On the Issues
Record in Office
Currently: New York State Senator for the 31st Senate District (2010-present)
Previous Work: New York State Assembly (D, WF – 72nd District) 1997-2010; Project Right Start (Director) 1994-1996; Washington Heights Victims Services Community Office (Director) 1992-1994; Community Planning Board 12 (Executive board member); 34th Precinct Community Council (President); Minority Program Development Chair (State Senate); New York County Democratic Committee (District Leader 72A)
Education: B.S. Political Science, Queens College, 1978; Graduate Degree in Public Administration, NYU
On the Issues
"I will go and make sure that regulatory practices that are important to ensure that banks and the financial institutions don't engage in risky business that will keep the taxpayer on the hook, that those kinds of regulations are kept strong and that our economy can move forward."6
Proposes to make those under the poverty line "eligible for food stamps, medicaid, Section 8...the tax payer we have to subsidize these companies on their benefits packages for their workers."6
Supports minimum wage at $15.3
Supports subsidies for local initatives: "I look forward to the Kingsbridge Armory project, spurring [economic growth through the sports venue, bringing people into the community to spend dollars]."5
Supports the following proposals to aid small businesses:
- "shift the empowerment zone model from the big box stores" by "taking the $3000 tax credit that is given to big box stores...and double it and give it to small businesses" so that small businesses get "a $6000 tax credit for every local job that they create."3
- help reduce cost of business by reducing individual small business' electric bills.3
- rent regulation via binding arbitration: "when a lease is up the small business owner will be able to before an arbiter, before the landlord, and they will decide together the cost of the rent based on market value."4
"I would like to see a portfolio based assessment approach to learning while at the same time keeping very high standards."5
"At the core of our academic failure I think is lack of language proficiency in our city...for ELLs [English Language Learners] we must have immersion programs to ensure that they have the proficiency of the language as quickly as possible and then they'll be able to take [high state tests]."5
Will not consider privatization of public schools.1
"We need to increase funding for all education possibilities."1
Iraq: "I would like to see a multi-national UN-led peace-keeping force that will stabilize the country so that we can avoid the conflict we're seeing on the front page of the papers...it's horrendous what's happening in that part of the world in Iraq and we should not go at it alone, it should be a peace keeping force that will stay on the ground, stabilize the situation and see whether or not the country is ready to go back on track...and guarantee the safety of its citizens without the kind of slaughter and carnage we've been seeing on TV." The peace-keeping force "could include US troops, but it's not a war it's a peace keeping force, UN-led with several countries and allies across the world that want to see that that part of the region is stabilized."6
"The Affordable Care Act begins to wrestle with [the] reality [that health care costs were ballooning]. The fact that the Affordable Care Act allows you to have your children, until the age of 27, in the plan that doesn't take into consideration any existing conditions [is highly valuable]."
Supports the following changes to the ACA and its implementation:
- expanding coverage to "the undocumented [who] are not covered, those 12 million people will go to the emergency room somewhere and that was part of the problem before."5
- "take care of dental hygiene and dental care, which is an important part of your physical health as well."5
- "expand the number of Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) in the district, so our community has access to medical providers who speak our languages, understand our cultures, and know how difficult it can be for low-income families to find the time to seek out care."
"...will work to adjust funding based on more appropriate geographic measures than statewide levels to ensure our district gets the assistance it needs."
"...will push to prioritize federal research, education and grant funding towards targeting low-income communities of color.
"I'm terrified when my daughter has to take the subway to go to work."1
"We should be considering greater resources for the waterfront part of the city, for the infrastructure part of the city, for our water and subway tunnels."
"I don't think we are doing enough in terms of allocating resources for that purpose."
"Public investment should go towards low-income housing for vulnerable New Yorkers, not to billionaires living in luxury apartments."
"...property owners who have broken their commitment to providing tenants with safe conditions should be ineligible for government investment."
"...will fight for renewed funding to address mold and other unsafe conditions that NYCHA tenants are grappling with. He will continue to push for NYCHA reform measures to empower tenants and bring greater accountability to the agency."
"...expand the federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) to further benefit our community. By increasing the percentage of units in LIHTC-funded buildings reserved for households with income 50% or 60% below our area's median income, we can bring more affordable housing to vulnerable New Yorkers in need."
"Make sure that HUD and the federal governments comes back with a vigorous attitude that they had in the past investing in the immediate development of affordable housing."1
"The HUD block grant program is lower right now in terms of funding then it was when President Gerald Ford was in office."2
"I would like to propose that the 207th Street railyard be looked at as a potential site for major development of affordable housing and a tech center for young people.
"There is no question that unless the federal government steps in and becomes a full partner in developing new units of affordable housing we won't be able to [create and preserve affordable housing]....HUD must step in with dollars and plans...I believe in a 40/30/30 model where you have 40 percent market rate, 30 percent middle class rate for the teacher, the firefighter, and another 30 percent for affordable housing. And I think banks will finance those projects."5
Missed 891 votes on legislation, the most missed votes of all of NYS senators. Observer
On 4/12/14 Senator Espaillat criticized Congressman Rangel for not opening a district office in the Bronx section his district, which he had promised to do upon reelection in 2012. Senator Espaillat's campaign manager released this statement: "Senator Adriano Espaillat knows the importance of unifying the District and will finally open a long overdue Bronx District Office when he becomes the next Congressmember for the 13th."
"We want to take money out of politics, the way to do it is to support campaign finance reform."1
"I will implement participatory budget, so you the people will determine what happens with the money that's coming from Washington"1
"I'm very much in support of participatory budgeting. ... We need participatory budgeting in the empowerment zone process."2
Advocates fast-tracking family reunification.
"Deportation should be stopped immediately, 1000 people a day, this is a terrible situation that's ripping families apart."
"I will go directly to President Obama and say let's stop the deportations...I would also ask administratively for some initiative to take place so that family reunification is really expedited."5
"[Infrastructure] is not just a jobs creation problem, it is a homeland security issue."1
Military and Veterans Affairs↓
Military Conscription: "I would advocate for a draft, I think that a draft is a great equalizer of the sons and daughters of rich folks, middle class folks, and poor folks and working class families who will be able to have the privilege and the honor to live in our country."6
Policing and Criminal Justice↓
"In New York State, we must pass common-sense gun safety measures like mandatory renewal requirements of firearm licenses; micro-stamping ammunition so criminals can be easier to track and deter; and enhanced scrutiny for mentally unstable individuals seeking guns.
"Of course, gun violence does not stop at state borders. The federal government must end its failure and pass legislation banning assault weapons once and for all. While progressive states like New York have relatively strong gun laws, the patchwork of laws around the country allowing guns to travel easily between states is clearly an underlying factor in this broken system." (State Senator's Press Release)
"We must totally revamp the criminal justice system."1
"I worked to to providing alternative incarceration services before I got into power. I'm talking alternative incarceration services for non violent crimes."1
"We should have specialized drug courts that would handle minimum mandatory sentences."1
"The Federal Government should adopt a form of the Rockefeller Drug Law reform that we are accomplishing in New York State."1
Supports increasing police presence in NYCHA housing and on dangerous streets.4
Proposes to prevent criminal activity in young people by providing them with technology training.4
Proposes the creation of a tech center at the Inwood Rail Yard that will provide young people with technology training and keep them away from crime.4
Proposes to "modernize federal transportation formulas that unfairly favor highway appropriations at urban America's expense. Transportation funding formulas must be altered to support the transit, bicyclist, and pedestrian infrastructure driving urban growth throughout the country."
Organizations: Working Families Party; 1199SEIU; Empire State Pride Agenda; 32BJ; United Federation of Teachers; StreetsPAC
Individuals: Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins; NY Assemblyman Herman (Denny) Farrell Jr.; NYC Public Advocate Letitia James; NY Governor Andrew Cuomo; Mayor Bill de Blasio; Comptroller Tom DiNapoli; Congressman Jerry Nadler
Record in Office
Adriano Espaillat currently serves as New York State Senator for the 31st Senate District, since 2010-present
NYS Senate Committee and Subcommittee assignments: Committee on Housing, Construction and Community Development (Ranking Member); Committee on Environmental Conservation; Committee on Codes; Committee on Finance; Committee on Higher Education; Committee on Development; Committee on Insurance; Judiciary Committee;
NYS Senate Caucuses: Puerto Rican/Latino Caucus (Chair); The New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus.
* Photo from Espaillat's NYS Senate profile
1. Congressional District 13 Candidate Debate #1
2. Congressional District 13 Candidate Debate #2
3. Congressional District 13 Candidate Debate #3, June 9, 2014, ABC.
4. Congressional District 13 Candidate Debate #4, June 11, NY1.
5. Congressional District 13 Candidate Debate #5, June 16, BronxNet.
6. The Brian Lehrer Show, WNYC, June 20, 2014.
On the Issues
Record in Office
Previous Work: NY City Council Member for Manhattan's 7th District; Candidate for Manhattan Borough President; President of the Parents' Association, Community School Board 6; Public Employees Federation
Education: SUNY New Paltz
On the Issues
*Source for Robert Jackson's issue stances, unless marked otherwise: Gotham Gazette Questionnaire
Top 5 Legislative Priorities↓
In his own words:
1. I will continue my lifelong leadership for better schools, specifically fighting to make sure NYC finally receives all the money mandated in the CFE agreement.
2. I will fight for good jobs and better working conditions – including raising the minimum wage and statewide paid sick leave.
3. I will fight for immigration reform, including passage of the Dream Act.
4. I will fight for affordable housing – starting by giving NYC home rule.
5. And will fight for campaign finance reform. My five point plan includes: Establishing a public financing program modeled on the successful NYC program; Setting real limits on contributions and closing corporate subsidiary and LLC loopholes; Restricting fundraising during the legislative session, instituting fixed limits on those doing business with the government; Increasing reporting, transparency and enforcement; Prohibiting the use of campaign funds for lawyers and other non-campaign expenses.
In addressing how to utilize NYS' multibillion dollar surplus, stated: "We must use that money to invest in our future, particularly to improve education and upgrade our infrastructure. Those investments will pay off for years to come for New Yorkers."
Drew a parallel between racial segregation and separate entrances for affordable and market rate tenants in mixed income buildings (aka the "poor door"). Press release
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 $10.10.
Stated that municipalities such as NYC should be able to set their own minimum wage.
In addressing developing a NYS jobs program, stated: "We must have a jobs program. It starts with improving education for all our children. We need to expand community based job training, like the Jobs to Build On program I helped start on the City Council, that was cited as a national model by the Clinton Global Initiative. We must support small businesses and help them grow. And we must bring new businesses like high tech and other jobs of the future to our area."
Sponsored legislation aiming "to protect small businesses." Website
"Founded the Campaign for Fiscal Equity which sued the State of New York for 'cheating' students out of proper funding and consequently, out of a sound education. Before the trial, in order to bring attention to his cause, Jackson walked 150 miles from NYC to Albany and as a result, was honored as NY1's 'New Yorker of the Year.'" Decide NYC
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: "Education was my salvation. That's why I've fought so hard to knock down barriers and make sure every child receives the best education possible, and the same opportunity to succeed in life as I had. It's government's obligation to provide every student the opportunity to a sound, basic education. It takes a commitment from the Governor, the legislature and all involved. We can't afford to do any less. We must not put our children's future on hold."
Opposes hydrofracking in NYS.
Stated that municipalities should decide, via zoning processes, whether hydrofracking occurs in their jurisdiction.
Supports reducing individual campaign contribution limits.
Supports instituting a public-matching campaign-financing systems statewide:
- "Establishing a public financing program modeled on the successful New York City program, with 6 – 1 matching funds, realistic spending limits and strict controls. Studies have shown this model has lead to more public involvement, more competitive races and less uncontested re-elections.
- Setting sensible limits on contributions and closing corporate subsidiary and LLC loopholes. New York State has among the highest limits in the country, and with each LLC treated as a separate individual, there are effectively no limits at all.
- Restricting fundraising during the legislative session and instituting fixed limits on those doing business with the government. According to NYPIRG, "during the six-month period January 1-June 30, 2014, there will have been 176 political fundraising events in Albany or for leadership."
- Increasing reporting, transparency and enforcement. On the State level, there is limited oversight or enforcement of rules, with contributors regularly giving over the allowable limits. Furthermore, there is no requirement for bundlers to be identified.
- Prohibiting the use of campaign funds for personal or legal expenses." Press release
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,
- Lowering the voting age.
In addressing how to properly monitor and enforce ethics laws and appropriate conduct of legislators, stated: "We need more transparency and their should be no tolerance for misconduct. Public officials must set a positive example. I'm proud of who I am and what I have done. That's why I always wore a button, so people can come up to me and tell me what is on their mind."
In addressing legislative oversight of public authorities such as the MTA and Port Authority, stated: "We must enforce and strengthen the Public Authorities Reform Bill passed four years ago."
Housing and Development↓
Supports mandatory inclusionary zoning depending "on the project, but must have a greater commitment to real affordable housing."
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: "We must preserve the affordable housing we have, particularly through strengthening rent laws and repealing the Urstadt law. We must fix-up existing housing, particularly through better management of NYCHA. And we must build new housing, through inclusionary zoning and innovative approaches like the effort I lead to build the Sugar Hill project."
In addressing the rising cost of commercial rents and the loss of local retail businesses, stated: "On the City Council, I sponsored the Small Business Survival Act, giving business owners the opportunity for binding arbitration if their rents were raised too high. We need that same approach to save jobs and preserve neighborhoods."
"Was a leader in producing a community agreement to approve the Columbia University expansion that protected affordable housing." Website
On 421-A Abatements:
"The 421-A abatement is purportedly designed to create affordable housing, but instead is being abused by greedy real estate developers," said Robert Jackson. "We cannot allow our tax money to be used to create segregated housing on the Upper West Side, or to provide millions of dollars in tax relief to the buyer of a $90 million penthouse on West 57th Street. These tax breaks have cost the city millions of dollars in lost revenue that are critically needed to provide real affordable housing.
The approved 'poor door' is another example of an unacceptable outcome resulting from this program. Last year, my office sponsored legislation in the City Council requiring developers receiving these tax payer subsidies to provide equal treatment to all tenants regardless of their rental costs. I urge the new City Council to pass this crucial legislation, and at the same time urge the State to amend its program providing these subsidies to specifically prevent these abuses from ever happening again.
At its core this is a civil rights issue. There was a time in our country not too long ago when African-Americans were often required to use separate bathrooms, water fountains, lunch tables and seats on the bus. After much struggle and progress, we cannot go back to that time. We cannot return to separating people by race, ethnicity, religion or economic status. As Americans and as New Yorkers, we must protect equality for everyone.
The City is made strong by our diversity. We need more affordable housing and it must be done the right way." Press release
Would vote yes on the DREAM Act.
Supports non-citizen voting.
Supports drivers licenses for undocumented immigrants.
Stated that the biggest infrastructure needs in the district are: "Mass transit, roads and aging utility lines. The recent explosion in East Harlem shows the importance of dealing with this before we experience more tragedies."
Opposes broken windows policing.
Supports the legalization of marijuana.
In addressing whether there is a role for state government in overseeing the conduct of municipal police forces, stated: "It is the job of everyone to promote cooperation, understanding and better training and practices to make our streets, homes and lives safer."
Sponsored gun Buy Back Programs. Website
Advocated for "stronger state and federal [gun control] legislation." Website
In addressing road safety, and the appropriate approach to balancing the needs of pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers, stated: "Through neighborhood based traffic initiatives, we must make the streets safe for all. It means more enforcement, more education and more cooperation and understanding by pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers."
Organizations: International Union of Operating Engineers Local 891, Broadway Democratic Club, Three Parks Independent Democrats, Park River Independent Democrats, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1181; Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club; Stonewall Democratic Club of NYC; Amsterdam News; New York League of Conservation Voters; Citizens Union; Communication Workers of America Local 1180; Public Employees Federation; Council of School Supervisors & Administrators
Individuals: William Allen, Uptown Democratic Club; Curtis Arluck, Broadway Democratic Club; Earnestine Bell-Temple, Tioga Carver Democratic Club; Robert Botfeld, Three Parks Independent Democratic Club; Cordell Cleare, Sojourner Truth Democratic Club; Paula Diamond-Roman, Broadway Democratic Club; Councilmember Inez Dickens, Martin Luther King, Jr. Club; Cynthia Doty, Three Parks Independent Democratic Club; Keith Lilly, Sojourner Truth Democratic Club; Maria Luna, Audobon Reform Club; Congressman Charles Rangel, Martin Luther King, Jr. Club; Earl Scott, Park River Democratic Club; Al Taylor, Tioga Carver Democratic Club; and Julia Torrence, Frederick E. Samuel Democratic Club; Former City Council Member Ronnie Eldridge; Former Manhattan Borough President Virginia Fields
Record in Office
NYC Council Committee Assignments:
NYC Council Caucuses:
Luis Tejada (D)
Currently: Executive Director, Mirabal Sisters Cultural and Community Center (2001-2014)
Previous Work: Mathematics Teacher, NYC Middle and High Public Schools (1994-2000); Building Superintendent (1994-2004); Taxi Driver, (1991-1994); Electrical Engineer Supervisor, Dominican Energy Nation Corporation (1980-1990)
Education: Graduate, Electrical Engineering and Technologist in Electronic Engineering, APEC University, Dominican Republic, 1985; MS, Mathematics, City College of New York, 2010; Post-graduate, Spanish Linguistics at the University of Alcalá de Henares, Spain, 1997
On the Issues
Photo Currently Unavailable
Michael W. Chan (R)
On the Issues