Democrat Domenic Recchia jabbed Congressman Michael Grimm at a campaign event in Brooklyn last night, offering some of his most pointed comments yet since the Staten Island Republican’s indictment last month.
Visiting the home of sympathetic voters on what he has dubbed a “Kitchen Table Listening Tour,” Mr. Recchia asserted that Mr. Grimm could not adequately serve as a congressman after being indicted on wire fraud, mail fraud and various other charges in conjunction with a restaurant he once operated in Manhattan.
“I’m going to win because the people want change. They are tired [of] Michael Grimm being ineffective. He’s part of the problem, not part of the solution,” Mr. Recchia told the Observer. “All I know is that while I’m out there talking to people and working for the people and addressing their issues and helping them resolve their problems, he has to be worried about his problems, okay, and that’s going to take up a lot of time.”
“That’s why the people of this district need a congressman who’s going to spend 100 percent of the time thinking about them, talking to them,” Mr. Recchia added.
Mr. Recchia, a former Brooklyn councilman, spent his evening at a home in Dyker Heights, where he spoke for a little over an hour with a family about various local concerns, including sanitation, drugs and testing protocols at public schools. Mr. Grimm was rarely discussed, though homeowner Penny Santo claimed several times that the Republican was “unapproachable,” unlike Mr. Recchia. Mr. Recchia sipped coffee and scrawled notes, occasionally pausing to make sure he covered every planned topic; two plates of sugar cookies set on the table remained uneaten.
But when pressed, Mr. Recchia hit Mr. Grimm for feuding with Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat who is relatively unpopular in Staten Island, at least according to poll numbers and election returns.
“I’m an elected official that can work with everyone. Michael Grimm can’t work with everybody,” Mr. Recchia declared. “Michael Grimm, when the mayor calls a meeting, alright, he’s too busy going to a Justin Timberlake concert instead of going there and listening. Whether you agree with the mayor or don’t agree with the mayor, he’s the mayor of the City of New York.”
Mr. Recchia also brushed off the suggestion that scoring the endorsements of leaders of the new liberal establishment, including Mr. de Blasio and Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, would hurt him in the many right-leaning pockets of the district. Treading carefully, however, Mr. Recchia made sure to note that he had unspecified points of disagreement with both.
“I served with them in the City Council. I worked closely with them, you know, and she is the speaker of the City Council and I appreciate her, having her support and the fact that she’s helping me raise money is greatly appreciated,” Mr. Recchia said. “Listen, we don’t always agree on issues, you know, we don’t always agree, we disagree. But the most important thing is we sit down and have dialogue and work with each other to make things happen.”