by Stefano Forte
I grew up in New York’s golden age during the prosperous Giuliani era when crime was low, quality of life was high, and we all felt secure walking the streets of our great city at any hour of the day. Our businesses were thriving. Education was a priority. The city I enjoyed and loved was safe and prosperous. Being raised in an immigrant family of small business owners who worked their way up the socioeconomic ladder with their sweat, blood, and tears, I truly believed that the promise of the American Dream was well within our grasp.
Now, in a very short time, everything has changed. Disastrous policies have led us to disastrous places: our small businesses are shutting their doors for good, the quality of our education has plummeted, and, most concerningly, non-violent and violent crime alike have shot to record highs. What caused this? Many of us already know the answer, and it’s obvious: electing the same kind of radical (or simply complacent) career politicians over and over again has emboldened them to create policies that are decimating the city we all love. The Bail Elimination Act, passed through the budget in 2019, has allowed all manner of “non-violent” criminals to be freed ahead of their court date without posting bail. This could’ve been a just concept, and it was in theory – rich people and poor people should not have different advantages under the criminal justice system simply because of economic status. But as we all know, this theory became an almost immediate disaster when put into practice. By stripping judges of their discretionary abilities, there is now no way to keep potential re-offenders in custody ahead of their court date. The result has been the categorical catch-and-release of criminals that has led to such tragedies as the recent violent assault of a toddler in Flushing, or the shoving death of Michelle Go in Times Square. Both of those offenders, like many others, had committed prior offenses and should not have been walking the streets of our city.
Watching the streets of many of our neighborhoods being burned and looted in the summer of 2020 was the final straw for me, and our predicament has only gotten worse since then. As someone who has been active in my community for years, watching this catastrophe of terrible leadership unfold has been incredibly painful to me. My parents instilled in me a great care for my fellow man and fellow Americans; and so, after carefully consulting with my family and religious leaders, I decided to step up and run for State Senate in the 16th District. I believe that my fighting spirit and my dedication to law and order will well serve the interests of this community that I have spent my life living in. My opponent, sitting State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky, co-sponsored the disastrous bail reform and has pushed forth and voted for much of the legislation that has decimated our education system and small business community. Just recently, she pushed for the appointment of anti-white, pro-CRT, and anti-gifted-and-talented activist Shino Tanikawa to the Regents Board. Mrs. Stavisky is a career politician that has been in office since 1999. It is fair to say that she has personally overseen and contributed to the horrible decline of our great city with her awful voting record. It’s high time for a change because the people of Queens deserve it.
I don’t hide the fact that I am young; in fact, my youth and energy work to my advantage because I have no qualms about boldly fighting for the people of New York. Our leadership needs to reflect the mood of this district and this state at large, the mood of a people fed up with radical policies that are destroying our quality of life and the future of our youth.
I can’t win this fight without your help. Our strength is in our numbers; we all have to join together to create positive change in our communities. I would be honored and humbled to have your support. It’s time to get out-of-touch career politicians OUT!
Stefano Forte is the Republican candidate for NYS Senate, 16th District