It’s been over eight years since he first began his tenure as Executive Assistant to then New York State Governor George Pataki, (2004 – 2007) and, in the course of time since, Michael Fragin has become a household name in most any discussion about local politics.
It’s no wonder, almost a natural evolution, that the current Village of Lawrence trustee , former LIPA trustee and former political columnist for The Jewish Star would take to the airwaves to share his views on political issues. SPINCLASS, which airs Thursday evenings live at 8 p.m. and encores twice weekly on NachumSegal.com and JMintheAM.org, is an outgrowth of Nachum’s expansion of his network and roster of shows, to include a talk show about politics.
Launched after Succos and right before the election, Fragin is already getting feedback from listeners who often approach him in shul, in Gourmet Glatt, and in town. Thus far, SPINCLASS has featured journalists, political bloggers and public relations executives, such as recent guest Juda Engelmayer, Senior Vice President of 5W Public Relations. “Michael Fragin is informative and fair and offers his guests ample time to speak.”
The Columbia Business School and Yeshiva University grad who has been actively involved in many campaigns including Bloomberg, and Bush 2004, isn’t interested in just having political candidates as his guests. “I want to sharpen people’s understanding of the political world. People come to the ballot box and don’t know what to do. They don’t have a grasp of certain political issues. The show is a good avenue for listeners to gain intelligence in this regard. I hope to cover issues that aren’t addressed elsewhere. I have heard from listeners that I explain things in greater depth, issues such as the implications of the fiscal cliff, ramifications of challenging petitions, and practical differences between open elections and primary elections.”
“We’ve covered Israeli elections; we are not just limiting things to New York,” said Fragin, Lawrence resident since 1999, who, with wife Mimi, are parents to six children. As the parent of four boys that attend Darchei Torah and two girls at Torah Academy for Girls, Fragin is acutely aware of the Jewish angle in politics and doesn’t run away from it. “We are going to talk about real topics that are not often discussed, “ noted Fragin.”
Voter participation in the Orthodox Jewish community, is one such topic, described Fragin, as he recalled a recent interview with Rabbi Yechiel Kalish, Agudath Israel’s Political Director. In the interview, Kalish lamented about low voter participation in the Orthodox community citing a remark from Bradley Tusk, Mayor Bloomberg’s campaign manager in 2005, “The Orthodox Jewish vote is the most overrated community politically, they don’t deliver.
“I enjoy politics, it’s good fun,” said Fragin, who describes the best and worst part of politics as being identical. “There is one defining moment, election day; there are no second chances.”
Fragin’s role as political consultant in the 2010 heavily contested New York City Council race that led to the election of David Greenfield, Democrat and close personal friend, further bolstered the respect he garners from both sides of the aisle. Locally, he was instrumental in the New York State Assembly race that brought Far Rockaway resident and community member Phil Goldfeder to Albany. “Michael has years of experience in government and public service and I know that this new radio show will allow him to continue sharing his expertise on political issues relating to the Jewish community. I wish him much success in this new endeavor,” expressed Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-NY), who’s Queens’ district includes Far Rockaway.
In the coming weeks the show’s format will morph to include questions from callers.
Fragin looks forward to upcoming weeks where he is excited to host Maggie Haberman of Politico, Allison Hoffman of The Tablet magazine, Jonathan Greenspun, Mercury Public Affairs and Ben Smith of Buzzfeed.