Rep. Lee Zeldin, with House Freedom Caucus members Jim Jordan, left, Matt Gaetz and Mark Meadows, speaking to reporters about the impeachment inquiry in November 2019. Screenshot from C-Span video/Facebook

To the Editor:

New Yorkers have important decisions to make in the upcoming election on Nov. 8. Reproductive rights, gun safety, and environmental protection are on the ballot. After the violence of Jan. 6, democracy itself is on the line.

For those of us who value environmental protection, access to reproductive healthcare, and the need to have a safe society with less gun violence, there is only one choice on the ballot. We must vote for Democrats and reject Republican candidates, headed up by Trump acolyte Lee Zeldin. Recent news of texts to former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows show the congressman plotting to contest the 2020 election before it was even called. We cannot have a governor who seeks to overturn elections. We deserve to have fair elections that are also safe. The right wing extremist attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6 has shown that we can no longer count on that. This is why we must repudiate election-deniers like Zeldin at the ballot box on Nov. 8.

We must consider the safety of our planet. Zeldin and other down-ballot candidates continue to point to fossil fuel extraction as the answer to our energy problems, rather than investing in renewable energy that can help mitigate the climate emergency. We cannot have science-deniers in office. That is why we must repudiate candidates like Zeldin and Nick LaLota, who have advocated for fracking, at the ballot box on November 8th.

We must also look at gun safety legislation. Zeldin’s record on this is egregious. He has received tens of thousands of campaign dollars from the NRA, and voted against common sense measures like universal background checks and reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act. But it is not just Zeldin’s record we must examine. Every Suffolk County Republican in the NY State Legislature voted against raising the age to purchase a semi-automatic weapon, just weeks after the massacres in Buffalo and Uvalde. One cannot claim to be concerned about public safety, and also vote to keep weapons of war on our streets. It is why we must repudiate gun safety opponents at the ballot box on November 8th.

Finally, we need politicians who do more than stoke fear and propose real solutions to the problems we face We cannot frack, incarcerate, and deny our way out of the very real challenges we face. When we invest in the social safety net and in renewable resources, our communities are safer for all of us. When we protect reproductive rights, we invest in women’s healthcare. When we invest in free and fair elections, we are all safer and freer.

Those of us who value safety and freedom must reject the extremist policies of Republican candidates and vote for a future that serves all of us. For these reasons, I will be voting for Democrats on Nov. 8.

Shoshana Hershkowitz

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