Lowey has served with distinction in the U.S. House of Representatives for thirty years. She is currently Chair of the House Appropriations Committee. It will be impossible for a successor to duplicate the influence Lowey now wields on budget policy and the national agenda.
However, it is still important for the Democratic Party to nominate someone who will work hard, be effective, and honor the values that Congresswoman Lowey championed during her three decades of service. I believe that person is former Obama Deputy Secretary of Defense Dr. Evelyn Farkas.
In explaining this preference, it will be necessary to explore, for a moment, the politics of the contest in New York’s 17th Congressional DIstrict (NY17), specifically why the front runner, David Carlucci, must not be allowed to step into Lowey’s seat.
As a New York State Senator for the last decade, Carlucci collaborated with Republicans in Albany through his participation in the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC), an eight member cabal that voted to keep Republicans in control of the Senate in exchange for desirable committee assignments and other considerations. The Republican leadership facilitated by Carlucci and the IDC allowed the Republicans to kill most of the progressive legislation passed by the Democrats in the State Assembly since 2011. The advances in women’s health, election reform, and environmental protection made by the Legislature last year, when Democratic voters finally threw out six of the eight IDC members, would have been possible ten years ago if not for the IDC.
Carlucci narrowly retained his state Senate seat in 2018. He is clearly out of step with the voters of the 17th Congressional District, and his record as a turncoat does not inspire confidence that he would meet the expectations of Democrats who have enjoyed the service of Congresswoman Lowey.
Unfortunately, Carlucci’s current state Senate district, mostly in Rockland County, comprises about 38% of the vote in NY17. He starts the race with high name recognition and a base of around 12,000 voters in Rockland. Since there are a dozen other announced candidates for the Democratic nomination, Carlucci’s advantage could hand him the nomination, unless progressive Democratic voters coalesce around the strongest alternative.
That brings me back to Evelyn Farkas, the daughter of refugees from Communist Hungary who settled in Chappaqua in the 1950s, working hard to establish a middle class lifestyle that allowed Evelyn to go to college and grad school and build a successful career as a foreign policy expert. In addition to her work in the Department of Defense, Evelyn worked on Capitol Hill for eight years as a senior staffer for Senate Armed Services Committee Chair Carl Levin. She was one of the first to sound the alarm about Russian interference in the 2016 election, earning her the denunciation of Sean Hannity and others who continue to deny Russia’s role in Trump’s election.
Among the crowd of candidates in NY17, Evelyn Farkas stands out because of her experience, her contacts in Congress and the Executive Branch, her dedication to the ideals of our country, her work ethic, and her national stature as a foreign policy expert. She also has the campaign staff and fundraising resources that make her the best bet to defeat the turncoat who, by fluke of circumstance and geography, finds himself at the