The analysis that follows is part of a long-term effort to establish an independent group of observers and analysts who live or work in each of the Congressional Districts of New York City beginning with the Ninth CD. The boundaries change but you will always be in one of them. It will include a portion or all of city and state political districts. Organizing this way yields power. Take it.
This project also recognizes an opportunity to examine the representation of NYS as a whole to include an evaluation of U.S. Senate representatives. Outreach occurs through other organizations and individuals under the heading of @NYDelegation. Delegation Watch and, Indivisible. It will be slow but continuous and with some help. Finally, all views are welcome that offer facts, but know these resources are unabashedly Democratic in party affiliation, Progressive in outlook and as independent as an Independent can get on the issues, needs and concerns of everyday people. Here’s an example on the Ninth Congressional District. If you win a Democratic primary for Congress in NYC, you win the election. Yvette Clarke captured most votes in the primary of 2012, but it is fair to say only about 14,000 people voted to elect her to the office. There are over 250,000 registered Democrats in CD9. Yvette took 81% of the vote in 2014 with just 83,000 votes and 92% in 2016 with 214,000 votes. In 2018, the win percentage was barely over 50% with a challenger who fell just 1,500 votes short of taking her seat.
The Clarke Platform and Record of Service
First, the territory of public life comes with criticism. Please accept this summary with the idea that it has the capacity for error. The main source for analysis is GovTrack and while this organization has an excellent reputation, it is still possible to misinterpret the data as provided. Please use the comment section below and dig into the data yourself. The rule is the facts are friendly, as far as “scuttlebutt” goes; it appears the CD9 office staff are known to be unhelpful with difficult questions or unresponsive with challenging problems leading to dead-ends and the need to go elsewhere for advice and help. Personal anecdotes pro or con on the general behavior of the office would be helpful with dates, times, places.
Second, without doubt Yvette’s commitment to public service is a wholesome one, grounded in family tradition and steeped in protecting the rights of her constituents and the responsibilities of public office. That “wrist-slap” from the Ethics Committee dismissed regarding the lack of disclosure of sponsors on a junket to Azerbaijan and Turkey. Her record of accomplishment over the last two decades presents a picture of little more than a loyal Democrat. Rarely missing a vote is proof of party loyalty and that is proving to be insufficient over the need for a far more aggressive legislative initiative in protecting people.
It is fair to say Congresswoman Clarke has become a career politician serving as a New York State Representative for the 11th Congressional District from 2007 to 2012 and as the Representative of the 9th Congressional District beginning in January 2013. She is completing her 18th year in the United States Congress. GovTrack lists her name as associated with just 77 pieces of legislation (review here) and the congress.gov site here, shows the breadth of the House activity in the introduction of bills and very little else. Of over 2,000 bills with which she is connected, the following four are the only ones with her name as “sponsor” all are in the 111th Congress (2009-2010), See: H.R.3771: H.R.3771; H.Amdt.560; and H.R.4616.
The co-sponsorship of one act, signed by President Obama called upon the Small Business Administration increase their reporting accuracy regarding public sector procurement by minority-owned businesses. This can be reviewed here.. For an advanced search on all of Clarke’s Legislation click here. Click the following links for a detailed look at her GovTrack Report Card and her Voting Record since 2007. It is not a great report or a good record. Please judge for yourself.
The Clarke 2018 Platform
Clarke’s 2018 platform on her website claims the co-sponsorship of three bits of legislation in Energy, Housing and Education none of which became law. The most shocking part of her 2018 platform is a striking omission. The need for immigration reform and ideas about how to establish a path to citizenship for children is missing. Half of the population in the Ninth Congressional District was born in another country.
The other seven platform issues listed on her website (latest observation: 3.28.19) offer one or two paragraph generalities on the need for justice, fairness and equity. The importance of small business, healthcare reform, the prevention of gun violence and trade with the Caribbean briefly describe existing conditions. There is no sense of urgency in these pronouncements. In fact, she did not vote on an act sponsored by Elliot Engel for improving relations with the Caribbean nations (See: H.R. 4939/114th Congress).
Protecting Education Loans for Underserved Students Act H.R. 4480/113th was not enacted and cleared from the books. It is fair to say these efforts disappear and emerge in different forms. The mention of the Flood Insurance Affordability Act (here) was passed in 2014 to help protect homeowners from insurance price increases by delaying enforcement of an increase. This was also lumped in with a demand for stronger rent regulations in which the federal government has little to offer.