The gloves were off last Thursday night.
And there still are 11 weeks left until the Democratic primary vote in the 13th state Senate District.
State Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) and Jessica Ramos, a former aide to Mayor de Blasio, made no attempt to conceal their differences at a debate held at the Jewish Center of Jackson Heights.
Much of the evening centered around Peralta’s decision in January 2017 to join the now-defunct Independent Democratic Conference, which caucused with the Republicans in a power-sharing agreement.
Peralta called it a beneficial step that delivered millions of dollars in state money to the district. Ramos called it a betrayal of the voters who are parents, renters and those trying to make ends meet.
“Do you regret empowering the Republicans to have a majority?” Ramos inquired when given the opportunity to ask a direct question, saying that the IDC failed to deliver on Dream Act legislation, driver’s licenses for unauthorized immigrants and women’s health issues.
“It’s about results,” Peralta said, pointing to a $1.1 billion increase in education spending, more than $5 million in technology upgrades at district schools and $10 million for housing and immigration services.
Peralta also asked what qualified Ramos to run, asking how she had helped the community during her service in the de Blasio administration.
Her reply was direct.
“I left a job that paid $130,000 to go without a salary for a year to run for a job that pays $80,000 because we can’t trust you to be a Democrat,” she said, hammering away again at the failure to the GOP-controlled Senate to pass the Dream Act legislation of which Peralta is the primary sponsor in the Senate.
“Have we gotten everything we’ve wanted? No ... But it all comes down to the number 32 [in the 63-member Senate]. You can have all the pie-in-the-sky dreams you want. Thirty-two — it’s simple math. ... And you have to work with Democrats and Republicans and independents,” Peralta responded
On the subject of charter schools, Peralta said there are some he supports and others, which he considers more corporate in structure and philosophy, that he does not. Ramos is adamantly opposed, and even hit Peralta on the contributions he has taken from charter school entities and real estate interests.
Peralta countered that about 85 percent of his donations have been from residents and union supporters.
On transportation, Peralta pointed to the $418 million put up by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and matched by the city for immediate short-term improvements in the subways, though Ramos pointed out that it does not appear to have made much of an impact yet.
Peralta, like all former IDC members, was being targeted for a primary for more than a year in progressive circles. But he still won the endorsement of the Queens County Democratic Party.