BROOKLYN CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS ENDORSE ERIC GONZALEZ, SAY TOGETHER THEY WILL FIGHT TRUMP’S RECKLESS POLICIES
Nadler, Velázquez, Clarke and Jeffries make it clear why they are endorsing Gonzalez
For Immediate Release
Wednesday, August 2, 2017 – (Brooklyn, NY) – District Attorney Eric Gonzalez and four top members of Brooklyn’s Congressional delegation today announced that they are joining forces in the fight to protect Brooklyn from the misguided, wrong-headed policies of the Trump administration.
Reps. Jerrold Nadler, Nydia Velázquez, Yvette D. Clarke and Hakeem Jeffries cited Gonzalez’s reformer credentials, and his success in overturning wrongful convictions, reducing the reliance on incarceration, protecting Brooklyn's immigrant communities from unnecessary deportations, and ensuring equal justice in Brooklyn.
The group slammed the failed “tough on crime” policies of the 1980’s that have recently resurfaced under President Trump and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions. A recent memo by Sessions to all federal prosecutors requires them to seek the highest possible charges in every case, carrying the highest sentences. These incidences frequently trigger mandatory minimums. This approach, which led to record numbers of people imprisoned for non-violent offenses, has been widely discredited and runs counter to smart on crime policies that have driven down crime in Brooklyn to the lowest levels in history.
Brooklyn is now one of the safest cities of its size in the country. Recently, the district attorney’s office announced that in the first half of 2017, Brooklyn has continued to see significant declines in violent crime, even outpacing statistics from 2016, the safest year in Brooklyn’s history.
“Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions are trying to take us back to the discredited ‘War on Drugs,’ which has resulted in the United States being the world’s biggest jailer,” said Rep. Nadler (NY-10). “I support Eric Gonzalez because he is pushing back against the Trump agenda by treating drug use as a health issue rather than a criminal justice issue. Eric is providing addicts with the treatment and other services they need to break the cycle of addiction.”
Gonzalez is also fighting back against the Trump administration’s mass deportation policies, implementing a first-in-the-nation immigration unit to handle cases involving immigrants. Gonzalez hired full-time immigration attorneys to make sure that low-level cases do not result in disproportionate punishment, such as deportations.
“Progressive policies that take a smart on crime approach, including ‘Begin Again’, young adult court and bail reform, have helped reduce recidivism and led to crime in Brooklyn to historically low levels,” said Rep. Velázquez (NY-7). “Eric Gonzalez will continue these innovative approaches, and that is why I am so proud to support him for district attorney.”
“Eric Gonzalez has a progressive vision for the district attorney’s office that will help keep our streets safe while providing equal justice for all Brooklynites, including our immigrants,” said Rep. Clarke (NY-9). “As the child of immigrants, I know just how important their contributions are to the fabric of New York City, and District Attorney Gonzalez will do everything in his power to keep families here and resist the pernicious agenda of the Trump administration.”
Gonzalez has taken steps to keep Brooklyn safe while at the same time creating a fairer criminal justice system. He has stopped asking judges to set bail in most misdemeanor cases so that defendants in low-level cases are not held in jail just because they cannot afford bail. Additionally, Gonzalez has directed assistant district attorneys in Kings County to decline to prosecute low-level offenses like turnstile jumping, along with the district attorney’s policy of not prosecuting low-level marijuana cases – both examples of offenses where the overwhelming number of people arrested are people of color who in most cases have no other record of criminal involvement. As a result, Brooklyn has become a model for how to reduce arrests for minor offenses, prevent people from being saddled with life-altering criminal records, and create a criminal justice system that is fairer and treats all people equally.
“In a short period of time, Ken Thompson dramatically transformed the criminal justice system in Brooklyn,” said Rep. Jeffries (NY-8). “He then handed the baton to Eric Gonzalez, who picked up where DA Thompson left off. Under Eric’s leadership, the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office continues to pursue a progressive criminal justice approach that promotes both public safety and fairness. Without question, Eric Gonzalez is best qualified to continue the transformative change started by his predecessor, and that is why I am proud to strongly endorse his candidacy.”
“I am so proud to have these four great members of Congress supporting my work and campaign today,” said DA Gonzalez. “These strong leaders of Brooklyn are fighting day in and out for the people of Brooklyn in Washington, D.C. against the destructive Trump agenda. Whether it’s his mass deportation policies or his backward-looking approach to criminal justice, they understand that policies that rip apart families and push our immigrant neighbors into the shadows make our communities less – not more – safe. That’s something we also understand in the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office, and why we are fighting back and continuing to implement needed reforms to our criminal justice system.”
Eric Gonzalez is a lifelong resident of Brooklyn. He was raised by a single mother for most of his youth, living first in Williamsburg. During the 1980’s, his family moved to East New York during the height of the city’s crack epidemic. Gonzalez is a graduate of John Dewey High School in Coney Island, Cornell University and the University of Michigan Law School where he was president of the Latino Law Student Association. He is married to his wife, Dagmar, and they have three sons.
Gonzalez also holds a commanding lead with political and labor endorsements, including (list in formation):
Service Employees International Union (SEIU) 1199, Mason Tenders, United Federation of Teachers (UFT), Service Employees International Union (SEIU) 32BJ, Transit Workers Union (TWU), Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), United Court Officers Association (UCOA), Council of Supervisors and Administrators (CSA), NYC District Council of Carpenters, Sheet Metal Workers Local 28, Metallic Lathers and Reinforcing Iron Workers, DC9 of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades
Public Advocate Letitia James, Comptroller Scott Stringer; Assembly Members Pamela Harris, William Colton, Robert Carroll, Rodneyse Bichotte, Tremaine Wright and Latrice Walker; Council Members Brad Lander and Mark Treyger
Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats, Lambda Independent Democrats, Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, Muslim Democratic Club of New York, Vanguard Independent Democratic Association, Stars and Stripes Democratic Club, Progressive Democrats Political Association, Bay Dems, United Progressive Democratic Club, Shore Front Democratic Club, Thomas, Jefferson Democratic Club, 41st AD Democrats Club, 57th AD Democratic Organization
Working Families Party, New York Immigrant Action Fund (the 501c4 arm of the NY Immigration Coalition), VOCAL-NY Action Fund, Make the Road Action
Rev. Dr. A.R. Bernard, Bertha Lewis