David Yassky, candidate for the 11th congressional district in Brooklyn, presented his stump speech and answered questions from members of the Stonewall Democratic Club mid-Saturday afternoon at Brooklyn’s staple eatery, Junior’s.
The council member began with a national message, describing himself as a progressive voice ready to take a stand, and describing Russ Feingold as “a great example.”
“We Democrats have got to change the way we do business, we got to get much more substantive and much more aggressive,” he said. “If we play defense on every issue we’re going to lose.”
The race issue, though, is hard to avoid in this primary. One Stonewall member asked the Council Member about what he thinks of the racial dynamic in the contest and recounted what had happened just after the group had settled into their table. A supporter of Carl Andrews, one of Yassky’s four African-American opponents, had approached the table from hers, one booth away.
“We couldn’t even sit down at this table without someone coming over and making a remark,” he said. “There was a woman who came over to [a Stonewall member] and asked if we were your team, and she then said you’re the only person of color sitting at this table.”
Yassky responded that he believes “it’s foremost in politicians and politicos minds,” although he thinks voters are more concerned with issues than race.
“The district is drawn so that the community of color in that district is sure to get representation,” he continued. “I don’t think that means that the representative is supposed to be of a particular skin color or not. What it means is that person who is going to be representing them is going to do a great job for the community. The whole point of my campaign is I’m saying I think I can do that job, I want to do that job.”