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Velazquez nets presidential nod for primary

U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez is vying for re-election in the 7th Congressional District. Photo courtesy Nydia Velazquez
TimesLedger Newspapers

U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-Ridgewood) received a crucial — and prominent — endorsement last week in her bid for re-election in the 7th Congressional District.

Highlighting efforts to create middle-class jobs and improve education, President Barack Obama endorsed Velazquez, citing the incumbent’s efforts to generate job growth in her community.

“For the past two decades, Rep. Nydia Velazquez has been a constant advocate for middle-class families, helping to create an economy built to last where everyone has an opportunity to achieve the American Dream,” the president said in a statement. “She has worked tirelessly to create good middle-class jobs through community projects, provide affordable housing so folks have a decent place to lay their head at night and invest in education so that the children in her district receive the quality education they deserve.”

Velazquez is currently serving her 10th term in Congress. Her newly drawn district spans from Lower Manhattan to Woodhaven. She is running against City Councilman Erik Dilan (D-Brooklyn) and former Democratic District Leader George Martinez in the June 26 primary to see who will get the Democratic nod to run for the seat.

The congresswoman also picked up endorsements from three top state Democrats: U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) and Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan).

Dilan bashed Velazquez as one of the few members of Congress who refused to sign a 2010 letter urging the president to impose sanctions on Iran to keep it from getting nuclear weapons and threatening Israel.

“Nydia Velazquez has the worst voting record on Israel in the New York congressional delegation,” said Dilan. “In her 20 years in office she failed to support the pro-Israel community on nearly half the measures brought before the House in defense of our ally.”

A spokeswoman for the congresswoman fired back at Dilan, stating her record shows she has been outspoken in defense of Israel.

“Suggesting the congresswoman is anything but a friend, ally and supporter of Israel is politically driven nonsense,” the spokeswoman said. “She has been outspoken on issues ranging from holding Syria accountable for failing to support the peace process, condemning attacks by Hamas and Hezbollah on soldiers and civilians, furthering aid to Israel, calling on the U.N. to take to task the Iranian government for threats targeting Israel and reaffirming the right of Israel to defend itself.”

Dilan has also racked up endorsements of his own, including Senate Democratic Leader John Sampson (D-Brooklyn), along with union groups New York City Building Trades and the New York City District Council of Carpenters.

The third candidate in the race, George Martinez, a self-described “hip-hop diplomat,” organized a campaign called Bum Rush the Vote aimed at running candidates for office without corporate financing.

Martinez could not be reached for comment.

Reach reporter Steve Mosco by e-mail at smosco@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.

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