Velmanette Steps Down, Passes Torch to Wright for Senate Seat
By Stephen Witt,
Kings County Politics
Longtime State Sen. Velmanette Montgomery (D-Fort Greene, Boerum Hill, Red Hook, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Sunset Park, Gowanus, Park Slope) made official on Saturday the often-heard rumors – after 35 years she will step down at the end of her term this year.
Montgomery made the announcement at the TWU Local 100 headquarters on Montague street surrounded by a who’s who of Brooklyn’s Black American elected leadership. This included U.S. Rep. Yvette Clarke, State Senators Kevin Parker and Roxanne Persaud, Assemblymembers Latrice Walker, Diana Richardson, Tremaine Wright and Walter Mosley and City Council Members Robert Cornegy Jr. and Alicka Amprey-Samuel.
“I want to thank the people on whose shoulders I have stood on starting with [former City Council Member and Assembly member] Al Vann. I also want to thank all the political organizations that I had to go before each time I ran for re-election and who wanted to know what I’ve been doing and who backed me based on their trust,” said Montgomery.
Among the political clubs, Montgomery named – all of whom are in her district – included the Vanguard Independent Democratic Association (VIDA), the Independent Neighborhood Democrats (IND), the Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats (CBID), Lambda Independent Democrats of Brooklyn and the Progressive Association For Political Action (POPA).
Montgomery’s tenure in office was marked by a number of key legislative wins dealing with issues concerning women’s’ and children’s’ rights and education.
In making the announcement, Montgomery also strongly endorsed Assemblywoman Tremaine Wright (D-Bedford-Stuyvesant, Northern Crown Heights) to succeed her. Wright, the former chair of Community Board 3, coffee shop owner and University of Chicago Law School graduate, has long been a pillar of the Bed-Stuy community before getting into politics.
“This is the second time I am running for a seat that is being opened because one of the women in our community that has led continuously and given up of themselves to work for all of us has decided they will no longer serve in this particular capacity,” said Wright, choking back tears and recalling how her current assembly seat opened after longtime Assemblywoman Annette Robinson stepped down.
“And even before I entered the assembly, I’ve been working with the senator from the redesign of the train station at Utica Avenue to all the other issues before the community board,” she added.
Wright also noted that as a young lawyer working on behalf of incarcerated women, it was one of Montgomery’s pieces of legislation extending parental rights of incarcerated women to their children that had a long and positive affect on the community.
The announcement came after a VIDA meeting on the same day, in which VIDA endorsed Joe Biden for President, Wright to succeed Montgomery, VIDA Executive Board Member and City Councilman Robert Cornegy Jr.’s (D-Bedford-Stuyvesant, Northern Crown Heights) former Chief of State Stefani Zinerman to succeed Wright in the assembly.
VIDA also endorsed VIDA President Henry Butler to succeed Cornegy as the male Democratic District Leader. Additionally, VIDA tabbed Butler, VIDA Vice President of the Political and Social Action Committee Babatunde Akowe and Vida Acting General Counsel Lisa Lewis to be on the April 28 Presidential primary ballot as delegates for Biden and to attend the upcoming Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin this July.