The New York Democratic primary elections take place Sept. 14. In the coming weeks we’ll outline some of the key city, state and national races so you’ll be prepared (and encouraged) to vote.
Recent Position: State Assembly member, 1982 to 2010
Assembleyman Richard Brodsky was elected to represent the 92nd Assembly District in 1982 and has served as Chairman of the Committee on Oversight, Analysis and Investigation, as well as Chairman on the Committee on Environmental Conservation. In 2002, Brodsky was appointed Chairman of the Committee on Corporations, Authorities and Commissions. As an investigator, he looked into the use of public funds to build the new Yankee Stadium as well as MTA financing. He also authored the state’s Environmental Protection Fund and the Clean Air Compliance Act. He was first elected to public office in 1975 as a County Legislator from Westchester and spent four terms focused on health care, transportation and tax fairness issues. Brodsky would continue his environmental advocacy in the office of Attorney General as well as “use his vast experience as a reformer to crack down on unfair practices by government agencies.”
Recent Position: Partner, Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann LLP, 1998 to 2009
At Bernstein Litowitz, Sean Coffey was the lead attorney on the infamous WorldCom case, in which he secured more than $6 billion for investors burned by the long-distance telephone company. Now, in his race to be “the people’s attorney,” he says that the victory shows he can take on Wall Street corruption. Coffey was born in the Bronx and entered the Naval Academy at 17. After graduating from Georgetown University Law Center in 1987, he returned to New York and became a litigation associate. In 1991, he was sworn in as an assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, which includes Manhattan. Coffey said he would use his position as attorney general to get nonpartisan redistricting of legislative seats, public financing of campaigns and an independent ethics panel. As attorney general, Coffey said he would file amicus briefs to advance progressive ideals.
Recent Position: State Superintendent of Insurance
As an assistant attorney general under Eliot Spitzer, Eric Dinallo is credited with resurrecting the Martin Act to investigate financial fraud. He led the Investor Protection Bureau and prosecuted abuse on Wall Street. According to him, his deep knowledge of the office’s powers makes him more qualified to enact reform and public integ rity. Dinallo started his career as an assistant district attorney in Manhattan under Robert Morgenthau. Later, as managing director of Global Regulatory Affairs at Morgan Stanley, he led internal reviews and audits to certify that firms complied with regulations to protect customers. Despite handling complex cases, Dinallo wants to use the attorney general’s office to focus on consumer financial issues. He also wants to have a presence in each county to handle New Yorker’s complaints.
Recent position: Nassau County District Attorney, 2005 to present
Kathleen Rice says she can change Albany because she has done it as Nassau County’s district attorney. Elected in 2005 after beating a long-time incumbent, she focused on the drunk-driving “epidemic” in Long Island, which she said led to statewide changes in the DWI law. She also got Wal-Mart and other retailers to change their policy in the wake of the fatal stampede at the Long Island store. Despite prosecuting quality-of-life crimes, she started an economic crime unit to combat predatory lending, mortgage and insurance fraud and tried million-dollar Ponzi schemes. Rice started as an assistant district attorney in Manhattan. She handled domestic violence and gang activity cases. After that she served as a homicide prosecutor in Brooklyn. As attorney general, Rice wants to focus “revenue raising” bureaus, such as the one that detects Medicaid fraud.
Recent position: State Senator, Manhattan/Bronx, 1998 to 2010
One of State Sen. Eric Schneiderman’s greatest achievements in Albany was taking control of the upper chamber from the Republicans, who had stymied progressive legislation for decades. Since taking the majority, Schneiderman, who was first elected in 1998, headed the Codes Committee, which deals with sentencing and justice issues. In that position, he shepherded through the repeal of the onerous Rockefeller Drug Laws.
Schneiderman led the bipartisan panel to expel State Sen. Hiram Monserrate after he was found guilty of assaulting his girlfriend. Legislatively, he introduced gun-control measures and an ethics bill. Schneiderman’s guiding philosophy for the office is equal justice. Schneiderman started his career as a public interest lawyer, and served for more than 10 years as counsel to the West Side Crime Prevention Program. He also acted as lead attorney for the NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign in a series of lawsuits against the MTA.
15th Congressional District
Recent Position: CEO of the Black Equity Alliance
Joyce Johnson says that a life steeped in public service makes her the perfect fit to replace Rep. Charlie Rangel. She has served in a number of capacities, including as the NYS Petition Coordinator and Field Director for the Obama NYC 2008 Presidential Primary Campaign and has worked for Charlie King, Geraldine Ferraro and C. Virginia Field. She spent 17 years working for the beverage giant Seagram’s as national director of equal opportunity. She said that two former runs for office—an Assembly seat in 2002 and City Council in 2005—makes her seasoned and ready to take on the Charlie Rangel “machine.” If elected to Congress, Johnson said she would focus on legislation that makes it easier for women and minorities to start small businesses. Her other focus would be bringing new infrastructure, schools and affordable housing to her district.
Recent Position: Community Banker, TD Bank
As a community banker who finances affordable housing for city residents and helps banks find areas to invest in communities, Vince Morgan says that he is the best choice to fuel development in the district. He was also a former aide to Charlie Rangel, and Morgan says he jumped into the race for Rangel’s seat because he believes the old guard is at the end of its run. “It may not happen this time around, but keep your eyes on what’s happening in the district,” he said. He also wants to focus on issues surrounding education in the district. Currently Morgan serves as chair of the 125th Street Business Improvement District and on the advisory board of Harlem Biennale, among other organizations. He was also chairman of the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone.
Adam Clayton Powell IV
Recent Position: Assemblyman, 68th District
Son of Adam Clayton Powell Jr., who served as congressman in the 15th District from 1945 to 1971 before Charlie Rangel took over the office, Powell IV cut his political teeth serving as a New York City council member from 1992 to 1997. Since 2000, he has represented the 68th Assembly District, which includes parts of the Upper West Side, Harlem and East Harlem. While in the Assembly, he is best known for helping pass the SCRIE (Senior Citizens Rent Increase Exemption) law as well as suing Mayor Bloomberg over a waste transfer station that was supposed to be built next to Asphalt Green on 92nd Street and York Avenue. Powell says that, if elected, his focus would be on the high unemployment rate in his district, to advocate to bring the troops home and to work on sustaining affordable housing in the area.
Recent Position: Congressman, 15th District
A lion in the House of Representatives, Charlie Rangel has served his district for 40 years, or 19 terms, as the representative from the 15th Congressional District, and has a laundry list of achievements, including being the former chairman on the Ways and Means committee and the author of the Federal Empowerment Zone project to revitalize urban neighborhoods in America as well as the author of the Low Income Housing Tax Credit. Rangel argues that his experience and seniority make him the best to serve the district and has beat back calls for him to step out of the current race while being investigated on 13 fraud charges. Rangel claims that missteps were the result of “sloppy” bookkeeping and has challenged his opponent to prove that he did anything criminally negligible.
Recent Position: President of the National Writers Union
Author and former head of the National Writers Union, Jonathan Tasini has made a career out of writing about labor and economic issues and was the lead plaintiff in the electronics rights case against the New York Times concerning how freelancers’ work was used on the Internet. In 2006, he ran an unsuccessful Senate campaign against Hillary Clinton, focusing on her vote regarding the Iraq War. Tasini says that, if elected, he wouldn’t vote for a single dime to fund the Afghanistan War; he would push to vote for the Employee Free Choice Act to strengthen unions; and he would vote against extending the Bush tax cuts.
State Senate–30th District
Recent position: State Senator, 30th District, 2006 to present
Elected to the Senate in 2006 after a stint in the City Council, Bill Perkins now chairs the Corporations, Authorities and Commissions Committee. He held hearings throughout the city on eminent domain and charter schools. In running for his third term, Perkins attracted an opponent after criticizing the way charter schools operate. He has since supported a bill that raised the number of charter schools allowed in the state. Perkins is standing behind his constituent work in his re-election campaign and cites support from parents of school children, tenants groups and elected officials throughout the district.
Recent position: Political consultant, founder Basil Smikle Associates
Basil Smikle is the founder of Basil Smikle Associates, a political strategy firm. Before starting his own company, he worked as a top aide for Hillary Clinton and with the Democratic National Committee. Smikle decided to challenge Senator Bill Perkins over his views on charter schools, and Smikle feels Perkins is out of touch with his constituents. His other focus in the race is on jobs for the unemployed in his district and preserving affordable housing.
State Senate–31st District
Recent Position: State Assemblyman–72nd District, 1996 to 2010
During his 14 years in the Assembly, Adriano Espaillat has supported progressive bills such as marriage equality, congestion pricing and pro-tenant laws, including the repeal of vacancy decontrol. When elected in 1996, Espaillat was the first Dominican-American elected to a State House in the United States. The 31st District stretches along the West Side of Manhattan from the Upper West Side, through Washington Heights and up to Riverdale in the Bronx, and Espaillat has the support of West Side elected officials such as Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer. Espaillat has worked for his constituency in the district, pushing for landmarks protection and tenants’ rights.
Recent Position: Founder, Neighborhood Trust Federal Credit Union
Mark Levine was elected in 2007 to serve as the Democratic District Leader in Northern Manhattan. In the 2008 presidential election, he ran on Barack Obama’s slate of delegate candidates and the following year founded the Barack Obama Democratic Club of Upper Manhattan. Mark began his career as a bilingual science teacher at JHS 149 in the South Bronx, and he later served as executive director of Teach For America-New York.
He believes that his background as a public school teacher and founder of Neighborhood Trust, a credit union that helps low-income residents obtain loans, makes him the candidate with a finger on the pulse of the district. He said that if elected he would focus on affordable housing, education and strengthening mass transit, as well as non-partisan redistricting, campaign finance reform and creating a more transparent budget process. Levine has been endorsed by Ruth Messinger and Ronnie Eldridge, two former Upper West Side elected officials.
Recent Position: Attorney, New York State’s Health Department
From 1989 to 1992, Upper West Side resident Anna Lewis served as counsel to the New York State Assembly’s Committee on Oversight, Analysis and Investigation, where she reviewed the implementation of state laws and investigated agencies for fraud. A few years later, she became the first woman to be appointed as assistant chief judge at the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission. After working for the firm of Ginsberg and Broome, she became a court attorney in the State Supreme and Matrimonial Courts. She currently serves as an attorney with New York State’s Health Department, where she works in medical malpractice cases. Lewis says she wants to tackle several issues, including establishing a more active oversight committee, pushing for marriage equality, affordable housing and healthcare vans, where people would be screened for diabetes to save money for the state.
Recent Position: Founder, M. Muñoz & Associates
Miosotis Muñoz is a community organizer and former staff member for Charlie Rangel and Manhattan Borough presidents C. Virginia Fields and Ruth Messinger. While she was at Alianza Dominicana, a community service organization in Washington Heights, she founded a teen-parenting program that helped adolescent parents return to school by providing them training. Muñoz has a degree in sociology, has focused in social work and has organized several health missions along with the association of local physicians in Upper Manhattan. If elected, she wants to focus on education, healthcare access and affordable housing, strengthen programs that provide tenants representation and improve transportation access for seniors.
Trackback from your site.