While the upcoming elections have been largely overshadowed by the devastation and recovery efforts following Hurricane Sandy, there are still important choices for voters to make on November 6th. We interviewed most of the candidates in contested elections in the districts covered by Our Town, the West Side Spirit, and Our Town Downtown. The editorial team would like to emphasize that while we have decided to endorse Democratic incumbents in each election, this was not a blanket decision. We carefully considered each race, and our endorsements are below.
Congressional District 12, Carolyn Maloney vs. Chris Wight
In this race for Congress, our endorsement goes to Democratic incumbent and prolific legislator U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney. Maloney has consistently delivered federal funding and services to her district, championing the Second Avenue Subway and other capital projects, working hard on the 9/11 Zadroga bill to grant healthcare to those affected by the terrorist attacks, and pushing against the Republican onslaught on women’s rights at the national level. While her Republican opponent Christ Wight has said that he is pro-choice, he doesn’t have a platform for promoting continued access to abortion and reproductive healthcare. Wight also toes the Republican line on cutting taxes and said that he would focus more on reducing corporate taxes than bringing federal dollars into the state and the district, which we believe would hurt, not help, the Upper East Side.
David Garland, a Republican and Independence Party candidate, presented a strong campaign with well-developed ideas for the Upper East Side. Garland, who speaks six languages and works at a management consultant for Fortune 500 companies, is a fiscal conservative, advocating for better use of tax incentives at the state level as well as reducing taxes for small businesses and corporations to keep them in New York. He also is a social libertarian, supporting gay marriage and reproductive and abortion rights. He is running, however, against a very strong opponent in State Senator Liz Krueger, and our endorsement goes to her in this race. Krueger has been a consistent champion of women’s rights as well as a powerful force in the Senate, as she serves as the ranking Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee and could become the chair if her party takes the majority. She consistently provides excellent constituent services while diving into the weeds of budgets and complicated legislative issues, like the Reproductive Health Act that would move the state’s reproductive health laws from the penal to the civil code. While we support Sen. Krueger in this race, we hope to see David Garland continue in politics and would have considered endorsing him against a weaker Democratic candidate.
We are declining to endorse either candidate in this race. While Republican Martin Chicon argued that he would be able to better serve the district as part of the (currently) majority party in the Senate and said that he would bring development and transit improvements to the district, we were not completely convinced that he would be the best representative for the Upper West Side’s heavily Democratic and liberal constituency. We are unable to endorse his opponent, incumbent Sen. Adriano Espaillat, however, since he did not make himself available for an endorsement interview.
Assembly District 76, Micah Kellner vs. Mike Zumbluskas
Democratic incumbent Micah Kellner presented a compelling case for promoting his reelection, specifically with an eye toward his advocacy on behalf of creating a new middle school in the district and his work against the East 91st Street Marine Transfer Station. He also is supportive of raising the minimum wage as well as creating an angel investor tax credit, similar to what other states have implemented successfully, to keep tech innovators in New York. He is a strong opponent of hydrofracking in the state and said that he will continue to push to prevent or restrict it. His opponent, Mike Zumbluskas, is an Independent candidate running on the Republican line, and while he presented some ideas similar to Kellner, his emphasis on reducing taxes and challenging the Democratic majority in the Assembly were not strong enough reasons for voters to choose him. Despite the widely circulated rumor that he will be running for city council in 2013 (which he would neither confirm nor deny), we endorse Kellner in this race.
In this race, we endorse the freshman incumbent Assemblyman Dan Quart. After winning the seat just over a year ago in a special election, Quart is running for a full term with a focus on improving the state and city’s energy policies and improving access to quality education on the Upper East Side. While we wish that Quart had presented a slightly stronger case for voters to return him to Albany, we also recognize that he’s only had a year in the job and we look forward to seeing what he can do if he wins reelection and had a full term to develop some of his positions and advance his ideas, especially in promoting green energy. His Republican opponent, David Casavis, who ran for Manhattan Borough President against Scott Stringer in 2009, presented little in the way of specific plans to help his district and almost no indication of the type of legislation he would pass, aside from opposing Democrats.
Assembly District 65, Sheldon Silver vs. Wave Chan
While we wish that there were a stronger challenger running against all-powerful Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, our endorsement in this race still goes to him. Especially in light of his botched handling of the Vito Lopez sexual harassment scandal, many argue that Silver’s iron-clad hold over the Assembly could use a shake-up, but the Tea Party Republican candidate Wave Chan isn’t the person to do that. Silver remains popular in his district and does advocate for his constituents’ needs, while Chan could only present vague ideas about severely cutting corporate taxes and encouraging new housing development without clear plans as to how he would specifically help the Lower East Side. He also would be a poor fit for a district with an active LGBT population, as he does not support gay marriage, only civil unions.
Tags: Adriano Espaillat, Carolyn Maloney, Chris Wight, congressional elections, Dan Quart, David Casavis, David Garland, elections, endorsements, Liz Krueger, Martin Chicon, Micah Kellner, Mike Zumbluskas, Sheldon Silver, state assembly, State Senate, Wave Chan
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