BY TEQUILA MINSKY | On Sunday afternoon May 19, members of Downtown Manhattan Democratic clubs packed the auditorium at the LREI high school on Charlton St. for a “state of the government” public forum with Congressmember Jerry Nadler.
Nadler is particularly high -profile these days as head of the House Judiciary Committee.
Richard Corman and David Siffert, the respective presidents of Downtown Independent Democrats and Village Independent Democrats, moderated the afternoon.
“We’ve been wanting to have collaborative events with the other local Democratic clubs,” Corman said.
Impeachment led the topics and during the Q&A, the burning question was asked, “Isn’t following the rule of law first and foremost, and isn’t there a moral imperative to impeach?”
“We may well impeach,” Nadler said. “We are holding hearings and having inquiries,” he assured, hedging that they just aren’t calling it impeachment, at this time.
However, the veteran congressmember raised the alarm of ultimate catastrophe if Trump is re-elected, citing the almost-irreversible damage to the environment and the impact on climate change that four more years of his policies would mean. Nadler also voiced great concern over nuclear proliferation and how canceling treaties could lead to increased nuclear buildups. The message, in short: Trump must be defeated!
Issues included vetting judges, the abortion bans, and gerrymandering of districts, which the Republicans have so strategically implemented.
On the local level, he mentioned how a two-way toll would finally be restored on the Verrazzano Bridge, stopping “toll avoidance” heavy truck traffic in Brooklyn.
Nadler spoke of the need for a freight-only train tunnel or bridge from New Jersey because New York City’s truck traffic — 93 percent of which comes in over the George Washington Bridge — causes so much hazardous pollution. He would also like to see a major shipping-container port in Brooklyn, which could also help reduce carbon emissions from trucks.
The representative also cited a list of accomplishments — each drawing applause — including the 9/11 Health Care Bill, votes cast against the Iraq War and Patriot Act, and the struggle for marriage equality.
State Senator Brad Hoylman was introduced midway through the afternoon. Pointing to the jam-packed auditorium, he said, “Thanks to activists, the state Senate is ‘true blue.’”
He added that, thanks to recently passed legislation in the newly Democrat-controlled Legislature, the state Department of Taxation would now be sharing New York tax returns with the House Ways and Means Committee. Hoylman and Democrats hope that includes Trump’s tax returns, though the president intends to fight it.
Subsequently, on the morning of Fri., May 24, Nadler, 71, had a health scare while with Mayor Bill de Blasio at a press conference on the Upper West Side touting the city’s newly expanded school speed-cameras program. Nadler basically fainted and bowed his head while sitting on the dais. De Blasio encouraged him to drink some Gatorade that the mayor had in his water bottle and said that Nadler appeared dehydrated.
According to The New York Times, three doctors attended to Nadler and he soon revived and was seen eating an orange before he was taken by ambulance to N.Y.U. Langone Hospital, where he was held overnight for observation.
The Times noted that Nadler has no history of health problems. To deal with obesity, he had stomach-reduction surgery 17 years ago.
This Tuesday, Daniel Schwartz, a Nadler spokesperson, said the West Side congressmember is staying in New York this week since Congress is in recess.
“It was very warm in the room and he felt a bit ill,” he said. “It was just dehydration and, after receiving fluids, he felt much better.”
With reporting by Lincoln Anderson