FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 25, 2017
Contact: Liuba Grechen Shirley
New York’s 2nd District Democrats
LONG ISLAND PARENTS TELL REP. LEE ZELDIN THAT OUR CHILDREN ARE NOT “POLITICAL PROPS.”
THEY ARE CONSTITUENTS & FUTURE VOTERS!
PATCHOGUE, NY – August 25 – Long Island parents rallied outside of Rep. Lee Zeldin’s office to protest how his District Director, Mark Woolley, treated constituents who delivered a petition to his office last week. Shoshanna Hershkowitz, a local community organizer and founder of Suffolk Progressives, delivered a petition with over 1,500 signatures calling for Zeldin's removal from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council, because he did not denounce President Trump for his comments blaming both sides for the violence in Charlottesville. Woolley attacked Hershkowitz, accusing her of using her children, five year-old Asher and eight year-old Ellie Hershkowitz as “political props.”
“Afterwards Ellie said to me that she wanted to tell Woolley that she is not a prop, she’s a kid. But she knew that was supposed to be quiet in that office, so she didn’t say anything, even though her feelings were hurt.” said Shoshana Hershkowitz, a South Setauket resident and founder of Suffolk Progressives.
“Our children are not political props,” said Liuba Grechen Shirley, founder of New York’s 2nd District Democrats. “They are constituents and future voters. I bring my children to visit my Congressman’s office and to political rallies to teach them how to be engaged citizens, to teach them that being an American means actively participating in government. I also bring them because I am their mother, and don’t always have childcare.”
New York’s 2nd District Democrats member, Kaitlin McGreyes, points out that, “Woolley’s comments are indicative of a much larger problem of sexism, disrespect for women, and a complete lack of support for the difficult task of parenting and specifically mothering.”
McGreyes added, “To suggest that politically active women are bringing their children with them as some sort of ‘prop’ tells us that Lee Zeldin has no understanding of the greater burden that women experience of childrearing and childcare, that he undervalues the contributions of women in politics and the new leadership roles women are taking on in his district both in resisting his policies and in engaging voters.”
There is a level of civility that is expected when one engages with the office of a political representative, and clearly Lee Zeldin is not meeting this standard. To allow his staff to attack mothers and children is unacceptable and reprehensible. Woolley needs to be removed from his position, and Lee Zeldin owes Shoshana Hershkowitz, and all of his constituents an apology for this disgraceful incident. Women are the leaders of the resistance. We are here to stay, children in tow. We will not be ignored and we will not be bullied.
New York’s 2nd District Democrats is a constituent-based group dedicated to reenergizing the Democratic base, mobilizing district two residents, and ensuring that President Trump’s election is the spark that ignites the strongest, most unified social justice movement our country has ever seen.
Suffolk Progressives is committed to educating and mobilizing active participants in our democracy. The organization works to elect progressive candidates at all levels of government.