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photo of Audrey Pheffer2008 Questionnaire response from:
Audrey Pheffer, candidate for State Assembly (23rd Assembly District, Queens)


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Candidate Name: Audrey Pheffer

Candidate for Assembly District: 23

 

Campaign Name: Committee for Audrey Pheffer

Campaign Address: 8800 Shorefront Parkway (5B) Rockaway Beach, N.Y. 11693

Do you have a campaign office? Yes.

If so, is it wheelchair accessible? Yes.

If you are an incumbent, is your district office wheelchair accessible? Yes.

Campaign Manager: Jo Ann Shapiro

Phone: 347 - 512 - 4490

Email: pheffer23ad @ yahoo.com

Previous elected offices held: Elected to the 23rd Assembly District in April 1987

 

Key endorsements to date:

Community organizations:

  • Democratic Party
  • Working Families Party
  • 504 Democratic Club
  • New York League of Conservation Voters
  • NYS Parole Officers Association
  • United Federation of Teachers
  • DC-37
  • NYS AFL-CIO
  • Utility Workers of America
  • Local 1-2
  • AFSCME/NYS
  • Empire State Pride Agenda
  • United Transportation Workers
  • CSEA
  • NYC Central Labor Council
  • NYSUT
  • NYS-PEF
  • Local Union 1049
  • Police Conference of New York, Inc.
  • Law Enforcement Officers Union
  • Council 82
  • NYS Professional Firefighters Association
  • NYS Association of P.B.A.'s
  • Metropolitan Transportation Authority
  • PBA
  • NEANY
  • Patrolmen's Benevolent Association
  • COPE
  • NARAL/NY
  • Sergeants' Benevolent Association
  • Bridge & Tunnel Officers' Benevolent Association
  • TBRA Superior Officers' Benevolent Association
  • NYS Troopers PBA
  • Citizens Union
  • National Organization for Women
  • The Committee for Modern Courts
  • Project Vote Smart
  • American Cancer Society
  • M.H. Voter Empowerment Project
  • Hunger Action Network of NYS
  • LAWPAC of NYS & Planned Parenthood Advocates of New York

 

 

  1. ACTION SHOWS COMMITMENT!

     

    1. While in public office/prior to this campaign, what have you accomplished in regard to advancing disability rights? This can include work towards accessible housing, transportation, employment, health care, education, and including people with disabilities in the political process?

      Prior to my election to the Assembly I volunteered with AHRC creating after-school programs, etc. I have also worked with Gateway National Park to ensure that accessibility to the park. I have also sponsored numerous pieces of legislation to advance disability rights.

       

    2. Will you commit to only attend and/or sponsor events that are accessible to people with disabilities including providing written materials in alternate formats, providing assistive listening systems, and sign language interpreters as well as ensuring that locations are physically accessible?

      I can ensure that events that I sponsor will be accessible to people with disabilities.

       

  2. GENERAL QUESTIONS:

     

    1. What personal and professional experience have you had with people with disabilities in your personal life and in the workplace?

      I have been an advocate and Past President for the Rockaway AHRC, and have also worked for the New York City Board of Education Occupational Training Center.

       

    2. Are you willing to hire and to provide reasonable accommodation (e.g. flex or part time) for staff members with disabilities?

      Yes.

       

    3. How will you work closely with the disability community to assure passage of vitally needed legislation through the State Legislature? What will be your strategy?

      As I have throughout my 21 years in the New York State Assembly, I will continue to meet with advocates for persons with disabilities and the disabled to discuss issues affecting the community and I will continue to sponsor legislation that will provide more accessible housing, transportation, employment, health care and education.

       

  3. CIVIL RIGHTS

     

    1. What will you do at the State level to reverse the negative impact of recent decisions in Federal Courts which are undercutting the powers of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 to protect the civil rights of people with disabilities in New York State?

      I previously sponsored and voted in favor of Chapter 295 of 2004 which increased the fines for second and subsequent violations of certain provisions of the civil rights law pertaining to persons with disabilities. I am also a sponsor of A.2571, which clarifies the scope of protections against discrimination on the basis of disability, A.6303, which clarifies the scope of protections against discrimination on the basis of disability in services provided by public entities and A.7653, which waives the state's sovereign immunity to liability under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and certain other federal acts.

       

    2. How would you change the laws of New York State to protect the rights of its citizens with disabilities?

      The laws of New York must ensure that persons with disabilities have accessibility to basic civil rights such as education, housing, healthcare and the right to vote. We must also remove any obstacles to equal access to employment and make certain that those violating these state and federal laws relating to persons with disabilities and their access to these basic rights are penalized accordingly. I will continue to support legislation that will ensure the rights of persons with disabilities are protected.

       

  4. MEDICAID

     

    While the State is focused on reducing the costs of Medicaid and other programs, persons with disabilities need to continue to have access to the services and supports they need and choose.

    1. Would you oppose proposals which would negatively affect eligibility, benefits, coverage, and/or access to services for Medicaid beneficiaries and eliminate the systemic bias that leads to unwanted placement in nursing homes and other institutions?

      I agree that persons with disabilities must continue to have access to the services and supports they need and choose. I would oppose proposals that would negatively affect eligibility, benefits, coverage, and/or access to services for Medicaid beneficiaries and eliminate the systemic bias that leads to unwanted placement in nursing homes and other institutions.

       

    2. Would you seek to promote comprehensive long term care reform that will not reduce coverage or access to services?

      Yes, I will continue to work with my colleagues in the Legislature to advance legislation that will promote comprehensive long term care reform that will not reduce coverage or access to services.

       

    3. Would you increase rental/housing subsidies to participants in the new Nursing Facility Transition and Diversion Medicaid waiver program?

      Yes, I would increase rental/housing subsidies to participants in the new Nursing Facility Transition and Diversion Medicaid waiver program and I am happy to report that I am a sponsor of A.7109, which Authorizes savings from the Nursing Facility Transition and Diversion Waiver Program to be reinvested in housing subsidies for certain participants and A.7981, which Provides a rental subsidy to persons in the Nursing Facility Transition and Diversion Waiver Program.

       

  5. HEALTH INSURANCE

     

    1. Timothy's Law was designed to end health insurance discrimination by enacting parity in coverage for people with biologically-based psychiatric disabilities. However, returning veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are not covered. Do you favor amending Timothy's Law to provide coverage for PTSD?

      Yes, I favor amending Timothy's Law to provide coverage for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and I am a sponsor of A.10078 which would include (PTSD) among the list of biologically based mental illnesses that would be covered under Timothy's Mental Health Parity Law.

       

    2. Under Kendra's Law, a state-funded Medicaid grants program was established to provide medications for eligible individuals with psychiatric disabilities upon release or discharge from institutions to eliminate some of the problems associated with the Medicaid coverage gap. Do you support Medicaid Presumptive Eligibility legislation which would eliminate the standard 45 days coverage gap that blocks access to treatment?

      Yes, I support Medicaid Presumptive Eligibility legislation to eliminate the standard 45 day coverage gap, and I am a sponsor of A.4520-C, which ensures that uninsured persons discharged from mental hospitals or released from prisons or jails have continuous access to medical care for their mental illness.

       

    3. Would you expand Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage program (EPIC) to provide the same level of eligibility and coverage to persons with disabilities under age 65?

      Yes, I support expanding EPIC to provide the same level of eligibility and coverage to persons with disabilities under age 65, and I am a sponsor of A.5178-A, which would add low-income disabled persons to the list of persons eligible to receive benefits from New York's (EPIC) program..

       

  6. HOUSING

     

    1. We are in the midst of a housing crisis. Accessible, affordable housing is in short supply. People with disabilities are being priced out of the market. Do you support the creation of a housing trust fund for persons with disabilities?

      Yes, I would support the creation of a housing trust fund for persons with disabilities. I am also a sponsor of A.9100, which provides that two owners of real property may qualify for the persons with disabilities and limited incomes exemption if at least one person is disabled. In addition, I have sponsored A.7008, which relates to proposals for urban development action areas. I feel that these initiatives will help improve the quality, accessibility and affordability of housing in New York.

       

    2. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 requires housing developers to set aside a certain percentage of accessible units for persons with disabilities when federal funds are used for construction. Do you favor incorporating these provisions into State law so that the Dept. of Housing and Community Renewal can be empowered to enforce these provisions?

      Yes, I support incorporating provisions requiring housing developers to set aside a certain percentage of accessible units for persons with disabilities when federal funds are used for construction into State law so that the Department of Housing and Community Renewal can be empowered to enforce these provisions.

       

    3. Visitability sets guidelines to ensure newly constructed multi-family dwellings have basic accessible/adaptable features to permit people with disabilities can visit, and for residents to "age in place," without having to move out when age and/or disability set in. Do you support incorporating the concept of "visitability" in the New York State Building Code?

      Yes, I support incorporating the concept of "visibility" into the New York State Building Code to ensure that newly constructed multi-family dwellings have basic accessible/adaptable features to permit that people with disabilities can visit, and for residents to "age in place" without having to move out when age and/or disability set in.

       

    4. What is your position on expanding DRIE (Disabled Rent Increase Exemption) to have the same income eligibility limits as SCRIE (Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption)? Currently SCRIE's income cap is $27,000, while DRIE's is $18,600.

      Yes, I would support expanding the Disabled Rent Increase Exemption to have the same income eligibility limits as the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption.

       

  7. VOTING ACCESS & HAVA

    With the recent decision to acquire voting machines that attempt to meet the accessibility standards of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), many poling places in New York State remain inaccessible to persons with disabilities. Do you favor the elimination of provisions in Section 4-104 (1-a) of the NYS Election Law allowing waiver of polling place accessibility standards?

    Yes, I favor the elimination of provisions in Section 4-104 (1-a) of the NYS Election Law allowing waiver of polling place accessibility standards.

     

  8. EDUCATION

     

    1. Despite Section 504 and the Americans with Disabilities Act, students with disabilities face problems when pursuing higher education. These statutes do not specify how students should request accommodations or assistance in asserting their rights under the law. Will you support a fully funded office of disability services on each SUNY and CUNY campus to assist students with disabilities in securing accommodations?

      I have in the past, and will continue to, support legislation and initiatives that will establish a funding program for the improvement of disability services at institutions of higher education. I am also in support of ensuring that all SUNY and CUNY campuses provide an office of disability services to assist students with disabilities in securing accommodations.

       

    2. How do you propose dealing with a school district that deny civil rights to disabled students even after the State Division of Civil Rights affirms the student's rights such as to use an assist animal?

      I believe that the parents, community leaders and State representatives need to meet with school officials to clarify that the disabled student has a right to use their assist animal and explain the consequences for the violation of this student's civil rights.

       

  9. TRANSPORTATION

     

    1. Do you favor an expansion of accessible transportation options for people with disabilities in NYS?

      I would support statewide initiatives to improve access for people with disabilities so that more transportation options would be available. Our community has recently been addressing an access issue with the local train stations. The Rockaway Peninsula is eleven miles long and only one station at the western end has disabled accessibility. I, along with local elected officials, have been working together with the local MTA/transit stations to install an elevator at the eastern end station of the peninsula to improve the accessibility in the area.

       

    2. Will you support Assembly Member Kellner's proposed bill requiring NYC to transition to a 100% accessible taxi fleet?

      Though I have yet to see legislation that will require NYC to transition to a 100% accessible taxi fleet, I would be more than happy to review the legislation for possible sponsorship.

       

    3. Do you support legislation requiring car services, and all shuttle services to purchase wheelchair accessible vehicles or otherwise ensure that they have the capacity to serve persons with disabilities?

      I support requiring car services, and shuttle service to purchase wheelchair accessible vehicles or otherwise ensure that they have the capacity to serve persons with disabilities, and I am happy to report that I am a sponsor of A.8520, which provide persons with disabilities access to pre-arranged for-hire vehicles.

       

Date: June 16, 2008

 

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For other candidates running for State Senator and State Assembly positions, go to the Questionnaires section

 

 

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