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Sen. Peralta Kicked Out of Democratic Club in Latest Fallout Over IDC Move

By Katie Honan | February 13, 2017 8:25am
 State Sen. Jose Peralta with Councilman Danny Dromm and Borough President Melinda Katz in happier times at a New Visions Democratic Club meeting in 2013.
State Sen. Jose Peralta with Councilman Danny Dromm and Borough President Melinda Katz in happier times at a New Visions Democratic Club meeting in 2013.
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New Visions Democratic Club

JACKSON HEIGHTS — State Sen. Jose Peralta was booted from his local Democratic club in the latest fallout over his defection to an independent group in the senate — which has prompted rallies and criticism from former allies in Queens. 

The 26 board members of the New Visions Democratic Club — which Peralta has been a member of since it began in 2002 — voted unanimously to kick him out as long as he remains a member of the Independent Democratic Conference, which he joined earlier this month. 

"The New Visions Democratic Club has taken the position that State Sen. Jose Peralta should return to the Democratic Conference immediately," the group's president, Shekar Krishnan, said in a statement. "We will welcome him back into the club when he does."  

Peralta was unfazed by his removal, turning on the Jackson Heights group that has supported him in his assembly and senate elections. 

"It's not a surprise that the New Visions Democratic Club, controlled by the Queens Democratic machine, took this action," his spokesman, Juan Soto, said in an email to DNAinfo. "Senator Peralta looks forward to a healthy debate now and during his re-election."

Getting kicked out of New Visions is just the latest repercussion since he joined the IDC — a group that, according to spokeswoman Candace Giove, "conferences with fellow Democrats, but works in majority coalition with 32 senators who elected a Republican leader."

But many see it as a hindrance to a Democratic majority in the state senate, including hundreds of residents who called Peralta a "traitor" for joining at a recent town hall. 

He's also been criticized by his colleagues, including Councilman Danny Dromm, who founded New Visions and urged Peralta to return to the Democrats last week.

City Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, who represents part of Peralta's district, said that after election of President Donald Trump, Democrats should be joining forces against Trump's policies — not "empowering" those who support them. 

“Now is not the time for appeasement. Now is the time for Democrats to be Democrats, and to stand with Democrats for Democratic values," she told DNAinfo New York.

"We cannot afford to have our State Senator empowering Trump-supporting Republicans who seek to deport immigrants, deny health care, and destroy basic human rights. Senator Peralta must return to the Democratic Caucus.” 

On Thursday, there will be a rally and protest in front of the Jackson Heights Post Office on 37th Avenue organized by No IDCNY, which was formed by Queens residents, according to their site.

Peralta's move is "indefensible when Senate Republicans seek to push the Trump agenda in New York," organizers wrote on a Facebook event listing for the rally.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the year New Visions Democratic Club was founded. It was 2002, not 2007.