(interview by Jacob Kornbluh). Queens Assemblyman Rory Lancman, is running in the Democratic primary in June, to represent the new redistricted district once held by congressman Gary Ackerman, who announced his retirement last week.
In a district that will include parts of the congressional district where Republican Bob Turner beat Democrat David Weprin in a special election last September, in which Turner's message to send a message to Obama on Israel played a major role. Rory Lancman believes that in terms of representing the district, he's the strongest candidate with a proven record, as a strong advocate for Israel, counter-terrorism and Jewish causes in the NY State Assembly.
Lancman, doing some quick learning from Bob Turner's book, did not fall shy of criticizing the president on an issue that the Democratic party is strongly committed in defending the President on - Iran. "There's a lot of things to do in Washington," he said. "Iran is still marching ahead towards developing a nuclear weapons. We still don't have a commitment from this President that satisfies me, that he will do whatever it takes to make sure that Iran doesn't develop a nuclear weapon."
elaborating on the Iranian issue (as a co-sponsor of the Iran Divestment Act of 2012 that passed in the NY Assembly. He also wrote a joint op-ed with former Mayor of New York, Ed Koch challenging then-Senator Obama to get tougher on Iran), the Assemblyman joined members of congress calling for a unified US/Israel position on Iran. "A lot more can be done. Making clear that the obligation to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon does not ultimately rest with the Israel defense forces alone, but as a joint responsibility of the U.S., Israel and the western countries, that have a interest in peace and stability in the middle east and the world." Using the harshest words of criticism articulated by a Democratic party member, Lancman expressed a great amount of concern on the president's dealing with the issue. "I'm very concerned, that the President's framework for ultimately resolving the Iran- nuclear question is: 'OK, i will let Israel go and attack Iran.' I think that is very unfair to Israel, both in terms of us not potentially sharing in that burden. But it also further stigmatizes Israle in the world,. in a way that is very unfair and dangerous for Israel and Jewish citizens everywhere."
Speaking of the actions that could still be taken, placing a credible military action on the table, to be an option if necessary. The hopeful congressman, issued this pledge as a commitment based on his record in Albany. "In the bottom line, we cannot live in a world where Iran has nuclear weapons. And if I'm elected to congress, I will do everything that a congressman can do, to make sure that that doesn't happen."
Another issue, that Mr. lancman has been very vocal over in recent days is, The Non-Profit Security Grant Program, which provides security funding for institutions that are classified as “high risk” by the Department of Homeland Security, reducing its funding from $19 million to $10 million as part of a $1 billion cut to the Department of Homeland Security in last year’s budget. "I'm very concerned that we are getting relaxed about the threat of terrorism here at home," he said. "I was shocked, that congress cut in half the federal program giving grants to non-profit constitutions that protect them from terrorist attack, which is an issue i was very involved in."
Audio of Assemblyman Rory Lancman's interview with Jacob Kornbluh
"I like to think of myself as a very strong advocate for Jewish Causes and for the State of Israel. And I make no apology of that whatsoever," Lancman, the only Jewish candidate in the race, pointed out about himself. Hoping to build on a strong Jewish and pro-Israel showing in the primaries, as he runs even with two relatively popular candidates.
Asked how he can overcome the party picked candidate, that hopes to be elected as an hero, as first Asian woman in the House of Representatives. "I don't make any apology for being a fierce advocate for my community", Lancman responded. "And I don't make any apology for being a strong advocate for Israel, which is our homeland as a people".
"So, I would be flattered, if anyone in the Jewish community thought of me as an hero for Jewish causes," he added.