January 26, By Hannah Wulkan
State Senator Jose Peralta announced yesterday that he is leaving the Democratic Party to join the Independent Democratic Conference in the hopes that he can better “affect progressive change on issues,” outside of the two-party system.
Peralta, who represents parts of Jackson Heights, Elmhurst and Corona, is joining seven other senators in the splinter group, which broke off from the Democratic Party in 2010 in collaboration with Senate Republicans.
“The IDC’s track record on delivering for the most vulnerable New Yorkers is irrefutable. They delivered an increased minimum wage, free [Universal Pre-Kindergarten] and Paid Family Leave. Joining the IDC will allow me to not only speak about, but deliver on a progressive agenda for all New Yorkers,” Peralta said in a statement.
He added that joining the IDC will allow him to affect more change on the issues most important to his constituents, including affordable housing, higher education, school funding equity, homelessness reforms, economic development, infrastructure upgrades, affordable healthcare, senior citizen protections.
“Senator Peralta embodies the spirit of this conference’s drive to get real results for the people of New York. As a Democrat, Senator Peralta knows that at this moment in time it’s critical to join the IDC, not just sit on the sidelines, in order to bring about progressive change,” said IDC leader Jeff Klein, who represents a district in the Bronx and Westchester.
Peralta is the eighth member of the IDC, doubling the number of original members when it was founded. He was a member of the Democratic Party for 14 years, since he first ran for State Assembly in 2003.
Peralta added in a statement on Facebook yesterday, “This has been a very difficult decision for me, and one that I have not taken lightly. In response to the current political climate and very real threats facing our community from Washington, I decided that now is not the time for inaction. Now more than ever, we must unite to ensure that the values we hold dear to our hearts are protected in Albany.”