Feb. 2, 2017 By Hannah Wulkan
Several Jackson Heights residents are upset by State Senator Jose Peralta’s decision to leave the Democratic Party and have started to organize a protest.
Peralta announced his move to join the Independent Democratic Conference last week, leaving some constituents stunned. Several are planning to protest the move tomorrow night, during a public meeting with Peralta at 6 p.m. at the Jewish Center of Jackson Heights at 37-06 77th Street, during which time the senator intends to explain his decision.
“‘Independent Democratic Conference’ is a bunch of fancy bait-&-switch words to make you think you’re electing a Democrat, but you’re really electing a con-man who is siding with the anti-immigrant, anti-LGBT, un-American GOP Trump supporters!” reads the Facebook description, posted by the organizers of the protest.
The IDC is a group comprised of breakaway Democrats who have been elected to the State Senate. With Peralta joining its ranks, the IDC now has a total of eight members in the 63-member chamber.
The IDC has joined forces with the GOP and have formed a majority coalition.
Peralta explained that he believes he can “better affect change” by joining the group.
“I want to make clear that I am not a Republican, that I am not siding with the Republicans. I continue to be a progressive Democrat, like I have been for my whole political career. In this new era of Trumpism, I cannot sit on the sidelines any longer, I need to bring real results for my community,” Peralta explained in a statement yesterday.
The organizers of the protest, however, feel a sense of betrayal and are looking to remove Peralta from office.
“Do not tolerate your intelligence being insulted by this sleazy political shell game. Stand Up. Sit-In. Speak Out,” reads the event description on Facebook. “Jackson Heights is the melting pot of NYC and everyone is welcome here with open arms. Demand a ‘special election’ to remove Peralta from office and elect a new, real Democrat to represent us!”
Neither organizers of the event nor Democratic Conference Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris returned request for comment.
For more information on the protest visit https://www.facebook.com/events/397207860629527/.