Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

Citizens Union


NY State Assembly District 76

«NY State Assembly District 65 NY State Assembly District 40»





Rebecca Seawright (D)

 David Garland (R)




Seawright (D)


Rebecca Seawright (D)


On the Issues


Currently: Member, Community Board 8; Member, Board of Directors, CUNY Law School; Chair, Board of Directors, Feminist Press, CUNY

Previous Work: Labor Arbitrator, New York City Board of Education; Administrative Law Judge, Metropolitan Transportation Authority

Education: JD, CUNY Law School

On the Issues

*Source for Rebecca Seawright's issue stances, unless marked otherwise: Gotham Gazette Questionnaire

Top 5 Legislative Priorities↓

In her own words:

1. Women's Equality Act: The majority of residents on the Upper East Side and Roosevelt Island are women. These women deserve the protections of the Women's Equality Act. If elected, I will fight for this bill, along with any and all legislation that promotes a more equitable society for all regardless of sex and sexual orientation. ‬
"Affordable Housing: Fight for affordable housing for families of every size and diverse income, including moderate and middle-income families.

2. I will work with my colleagues in the Assembly and with the Speaker to include the repeal of vacancy destabilization as part of the executive budget. Tying rent law renewal to the budget process is the best way to strengthen the rent regulation laws. I will appeal to the Governor that by addressing this issue as part of the budget process, we can demonstrate a true commitment to affordable housing.

3. Campaign Finance Reform: I will promote statewide campaign finance reform based on the public matching system used in NYC. Not only will this reduce the power of private donations in Albany, it will make running for office more accessible. It is unacceptable that personal wealth can determine who can successfully run for office.

4. Quality of life improvements: I advocate for improvements to the overburdened public conveyances. The 76th Assembly District is greatly under served by the current transportation infrastructure. The Second Avenue subway line has faced far too many delays, while Roosevelt Island residents face far too infrequent F train service. It is vital that the Upper East Side and Roosevelt Island receive greater service by bus, rail and tram. I oppose the proposed waste transfer station being built at East 91st Street. ‬‬‬‬

5. Schools: As a public school parent I have witnessed first hand the problems in our public school system. Education is a top priority and I will ensure that all schools have the resources they need to better serve our communities.


In addressing how to utilize NYS' multibillion dollar surplus, stated: "Fund needed programs that have been previously cut. As a public school parent, I understand the overcrowding in our school system and I will fight for more funding for our public schools. As the daughter of an aging parent, I understand the needs of seniors and will fight for more services."

Civil Rights↓

Would vote yes on the full, ten-point Women's Equality Agenda.
Opposes the strategy of removing the 10th point in the WEA, which deals with abortion access, in order to push for passage of the other 9 points with less controversy.


Supports a statewide minimum wage at a living wage.
Stated that municipalities such as NYC should be able to set their own minimum wage set to a living wage.
In addressing developing a NYS jobs program, stated: "The economic development funds should be carefully targeted towards job creation. In particular, small businesses should receive their fair share to create more jobs. There needs to be clawback provisions to ensure accountability in job creation. Benefits for unfulfilled promises must be returned."

"We need to approve and expedite state and federal grants to assist businesses that are being affected by the construction. There should also be programs to extend credit to affected businesses to help them pay their bills on a long term basis, building on programs available through the City and State economic development corporation." Four Freedoms Democratic Club

"We need more middle school seats in the UES, additional resources to support our teachers, and we need to fight for smaller-size classes in public schools. ...I would request to be on the [Assembly's] Education Committee in order to be a strong voice fighting for additional resources and schools on the UES." DNA Info


Supports implementing Common Core state standards with changes.
Supports maintaining the cap on charter schools.
Stated that government should not pay for location of charter schools in private space or for co-locations of charter schools in public school buildings.
Supports statewide universal pre-kindergarten.
In addressing how the legislature can ensure that adequate funding is distributed to all school districts to comply with the Campaign for Fiscal Equity decisions, stated: "Demand that full funding for the Campaign for Fiscal Equity decision be included in the state budget considering that New York is currently underfunded by $5.8 billion."

"We need more middle school seats in the UES, additional resources to support our teachers, and we need to fight for smaller-size classes in public schools. ...I would request to be on the [Assembly's] Education Committee in order to be a strong voice fighting for additional resources and schools on the UES." DNA Info


Opposes hydrofracking in NYS.
Stated that municipalities should not decide, via zoning processes, whether hydrofracking occurs in their jurisdiction.

Good Government↓

Supports reducing individual campaign contribution limits.
Supports instituting a public-matching campaign-financing systems statewide.

  • Opposes piloting a state campaign finance system in just the comptroller's race.

Stated that Governor Cuomo should not have dissolved the Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption.
Supports implementing the following reform measures to increase voter participation and reduce barriers to voting:

  • Same day voter registration,
  • Early voting,
  • No-excuse absentee ballots,
  • Reforming special elections,
  • Instant runoff voting,
  • Granting voting rights to parolees,
  • Consolidating state and federal primaries.

In addressing how to properly monitor and enforce ethics laws and appropriate conduct of legislators, stated: "In light of the disbanding of the Moreland Commission, laws surrounding transparency regarding legislators' activities including campaign financing, among others, need to be strengthened. I will lead the fight for campaign finance reform."
In addressing legislative oversight of public authorities such as the MTA and Port Authority, stated: "I will support funding for a public utility advocate. There needs to be improved transparency of the MTA's budget. I will work with Senator Liz Krueger who has endorsed my candidacy, in support the Port Authority Reform Act (S3944)."

"We should have absolutely no tolerance for sexual harassment. Period. There should not be any sexual harassment or any misconduct. We should really hold our legislator to a high standard as public officials." Campaign Website

"Since less than 20 percent of the legislature right now is comprised of women and there's two women who are retiring in Brooklyn and one woman that just resigned in Manhattan, I think it is so important to have more women at the table fighting for women's equality and campaign finance reform." Observer

"I would...request to be on the [Assembly's] Corporations and Authorities committee because it oversees Roosevelt Island as well as the MTA." DNA Info


In addressing challenges with the NYS Health Exchange rollout and the high cost of Medicare, stated: "New York State needs to lead in educating consumers so the public continues enrollment. I will support measures to make the program truly affordable including better oversight of the Department of Health and Financial Services. Long term health care options need to be improved. Medicaid providers need to be closely monitored to find ways to reduce costs incurred to the government."

Housing and Development↓

Supports mandatory inclusionary zoning at the 50-30-20 ratio.
Opposes reforming the Scaffold Law from absolute liability to comparative negligence.
Supports reforming the Urstadt Law.
In addressing the affordable housing needs in the state and city, stated: "New construction in our neighborhood must include affordable housing so that seniors, working families, and people with disabilities can continue to make their homes in our community. I support repealing the Urstadt Law so that New York City has full control over its rent regulations. I will work to end vacancy destabilization and permanently return apartments to rent regulation. I support legislation to guarantee equal amenities and access to tenants regardless of whether they are in market or below-market units (no "poor-door"). Enforce clawback provisions for all government subsidies for affordable housing. Developers who fail to live up to their promises must pay the consequences. I support the proposed $41 billion housing program to build or preserve 200,000 new units of housing. As Chair of the Board of Visitors of the CUNY School of Law, I will partner with the law school and its students to bring free housing legal aid and forums to the 76th Assembly District. I will fight for affordable housing for families of every size and diverse income, including moderate and middle-income families."

In addressing the rising cost of commercial rents and the loss of local retail businesses, stated: "I am concerned about the impact of skyrocketing commercial rents on small businesses. Zoning changes and commercial rent control should be explored on a local level."

"Would speak out on the issue [of affordable housing], work with grass root tenant and affordable housing advocacy organizations to fight against increases in rent so citizens are not priced out of their homes. Work with legislative colleagues on statutory remedies." Four Freedoms Democratic Club


Would vote yes on the DREAM Act.
Opposes non-citizen voting.
Supports drivers licenses for undocumented immigrants.


Stated that the biggest infrastructure needs in the district are: "Transportation, including the subway, bus and tram system in the 76th District are overburdened and in need of improvements. We must keep the Second Avenue subway construction on schedule and ensure full service of the F train, even on weekends and holidays. The elevators that service the stations, particularly on Roosevelt Island, must be kept in good repair."

Policing and Criminal Justice↓

In addressing broken windows policing, stated: "Community policing builds relationships rather than criminalizing a large percentage of the population particularly in communities with less resources."
Supports the legalization of marijuana.
In addressing whether there is a role for state government in overseeing the conduct of municipal police forces, stated: "Reform marijuana legislation to be less punitive. Explore funding for police officer cameras and other technological solutions that allow for better accountability."


Opposes the 91st street marine waste transfer station, and supports turning the site "into a Riverside Park for all citizens to use! Work to put on the Governor's agenda. Would utilize my access to prominent City leaders. Would work closely with existing coalitions to suggest alternatives that are environmentally sound, including the use of waste transfer facilities in the region in less populated areas." Four Freedoms Democratic Club


In addressing road safety, and the appropriate approach to balancing the needs of pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers, stated: "Stronger enforcement of the rules of the road for drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians."


Organizations: 32BJ Service Employees International Union; 1199SEIU; East Side Democratic Club (ESDC); Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club; Retail Grocery Store Union; Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU); Communications Workers of America (CWA), District 1; Communications Workers of America (CWA), Local 1180; Working Families Party (WFP); Local #46 Metallic Lathers Union and Reinforcing Iron Workers; New York Professional Nurses Union; NOW-NYC; NY State NOW organization; Eleanor’s Legacy / Eleanor Roosevelt Legacy Committee NY; Empire State Pride Agenda; Stonewall Democratic Club; Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Local 1 and Local 7; Gay and Lesbian Independent Democrats; Progressive Caucus Alliance; Tenants PAC; UAW District 9; Women's Campaign Fund

Individuals: NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer; NYC Public Advocate Tish James; Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer; NYS Senator Brad Hoylman; NYS Senator Liz Krueger; NYS Senator José M. Serrano; NYS Assembly Member Barbara Clark; NYS Assembly Member Dan Quart; NYS Assembly Member Walter Mosley; NYS Assembly Member Robert Rodriquez; NYS Assembly Member Deborah Glick; NYS Assembly Member Daniel O’Donnell; NYS Assembly Member Nily Rozic; NYC Council Member Ben Kallos; NYC Council Member Dan Garodnick; NYC Council Member Corey Johnson; NYC Council Member Helen Rosenthal; LGBT Activist Edie Windsor; Roe v. Wade Attorney Sarah Weddington; Former Chair NYS Democratic Party Judith Hope; Community Activist Dr. Elaine Walsh; Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney; Former Assemblymember Peter Grannis

Garland (R)


David Garland (R)

Campaign Website

On the Issues


Currently: Business Management Consultant

Previous Work: US Commerce Department; Candidate, NYC Council (D-5, 2013)

Education: Georgetown University School of Foreign Service; MBA, University of Pennsylvania Wharton School; MA, Foreign Affairs, University of Pennsylvania

On the Issues


Proposes "elimination of the City portion of sales taxes on merchandise purchased in stores along the [2nd Avenue] construction corridor, and...a moratorium on state sales taxes until construction is completed."

"Talk of taxing the rich to help the middle class, though it may sound popular to the vast number of New Yorkers who struggle to make ends meet, is not a responsible policy position. Those at the top end of the income spectrum, though in a position to pay more in income taxes through a progressive taxation system, will find creative ways to avoid doing so. Already, there are many such individuals who keep a residence in New York City but keep their permanent residence elsewhere in order to avoid the high tax burden currently in place. Economics and common sense indicate that those most able to contribute to New York City's tax base will continue to emigrate and find creative ways of avoiding taxes if the tax burden continues to climb."

Proposes "to increase the pool of taxable income rather than raising taxes and ultimately diminishing revenue" and "to create a better balance of industries in a private sector that still relies too heavily on financial services, which has undergone fundamental shifts in its business model in the past five years."


Proposes for a short-term solution to school overcrowding that "synagogues, churches and other public facilities throughout the district that are predominantly empty during school hours on weekdays" should "be employed as interim school facilities. This would also provide a source of income for non-profit organizations that may be struggling financially."

Proposes for the long-term solution school overcrowding to "advocate for comprehensive public school facilities in future large scale development projects as a requirement of developers seeking the 421–A abatement. He will also fight for the delivery of that space to be 'finished' and include appropriately dedicated space for physical education. In other parts of the city, developers have delivered 'raw' space for public schools, which has done little to alleviate the financial burden on the Board of Education."


"[A] significant portion of affordable housing is being held and retained by individuals whose economic circumstances have vastly improved, or who are even wealthy. This is not the purpose of affordable housing. There should be periodic means testing to prevent such exploitation, allowing those with modest incomes to have access to those units."

Proposes to "work with developers seeking to build in the 76th Assembly District to more effectively implement the current provisions of 421-A tax abatement program... [to] increase the percentage of affordable housing units throughout New York City." 

Policing and Criminal Justice

"New York City's drastic reduction in crime over the last twenty years has been the result of good policy and hard work by 'New York's Finest.' Bad policy in the next four years can easily reverse this progress. David wants to ensure that all abuses of "stop-and-frisk" are quickly identified and eliminated; however, he believes the policy should continue as an effective tool of crime reduction."


Opposes the 91st street marine waste transfer station, and plans to "propose legislation banning dumps from all residential communities throughout New York City. ...He will lead the charge in the City Council to ban Transfer Stations in all residential communities, not build new ones."


Proposes a "residential parking permit program to resolve [residents' difficulty finding street parking]. Those who pay income tax in New York City should be able to acquire residential street parking permits, as they currently do in Brooklyn and in long-standing programs in Washington, DC, Boston and Chicago."

Proposes "to work with the Department of Transportation to better time light signals and improve traffic flow" by the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge.

Proposes "to initiate a program to allot taxicabs for peak vs. non-peak hours. ...[T]here is an abundance of empty taxis available when they are not needed (during non-peak hours), but few to none during commuter rush hours. David's plan is ration taxis based on need at various times of day, and not have excess vacant taxis creating additional pollution and traffic during non-peak hours."

Supports bike lanes and CitiBike but calls for better enforcement and education surrounding biking laws and pedestrian safety.

Proposes "that avenues serving as major commercial routes be maintained and repaved more frequently and proactively," to address noise pollution resulting from trucks and cargo.

To address infrastructure concerns regarding the construction of the Cornell-Weill Technology Center on Roosevelt Island, plans to "propose legislation that only awards New York City taxpayer dollars to contractors using barge transportation for all construction materials associated with the project."

Proposes "to more proactively enforce the current terms of the [2nd Avenue] construction contracts and seek out potential amendments that will aid in restoring quality of life in the neighborhood surrounding the project."





Candidates' statements and photos taken from their respective websites and press releases, unless otherwise noted.