ALBANY—For Assemblyman Adriano Espaillat, the stances Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has taken cut personally: He was once an undocumented immigrant.
"I will not support anybody who has a position for English only," he said. "I'm an immigrant myself, and someone who came here with no papers. If I were to come here today, and that kind of position prevailed, I wouldn't have had the opportunity to become an assemblyman."
He will meet with Gillibrand this Sunday in Brooklyn. I asked what message Espaillat — the first Dominican elected to sit in a state legislature — will bring to the meeting. "I would like to see her conduct a listening tour in neighborhoods like the one that I represent, so that she can hear firsthand the stories of the folks that I represent."
Still, his stance was stronger than that of fellow Assemblyman Peter Rivera, who seemed more reticent to comment before the meeting.
Another Bronx assemblyman, Michael Benjamin, wrote to fume about the clip packet Rivera sent him and other colleagues.
"Enough of the liberal pile-on! Who made gun control, gay marriage, and illegal immigration core democratic party values — much less litmus tests?" he wrote, before praising Clinton-style centrism. "I urge my downstate colleagues to stop trying to ‘Mau-Mau' Senator Gillibrand. She may be a crack shot."