Politics and religion: Catholic conservatives win seats in south Brooklyn

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Faith-Based Values ​​Prevail

WINDSOR TERRACE – Election Day 2020 turned out to be a big day for Republicans in southern Brooklyn, the borough’s only conservative stronghold. It was a complete reversal of what happened in 2018, when a coalition of Democratic candidates swept through the region and took over the Senate and Congress seats both held by Republicans at the time.

Two years ago, Max Rose claimed the Congressional seat from outgoing President Dan Donovan, and Andrew Gounardes defeated longtime State Senator Marty Golden. This left Assembly member Nicole Malliotakis the only Republican standing, not only in South Brooklyn but in the entire borough.

Everything changed on November 3 when Malliotakis defeated Rose for the 11e District Congressional Headquarters, which encompasses all of Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn, including Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, and Bensonhurst.

Malliotakis, the daughter of a Greek Orthodox father and Cuban Catholic mother, proudly proclaimed her victory in a moving speech which spoke of her “conservative values ​​of common sense” while expressing support for the NYPD and all law enforcement and first responders.

“Today, Staten Island and southern Brooklyn sent a loud and clear message that will resonate from City Hall to the halls of Congress,” Malliotakis exclaimed. “This race was about the brave men and women of the NYPD and all of our law enforcement and first responders; those who keep our city safe and rush into danger at our hour of need. ”

She added that she would always support them during her tenure.

Malliotakis, the first Hispanic American elected from Richmond County, won the state assembly seat in 2010 and has worked hard on initiatives benefiting her district, focusing on quality of life issues that , according to her, were abandoned.

“Faith-based values ​​played a huge role in my election, as did my opposition to the efforts of some elected officials who used the COVID-19 epidemic as a reason to impose unwarranted restrictions on churches and other places of worship in the whole city, ”Malliotakis told The Tablet.

Malliotakis believes his deep roots within the Greek Orthodox and Catholic communities have enabled him to better connect with a wide range of voters of diverse faiths and cultures in his constituency.

“Faith-based support spanned major religions, to the point of being endorsed by several newspapers that cater to the Orthodox Jewish community, including the very influential Jewish press. I have never hesitated to speak out on a wide range of issues important to believers; from voting against barbaric term abortion legislation in the New York State Assembly, to fighting against city hall’s misguided efforts to block a statue commemorating Mother Cabrini and her great works. or to take a stand against socialism and communism which severely restricted the practice of my mother’s Catholic faith in her native Cuba, ”Malliotakis explained.

Michael Tannousis, a former prosecutor who had built a solid reputation for prosecuting numerous cases involving drugs and violent crimes, easily won the former seat of Malliotakis, the 64th Assembly District, which covers parts of Brooklyn and the east shore of Staten Island.

Tannousis, member of the Maronite Catholic and Greek Orthodox communities, said he was proud to have garnered support from the Republican and Conservative parties.

“I look forward to being a voice of common sense in a legislative body that lacks common sense,” Tannousis told The Tablet. “I will continue the excellent work of Nicole Malliotakis and continue to fight for our voters. Malliotakis had supported Tannousis from the start of his campaign and saw him as the natural progression to continue his work in the Assembly.

Additionally, Vito Bruno, an Italian Catholic, was able to total more votes on election night than outgoing State Senator Andrew Gounardes for the Senate seat, held by former policeman Marty Golden for 16 years before Gounardes.

Bruno, a successful businessman and entertainment manager played a key role during the 70s disco era. He began his career at 2001 Odyssey, the Brooklyn club made famous in the John Travolta classic “Saturday Night Fever ”, filmed primarily in Bay Ridge.

Bruno focused his campaign on conservative values ​​and common sense that won over voters in the 22nd New York State Senate District, including Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach and Marine Park in south Brooklyn. .

Additionally, Mark Szuszkiewicz led incumbent Mathylde Frontus on election night in her bid to take control of 46e Headquarters of the District Assembly, which covers Coney Island, Sea Gate as well as parts of Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Brighton Beach and Gravesend. The Brooklyn-born Szuszkiewicz, who holds both health insurance and real estate licenses, is also a practicing Catholic and has been running on lowering taxes and bringing civility back to the neighborhood.

New York State Conservative Party Chairman Jerry Kassar believes faith and family values ​​made all the difference in this year’s election. “Values ​​Voters are one of the most overlooked coalitions that have come together to influence voting behavior this year. In particular, I believe that many Catholics, including myself, took into consideration when choosing who to support a candidate’s positions on issues ranging from the sanctity of life to supporting the choice of l ‘school,’ Kassar told The Tablet.

“Certainly, the interactions between Judge Amy Coney Barrett and members of the US Senate have made millions of salons understand the importance of having senior officials based on religious principles,” Kassar added.

Brooklyn Conservative Party President Fran Vella-Marrone echoed Kassar’s sentiments. “The results of this year’s South Brooklyn local election for Congress, State Senate and State Assembly illustrate a return to conservative values, ”Vella-Marrone told The Tablet.

“As president of the Brooklyn Conservative Party and a practicing Catholic, I am proud that the candidates who ran on the Conservative Party line were advocates for religious freedom and the sanctity of life. These positions are part of the platform of the Conservative Party. Nicole Malliotakis, Vito Bruno, Mark Szuszkiewicz and Michael Tannousis all reflect these views and will support legislation that will protect and promote the right to freely practice our faith and the fundamental right to life, ”Vella-Marrone concluded.


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