Dov Hikind Praises Proposed ‘Super Jewish’ Senate District

 Dov Hikind Praises Proposed Super Jewish Senate District

Dov Hikind (Photo: NYS Assembly)

Many local politicians were unhappy with the proposed legislative lines released yesterday by Albany’s redistricting task force, but Assemblyman Dov Hikind said the plans for the “Super Jewish” Senate District 17 are “absolutely wonderful.”

“If all this ends up being the case and this district stands I think it will be absolutely wonderful,” Mr. Hikind told The Politicker.

Along with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Mr. Hikind is one of New York’s most prominent Orthodox political leaders. The proposed Senate District 17 has been described as “Super Jewish” because it consolidates much of the Orthodox community in the Midwood neighborhood of Brooklyn.

“I’ve always felt and have said it publicly, that communities should be left intact,” Mr. Hikind said. “Communities that share philosophical goals and ideals should stay together. I think it’s absolutely great and I can tell you that people in these communities would be very, very happy to have this happen.”

Mr. Hikind’s enthusiasm for the District 17 proposal was shared by Orthodox advocacy group Agudath Israel.

“The district reflects the orthodox community’s interests. The lines reflect where the orthodox community lives and we believe that this is a very positive move in order to make sure that our voices are heard and that our issues are dealt with effectively,” Shmuel Lefkowitz, Agudath’s top lobbyist in Albany, told The Politicker.

In general, Mr. Hikind said he thinks the redistricting process proposed positive changes.

“Even my own new district looks more normal than the old one, in the sense that it’s more compact,” he said. “The one I have right now, if you look at it you’ll say how did they do that? How do they manage the three different pieces?”

The new proposals for Mr. Hikind’s seat in the 48th Assembly District are quite similar to the plans for Senate District 17.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has repeatedly vowed to veto any district lines drawn by the Legislature rather than through an independent process. Shortly after the new lines were released, the governor’s office described the redistricting proposals as “simply unacceptable” and said they “would be vetoed by the governor.”

In spite of the Governor’s opposition, Mr. Hikind is confident the proposed boundaries for Assembly districts will stand, though the Senate lines may face challenges.

“I think the Assembly lines will end up pretty much staying the way they are now,” Mr. Hikind said. “There might be a challenge to the whole thing, but I think the speaker and those who worked on it did a very good job being responsive to the needs of minorities, for example the two Asian districts.”

In light of this, we asked Mr. Hikind his prediction for the fate of the “Super Jewish” Senate district.

“We’ll see what happens as this unfolds, in terms of the overall, what the governor’s going to do,” he said. “But I think the idea of this kind of district just makes sense. Of course, the goal now is to get someone effective to represent the district.”

With that being said, we asked Mr. Hikind if he’d consider moving to the Senate to represent District 17 if it survives the coming redistricting fight. Mr. Hikind said he has no desire to leave the Assembly.

“Let me tell you, I’m into my thirtieth year. I’m going to run for re-election. I love what I do, we’re working harder than ever doing more than ever,” Mr. Hikind said. “I get on TV almost every week these days, but the part I do that most people don’t see is the real hands on work in the community. I set my agenda. I get involved in all kinds of things. I don’t have to get in the State Senate to do things.”