory’s and Grechen Shirley’s closing statements, and give insights about the candidates and the goals each would have if elected to congress:
VIDEO – DuWayne Gregory’s closing statement:
VIDEO – Liuba Grechen Shirley’s closing statement:
The candidates most forcefully voiced opposition for their Republican opponent running for his 14th term, Rep. Pete King, a politician they agreed neither reflects the values, nor serves the needs, of his constituents well.
When an audience member asked Gregory and Grechen Shirley what would happen if he or she didn’t win the June 26th primary – each promised to support the winner’s campaign to unseat King.
[DISCLOSURE: Photography I’ve done for Grechen Shirley has appeared elsewhere, but nowhere on this blog.]
Last Sunday, when I entered Our Lady of Miraculous Medal Church in Wyandanch and saw the stage had a huge banner above it with the message “to believe – to belong – to be compassionate,” it struck me as a fitting place for the Together We Will Long Island (TWWLI) group to hold their Politics 101 Activists Training workshop.
Click “i” under SLIDESHOW for info about each image:
And more to the point, this location that Suffolk County Legislator DeWayne Gregory helped secure for the event checked three crucial boxes: it safely accommodated at least 70 people (in fact, it could fit hundreds); it was reasonable for members coming from Nassau and Suffolk Counties; and it was free.
TWW, which began in late 2016 and is run by volunteers, has four Core Values: to have Strategic Impact, Respect, Solidarity, and to Cultivate Action.
TWWLI, which began in January 2017, has been focusing mainly on making its concerns clear about Trump’s Cabinet appointees, Executive Orders, and ACA repeal & replace to Long Island’s federal elected officials: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Sen. Chuck Schumer, Rep. Lee Zeldin, Rep. Pete King, Rep Tom Suozzi, and Rep. Kathleen Rice. (Their official online contact info is at end of this post.)
The group’s approaches include organizing protests; sending messages; participating in Town Halls of reps who hold them; and visiting the Long Island offices, if access permitted.
After the five presentations, audience members asked questions to the speakers and TWWLI admins. Based partly on the questions, it seemed some audience members had already been involved for months with TWWLI events and facebook discussions, and others were newcomers.
During Q & A, the speakers stressed the importance of focusing not only on national politics, but also having a strong presence in local politics – from school boards and library boards, to town councils, legislators on up.
What’s the Message
When one of the speakers said how important it was to make the network’s message heard, an audience member asked, “What’s our message?”
Here are excerpts from Jay Jacobs’ answer:
Local message: It’s going to be about cleaning up our government, and putting back into place people who will run government for the purpose of delivering efficient services the best way they can, instead of taking care of the chosen few, their family and their friends….
Nation-wide basis: [We have] always fought for average citizens, fought for those who couldn’t fight for themselves…. [introducing] social security, unemployment compensation, disability insurance… Medicaid, Medicare… Obamacare.
We have to be about making government more responsive to the needs of people, less responsive to special interests and a lot of money from corporate interests…. It’s going to be about going back to our roots….
Contact Info – L.I.’s National Reps
Contact Info for U.S. Senators and Congress members who serve Long Island, NY, constituents: