Thursday, June 9, 2016

Between the Bridges in Broad Channel

Between the Bridges
Peter Mahon
June 9th, 2016

Phil Goldfeder - A Political Horse of a Different Color

Peggy Noonan, one of my favorite writers,  once wrote, "Don't fall in love with politicians. They are all disappointments,  They can't help it.  They just are."  I have always taken Peggy's advice to heart, especially when it comes to the world of Albany politics where our state legislature is apparently filled with scores of honest politicians as you can say, once they are bought, they tend to stay bought. Of course even Ms. Noonan would allow that there are exceptions to her rule and, every now and then, an innocent man manages to get elected and is sent to the legislature.  Those of us who reside within the State Assembly's 23rd District have been blessed to be on the receiving end of such a rare political happenstance in the person of our own local state assemblyman, Phil Goldfeder when he assumed stewardship of our district from the hands of Audrey Pheffer back in 2011.

One of the first things I noticed about Phil indicating that he was possibly a political horse of a different color was the fact that his campaign was conducted without the usual political ad hominem attacks against his opponent, Jane Deacy, a retired NYC Police Officer and Republican District Leader, and instead focused solely on the constituent concerns of the 23rd district - elimination of the Cross Bay Bridge toll, job creation, tidal street flooding, local crime, etc. 

During October of 2012, one year after winning his seat in the 23rd District, Hurricane Sandy's storm surge laid waste to our community here in Broad Channel and this young, energetic family man came into his own as his leadership abilities proving a boon for his constituents during what would be a long and difficult recovery process.  Although his own family's home in Rockaway was damaged, Phil was an almost everyday presence in our town and his capacity to infuse his own sense of optimism into the the residents of Broad Channel served to restore our belief that there was really a light at the end of that dark tunnel of destruction. On November 17, 2012, President Obama, Governor Cuomo and Mayor Bloomberg flew over our town in a helicopter without so much as a wave or even dropping a couple of PBJ sandwiches, en route to somewhere other than Broad Channel.  For the most part, they were never seen again. The following day I was heading up to the American Legion for a hot meal and some cleaning supplies and when I arrived at the Legion there was Phil Goldfeder doing what he does best, listening to his constituents.  

Over the ensuing years Phil has maintained an almost manic enthusiasm for service to our community as he involved himself in a myriad of issues of concern to his constituency and I am not talking about the global and national issues which inundate our media but over which none of us has any control.  I am referring to those quality of life issues that garner little or no press attention but which impact each and every one of us on a daily basis where political intervention can serve to better our lives in the community. Thankfully, Phil has also demonstrated an intuitive ability to staff his offices with individuals (Bella Pori, Amanda Kernozek, P'nina Gluck, Eugene Shvartsman, and Jon Greenfield) all of whom share both his enthusiasm and concern for the constituents of the 23rd District. You call or email his office with a question or concern, either large or small, and you can be assured of a prompt, courteous reply and follow up actions. 

No summer soldier of partisan politics, Phil has proved himself to be that rare species of politician who is more concerned with the well being of the present and future generations of the families in his District rather than that of his own re-election. Phil's appeal stems from the fact that we all recognize him for what he is, which is to say he's one of us, sharing the same dreams, hopes, aspirations we all have for our families and community. 

Obviously I have no sense of what road in life our assemblyman may undertake when he departs office in six months but I would like to leave Phil and his family with these heartfelt words of thanks for all he has accomplished on behalf of all us us here in Broad Channel - "May the road rise up to meet you, may the wind ever be at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face and the rain fall softly on your fields...."

Good luck and God bless!


  1. Very Nice Excellent Pete!
    Danny Ruscilo & Linda Ruscillo

  2. Thank you, Pete. Once again, beautifully eloquent in saying what the rest of us can only feel.