Bay Ridge, Meet Dan Donovan, Your New Congressman From Staten Island

The moment that District Attorney Dan Donovan became Representative Dan Donovan. (Source: Dan Donovan For Congress Facebook page)
The moment that District Attorney Dan Donovan became Representative Dan Donovan. (Source: Dan Donovan For Congress Facebook page)

Republican Dan Donovan is now officially our new Congressman from the 11th district, after taking the oath of office from John Boehner on the floor of the House of Representatives on Tuesday.

Donovan fills a set that had been left empty since January by the resignation of Republican Michael Grimm, who stepped down after he pleaded guilty to one count of federal tax evasion. Grimm won reelection last fall despite the indictments then looming over him, but stepped down shortly afterward, setting up the special election between Donovan and Democratic City Councilmember Vincent Gentile. Donovan easily won the majority Republican district which consists of the entire borough of Staten Island, plus just enough of southern Brooklyn to make up a full congressional district.

Donovan gained national notoriety in his last job as Staten Island DA when the grand jury he seated failed to indict a white police officer who killed an unarmed black man using a banned choke hold during an arrest on the Island last summer.  The killing was one of a series of police killings of black men across the nation that have led to demonstrations and civil unrest, including the fatal shooting of two New York City police officers in December of 2014.

In spite of the controversy, Donovan’s involvement with the case never became an issue in the campaign. It was not seen by Democrats as a vote-winner in conservative Staten Island, where the bulk of voters in the district live. Staten Island is also home to many New York City police officers, firefighters and other municipal workers who favored Donovan.

Donovan has announced that his first priority in his new job will be to take action on the James Zadroga 9/11 bill, which provides funding for treatment of first responders injured or made ill in the 9/11 terrorist attacks and is up for renewal this year. Bay Ridge was profoundly affected by the 9/11 attacks and Donovan’s support for the bill will have strong support on both sides of the bridge.

Other issues that are a high priority for Ridgeites will not probably be getting much backing from Donovan however.

When it comes to raising the minimum wage, Donovan seemed clueless during a debate with Gentile, unable to name the existing minimum wage and answering instead with vague, pro-business bromides. Donovan has also been missing on other issues of economic and social justice such as equal pay for women, marriage equality and campaign finance reform. He has also vowed to repeal Obamacare.

During the brief campaign Donovan, barely set foot in Bay Ridge, stopping by for one debate before going AWOL from the remaining debates, and only canvassing here once, the day before the election.

4 comments on “Bay Ridge, Meet Dan Donovan, Your New Congressman From Staten Island

  1. How many indictments did he get as Staten Island DA? How come he couldn’t get an indictment of a man being murdered captured on video?

  2. I think the larger issue that we all have here is progressive vs conservative – something rarely addressed in the context of local politics. The lifeblood of neighborhoods that have remained unchanged over many years is indeed that conservatism. Personally, I am not one to shy away from true reform. We need stiffer penalties for these officers, a true living wage in our city, rent restrictions and a myriad of other things that will allow a working class person to comfortably live in our city. Bay Ridge was built on those progressive ideals. But we fear to discuss the impact of these reforms and what they will mean for our fair neighborhood. The kind of attention it will bring, and whether our identity and history will be erased by a group that may scare us. And by “us”, I mean native Brooklynites. These reforms won’t be passed by a Federal governing body. Only on a local level will we have the ability to push this legislation, like in Washington state and other states/cities across the country. And yes, it is indeed a terrible thing that we have an outrageous man representing us in congress. And terrible as it might be for this kind of publicity on our neighborhood, that only makes it all the more terribly wonderful to keep us the community we always were. Push this legislation locally. It means more to us here than in our nation’s capitol.

  3. Dan Donovan is a RINO hack and stated admirer of super-RINO Peter King. He was anointed by John Antoniello and Vinnie Ignizio and their SIGOP exec committee. The Garner case dealt with NOT conservative views as Donovan is no conservative. It dealt with Staten Island being filled with apologists for anything the NYPD does. And THAT is why Donovan let Pantaleo off.

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