Robert I. Rhodes, Ph.D.,
Chairman, Preserve Ramapo
July 16, 2014
Thanks to redistricting, all of Rockland county is now represented in Congress by a single representative—Nita Lowey. This should be a reason to celebrate, but it isn’t. For reasons best known to Nita she has shown a singular lack of interest in the issues that most affect our county. But this has not prevented her from raising funds from the same real estate interests that have dominated our county for so many years. Nita’s first trip to Rockland this campaign was for her fund raiser at the home of Paul Adler, a real estate operator, a convicted felon, and past chairman of the Rockland Democratic Committee.
Anyone who is on Nita’s email mailing list knows that she supports all of the national positions of the Democratic Party. Since I am a liberal Democrat, I am certainly not prejudiced against her because of these positions. But what I do find disturbing is her disinterest in our local issues.
For many months Nita ignored appeals from members of East Ramapo’s public school community. Like Governor Andrew Cuomo she had apparently decided that the interests of 9,000 Black and Brown public school students could be safely sacrificed for political expediency. She was finally forced to meet with representatives of the community, but that was the end of it. Even though Nita is one of the most senior members of Congress, and even though millions of dollars in federal funds are passed down to East Ramapo, she has done nothing—no public statement of support for East Ramapo, no intervention with the U.S. Department of Education, and no call for an investigation by the House Education Committee.
Nita’s opponent is Chris Day a political newcomer to the Rockland political scene. Chris is best known in our county as the manager of Ed Day’s remarkable campaign for County Executive last November. Chris calls himself a moderate Republican and many of his positions certainly are not traditional Republican positions.
Chris, like Nita, is concerned with the increasing inequality of income in our country, and has called for the closing of corporate tax loopholes, and fair wage legislation. Unlike many Republicans, he has opposed the so-called Defense of Marriage Act. While he opposes late and partial birth abortions, he believes abortion should be legal. He has serious concerns about the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), but recognizes that our healthcare system was in need of serious reform before the ACA was passed. Chris is also a strong environmentalist.
Unlike Nita, Chris has criticized RLUIPA (the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act), criticized the New Square slaughterhouse, and supported the East Ramapo public schools.
We believe that if Chris is elected he will continue to demonstrate his independence and work to ensure that our Republican Congress does more than just say NO.
Preserve Ramapo is a nonpartisan organization that was created to advance the local interests of our residents. Based on this agenda it is clear that Chris Day deserves our strong support for Congress in November.
Robert Rhodes moved to Ramapo in 1958. After graduating from the University of Michigan he received his M.A. at Columbia University and his Ph.D. in political sociology at Princeton University. Rhodes was a college and university professor for ten years and then returned to Ramapo to direct Deerkill Day Camp, the family business in Ramapo. His real political education began when he worked to help launch the village of Wesley Hills in 1982. The twenty-one years he spent first as deputy mayor, and then as a trustee in the village of Wesley Hills taught him the importance of integrity and transparency in government. He worked hard to guarantee religious freedom in Wesley Hills and diversity on the village boards reflecting the diversity in the community. For the last seven years he has served as chairman of Preserve Ramapo.