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Screening Panel Report (August 2006)

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For the candidates running in this fall's elections in N.Y., go to the Questionnaires section

View the 504 Democratic Club endorsements of the candidates running in this fall's New York elections

The Screening Panel of the 504 Democratic Club met on the following dates and locations:

  • Monday, August 7 at CWA Local 1180 in Manhattan

  • Tuesday, August 8 at the National Black Theater of Harlem in Manhattan

  • Wednesday, August 9 at the Congregation Mt. Sinai in Brooklyn

  • Thursday, August 10 at the Jackson Heights Jewish Center in Queens

  • Monday, August 14 at Renwick Gardens in Manhattan

  • Thursday, August 17 at the Hebrew Home Hospital in the Bronx

All candidates received an invitation and questionnaire by mail. Virtually all received follow up telephone calls and e-mails or faxes. Some candidates didn't respond despite repeated contacts. This report and our ballot are limited to those candidates who appeared for an interview and/or submitted a questionnaire.

We interviewed 79 candidates who are on the ballot and received questionnaires from 12 others.

Our thanks to the following individuals whose support made this possible: Edith Prentiss, Alexander Wood, Pat Walls, Jo Anne Simon, Pam Bates, Mike Schweinsburg, Marty Sesmer, Doris Seligman, and Douglas Pucci.

 

Contents:

Statewide offices

Governor: Attorney General Eliot Spitzer appeared before our community at an ADA commemoration at DNNYC on July 26, at which time he pledged to re-establish the office of Advocate for the Disabled in the governor's office; making employment of PWDs a priority, supporting community-based housing options and reforming Medicaid to assure that the support system follows the Individual. There is a concern about his desire to reduce Medicaid spending, but his focus seems to be primarily on providers. His Office of Civil Rights has done a good job in protecting the interests of disabled New Yorkers and has worked closely with community leaders. His primary opponent has not responded to requests for an interview nor submitted his responses to our questionnaire.

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Lt. Governor: David Paterson, who is legally blind, has been a strong ally of 504 and 504 North Star, and has been supportive and accessible to us all during his tenure as Senate Democratic Leader. This closeness was demonstrated by the inclusion of our own Alexander Wood in his inaugural program when he became Senate Democratic Leader. At the ADA celebration, he stated that "On January 1, there will be a new sheriff in town. And I will be his deputy. The sun will never set on people with disabilities as long as we're there."

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Attorney General: Former Public Advocate Mark Green has long been supportive of our agenda and has long made himself available to us. He appeared before us and submitted his responses to our questionnaire. He favors waiving the State's sovereign immunity from ADA challenges and favors amending State Human Rights Law to incorporate Titles II and III of the ADA, to compensate for the increasingly negative interpretations by federal courts. He has pledged that, as he did when we endorsed him for Mayor, he will publicize our endorsement and hold a press conference with us. His three opponents did not respond to repeated requests for interviews nor did they submit completed questionnaires.

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Bronx

Civil Court Judge (Countywide): Doris Gonzalez, who appeared for and interview, is running unopposed in the primary. She is an impressive candidate with a background in guardianships. She displays the desired sensibility toward the needs and rights of persons with disabilities when involved in the court system..

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17th Congressional District (part of Westchester / Rockland): We interviewed the incumbent, Eliot Engel, who has been a long time supporter for disability issues. He favors a single payer health care system, and has been a strong advocate for mental health care. He is a principle sponsor of ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) legislation. He supports "money follows the person" in regard to moving services from nursing homes into the community. His opponent, Jessica Flagg, did not keep a scheduled appointment this year. She later apologized and sent in a questionnaire. She is primarily concerned with ending the Iraq war and pulling out our troops. She so strongly opposes the use of touchscreen voting machines with or without paper trails that she would opt for the continued use of lever machines or paper only, in violation of HAVA mandates for persons with disabilities to be able to cast a secret and independent ballot.

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34th State Senatorial District (part of Westchester): Two years ago, incumbent Jeff Klein captured this seat which had been held by a Republican. He has been a strong supporter of disability issues, including access at the gas pump. Due to illness, he was unable to keep an appointment for an interview, but did submit a questionnaire. He has no opposition in the primary.

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36th State Senatorial District: We interviewed the incumbent Ruth Hassell-Thompson and her opponent, Crystal Wade. Senator Hassell-Thompson has been a strong supporter of disability issues, noting that a nephew has Down Syndrome and another nephew has autism. Wade, while indicating support for our issues, indicated a curious rationale for her candidacy -- the low level of discretionary funding received by Senator Hassell-Thompson. This reflects a complete lack of understanding of what it means to be part of the minority in the State Senate or a desire on Wade's part to vote with the Republican majority.

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79th State Assembly District: We interviewed Assemblyman Michael Benjamin and his opponent Sigfredo Gonzalez. Assemblyman Benjamin has been a strong supporter of our issues and has been to a number of 504 events, which is unusual for elected officials from the Bronx. Several individuals on the panel expressed concern that despite high hopes for his success when he replaced the disgraced former incumbent, somehow they were let down. However, a major Bronx disability activist who has worked closely with Assemblyman Benjamin on housing and education issues but was not able to participate in the panel strongly disputes this. There are two points of agreement -- that his community service component is not as good as it should be and that Assemblyman Benjamin's close political partnership with his wife, who is also his Chief-of-Staff, is a source of contention. The activist states that Assemblyman Benjamin is conscious of his status as a role model for African-American men, and feels the need to demonstrate that women can be equal partners. Sigfredo Gonzalez states that he has been a diabetic since childhood and is very aware that this could lead to disability. He would be a reliable supporter of our issues.

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80th State Assembly District: Due to scheduling conflicts, we were unable to interview Assemblywoman Naomi Rivera, who was first elected two years ago. She also failed to submit a questionnaire. We interviewed her opponent, Joseph Thompson, a former NYPD Detective who retired on disability. Thompson, a respected community leader, indicated that his sister is schizophrenic and his son has a learning disability. He noted that he has been a strong supporter of group homes within his community, which led to a discussion on higher forms of community based services, including home care.

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Assembly 81st District: Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz was out of town at the time of our Bronx interviews, but submitted a questionnaire. He is in favor of implementing Olmstead community based services and is unhappy with the compromise on Timothy's Law, and favors the original Assembly version.

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Male District Leader 79th A.D.: We interviewed both Jose A. Padilla, Jr. and Eric Stevenson, both of whom are supportive of access for persons with disabilities in the Democratic Party.

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Brooklyn

Civil Court Judge County-wide (Vote for 2): We interviewed five candidates for two openings.

We were most impressed with Dena Douglas, who spoke quite movingly of her advocacy for obtaining an appropriate education for her disabled child. She is a former Bureau Chief in the District Attorney's office and has held law enforcement jobs in Washington.

Jacqueline Williams has an impressive academic background, having graduated from Cornell, University of California-Berkeley, and Yale. She is active in Lion's Club International, which focuses on providing aid to individuals with vision impairments and providing free wheelchairs throughout the world. She serves as a Principle Secretary to a Supreme Court Justice.

Pia Wood works with the New York City Law Department, where she composed the language incorporating the ADA in all contracts, and assures that this language is in all contracts. She is Co-Chair of the Multiculturalism and Diversity Committee of Packer Collegiate Institute and regards students with disabilities as enriching the academic and social environment. Her aunt, who is deaf, moved in with her family after several years of being housed in the infamous Willowbrook, and this has made her aware of how poorly persons with disabilities have been treated by society.

Robin Sheares, whom we have supported for this position in the past, is in private practice. She is the legal guardian for her mentally disabled brother, of whom she speaks of with affection and exasperation. She was the only one of the candidates who was not approved by the County Democratic Party's Judicial Screening Panel, apparently because she allowed a student from New Jersey to use her home address to attend a local public school. She cheerfully acknowledges this.

Philip Smallman impressed us as being qualified. However, he has run in the past for this position as a Republican and Conservative. When asked about this, he disingenuously insisted there was no significance to this. Mr. Smallman previously was found to be "pro-life" by Staten Island Right to Life, was previously honored by a local Republican club, and as recently as this January gave a $250 contribution to the campaign of John Faso, the Republican candidate for Governor.

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Congress 10th District: Congressman Ed Towns, the incumbent is widely reported to be voting for the tobacco industry and this district deserves an effective representative who is not reputed to be an agent of special-interest lobbyists. He did not participate in our screening procedure. We interviewed his two primary opponents, both of whom are seriously flawed.

Councilman Charles Barron, because of his behavior, has largely been marginalized by his colleagues, which has not served his constituents well.

Assemblyman Roger Green was convicted of falsifying records while Assemblyman and had been forced to resign -- he received free transportation to and from Albany from a major State contractor which he sponsored for many years. In addition, he billed the State for these rides as if he had driven in his own car. He was forced to resign, but was re-elected anyway. Although he has been in office and running for office for a long time, this is the first time he has appeared before us.

We recommend a position of No Endorsement.

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Congress 11th District: There are four candidates running for the seat being vacated by Congressman Major Owens, who was the floor leader in Congress for the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Chris Owens, son of the incumbent, is a lawyer and community activist. He has spent much time volunteering in his father's office, gaining an insiders knowledge of the legislative process and the personalities in Congress. He has inherited his father's passion for disability issues.

State Senator Carl Andrews has appeared before us several times in the past and is generally in support of our issues.

Councilman David Yassky emphasized the need for affordable housing, provision of health care (including mental health). He emphasizes the need to strengthen the ADA and IDEA. He has been a prime sponsor of legislation increasing the number of fuel efficient taxis, which, unfortunately, has put him in conflict with us upon occasion. However, he indicates that he supports the current Taxis For All Campaign bill which would provide for a 100% accessible and fuel-efficient fleet by 2015.

The fourth candidate, Councilwoman Yvette Clarke has been a supporter of our agenda in the Council. However, we were unable to schedule her for an interview and she did not submit a questionnaire.

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Senate 18th District: We interviewed Senator Velmanette Montgomery, who has appeared before us in the past, when she didn't have a primary. This year she is being challenged by former Councilwoman Tracy Boyland, who did not keep an appointment and did not submit a questionnaire. Senator Montgomery is a strong advocate for disability issues. She wrote legislation that mandates restitution to guide dog users for the cost associated with the injury or death of their service dogs and supported legislation creating a home care program for people with AIDS.

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Senate 20th District: There are three candidates to succeed Senator Carl Andrews, who is running for Congress. Eric Adams, a founder and leader of 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement who care, was interviewed. He is generally in support of disability issues.

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Senate 21st District: Senator Kevin Parker has been supported by 504 in several previous races and has maintained a warm relationship with the Club and its leaders. He supports disability issues in the Senate, including repeal of the Full-Face ballot. His opponent, former Councilman Noach Dear was an obstacle to our issues during his Council tenure.

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Assembly 43rd District: We interviewed Assemblyman Karim Camara and his challenger, Jessie Hamilton. Assemblyman Camara succeeded former Assemblyman and Brooklyn County Democratic Leader Clarence Norman, who was forced to step down from following a criminal conviction resulting from his scandal-mired administration of the County. Assemblyman Camara is a Baptist minister from the same church as Assemblyman Norman's father. Jessie Hamilton is an attorney, former school board President, and community board member who is running because he believes Camara to be an instrument for the discredited Norman organization to retain power. He supports mainstreaming of students with disabilities. Both Assemblyman Camara and Hamilton express support for our issues.

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Assembly 44th District: Assemblyman James Brennan has long been a strong advocate for our issues. He is a former Chair of the Mental Health Committee and was a prime sponsor of the Medicaid Buy-In program, which would allow disabled Medicaid recipients to enter the work force while maintaining their benefits. Although he is unopposed, he was interviewed and submitted a completed questionnaire.

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Assembly 46th District: Our good friend, Assemblywoman Adele Cohen, is stepping down and hopes to win a slot on the Supreme Court this year. We interviewed Ari Kagan, a Russian-American journalist and community leader, one of two candidates seeking to succeed her. Mr. Kagan is on the Board of the Russian-American organization for PWDs, and was accompanied by its President, a wheelchair user, to the interview. He strongly supports our agenda. The other candidate, another Russian-American community leader, did not participate in our screening.

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Assembly 52nd District: Assemblywoman Joan Millman has been a reliable supporter of our issues over the period of many years and is popular among disability activists in her community, as a result of her leadership in establishing the B-51 bus route, which connects downtown Brooklyn and downtown Manhattan over the Manhattan Bridge. She participated in our screening and submitted a questionnaire although he has no primary opposition.

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Assembly 55th District: Assemblyman William Boyland, Jr. was unable to keep an appointment for an interview, but submitted a questionnaire. He is generally in support of our agenda.

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Assembly 57th District: Assemblyman Roger Green is running for Congress, and all three candidates vying to succeed him participated in our screening process. Two of these candidates, William Batson and Hakeem Jeffries, would be outstanding in any district.

William Batson, Community Relations Director for Senate Minority Leader David Paterson, emphasized his past ties to our community, including famed labor leader Cleveland Robinson (Secretary-Treasurer of District 65), who was blind, and his work with the Achilles Track Club.

Hakeem Jeffries, a corporate lawyer who we have supported when he ran for this position in the past, stuck to his "talking points" when he appeared before us. He is perceived to be the front-runner.

Freddie Hamilton, the district's current State Committeewoman and Vice Chair of the County Democrats, is a respected and hard working community leader. Although she herself seems to operate in a transparent manner, she rationalizes acceptance of past corruption in both the County organization and on the part of the present Assemblyman.

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Assembly 58th District: Assemblyman N. Nick Perry started out this year as a candidate for Congress, but switched back to running for re-election. While plain spoken and not flashy, his sincerity shines through. He is a supporter of our issues.

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Assembly 59th District: Assemblyman Alan Maisel, who was Chief-of-Staff to his predecessor, Frank Seddio, won a special election earlier this year after Seddio accepted an appointment as Surrogate. In his interview, he talked with pride of going to school with Judith Heumann, who fought for and won the right to become the first wheelchair user to teach school in New York. He is a supporter of our issues.

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Male State Committee 40th A.D.: Earl Williams submitted a questionnaire. A member of the Lion's Club, which provides aid to individuals with visual and motor impairment throughout the world, he supports full inclusion of persons with disabilities in the Democratic Party.

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Female State Committee 43rd A.D.: Olanike Alabi, a former Community Board District Manager who currently works for SEIU, is challenging the incumbent, Freddie Hamilton, who is also running for Assembly. Both were screened. While we feel comfortable with either candidate, it would be unfortunate if Ms. Hamilton, who serves her community well, would lose her party position in addition to the Assembly race.

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Manhattan

Congress 8th District Manhattan / Brooklyn: Congressman Jerrold Nadler has been so staunch a supporter of disability issues in the Congress, that we've honored him with our FDR Award. By one survey in the past, he was rated as the most effective member of the New York Congressional delegation. He faces no primary opposition. We were not able to schedule him for an interview this year, but he submitted a questionnaire.

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Congress 14th District Manhattan / Queens: Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney is another reliable supporter of our issues. She has employed a disability advocate on her staff and was instrumental in having Alexander Wood designated as a Delegate to the 2004 Democratic National Convention. She also faces no primary opposition. She submitted a questionnaire.

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Senate 25th District Manhattan / Brooklyn: Former Senate Minority Leader Martin Connor faces opposition from Ken Diamondstone, whom we've supported when he's run for other offices in the past.

Senator Connor has consistently fought against efforts to dismantle New York's health care system, and has opposed proposals to cut vital medical care and other human services for children, the elderly and people with disabilities. His committee memberships include the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Committee. An attorney, he represented Judge Margarita Lopez Torres in her historic fight to be elected Surrogate of Kings County, but he has also represented election law clients who were far less noble.

Diamondstone is a long-time community activist who has highlighted Connor's role in the repeal of the commuter tax and Connor's loss of his Minority Leader position to David Paterson on a vote of Democratic Senators. He is spending a large amount of his own and his partner's savings to make this a competitive race. Much of the summer, he was involved in a challenge by Connor to his residency, which was recently resolved in Diamondstone's favor in the Court of Appeals. He is the candidate of the Working Families Party.

Both candidates support our issues agenda.

While there is some concern about Diamonstone's lack of familiarity with the majority Manhattan side of this two county district, on balance the screening panel favored him over Connor, believing it was time for a change.

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Senate 26th District: Senator Liz Krueger is both very knowledgeable of our agenda and a strong advocate. She introduced legislation to eliminate the full-face ballot requirement in New York, which hampers the state's choices in HAVA implementation. She introduced legislation which would increase the financial eligibility for the DRIE and SCRIE programs to $50,000. She faces no opposition in the primary.

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Senate 28th District Manhattan / Bronx: Senator Jose M. Serrano was elected two years ago with 504's support. As both a Councilman and State Senator, he has been supportive of our issues. Although he didn't appear for an interview, he submitted a questionnaire. He faces no opposition in the primary.

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Senate 29th District: Senator Tom Duane has been a strong advocate for persons with disabilities throughout his long career, noting that he is HIV positive and had a brother, who has since died, who was disabled. While in the Council, he was the first advocate there for wheelchair accessible taxis. He has no opposition in the Primary.

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Senate 30th District: Former Councilman Bill Perkins is running unopposed for the seat being vacated by our friend, Senate Minority Leader David Paterson. On the Council, he was the lead sponsor of the bill banning lead based paints, and was a reliable supporter of our issues.

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Senate 31st District Manhattan / Bronx: Senator Eric T. Schneiderman has no opposition in the primary. Nevertheless, he appeared for an interview and submitted a questionnaire. He is considered to be a strong candidate to succeed David Paterson as Senate Democrat Leader. He is a reliable supporter of our issues.

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Assembly 65th District: Elected when he was quite young, Assemblyman Alexander B. "Pete" Grannis has a long career in the Assembly, where he currently Chairs the Insurance Committee. He represents a large disabled community, including residents of Roosevelt Island. As such, he has always been a reliable advocate for disability issues. He appeared before us and submitted a questionnaire, despite having no primary opposition.

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Assembly 66th District: Assemblywoman Deborah J. Glick is a former Chair of the Assembly Task Force on People with Disabilities. As such, she is very familiar with our issues. Although she faces no opposition in the primary, she appeared before us and submitted a questionnaire.

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Assembly 67th District: Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, a former aide to Congressman Jerrold Nadler, won a Special Election for the position earlier this year. She is a reliable supporter of disability issues. While with Congressman Nadler, she helped secure funding for revamping of the 72nd and Broadway subway station, making it fully accessible.

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Assembly 68th District: John Ruiz, a disabled former firefighter and a district leader, has run for this position and others in the past, demonstrating his desire to hold public office. This appears to be a personal quest and we're left unsure of his vision and knowledge of the legislative process. Assemblyman Adam Clayton Powell IV did not participate in our screening process.

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Assembly 69th District: Assemblyman Daniel O'Donnell has been a reliable supporter of our issues. He was a sponsor of Timothy's Law, and focuses on the provision of health care. He said that he sued the landlord to get a ramp for his District Office. He appeared for an interview and submitted a questionnaire.

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Assembly 70th District: Assemblyman Keith L. Wright is Chair of the Election Law Committee. As such, he was a major participant in the effort to implement HAVA, which, for lack of agreement with the Senate Republicans did not meet Federal deadlines. In the past, he was a strong supporter of the full face ballot, which isn't disability-friendly. However, when interviewed, he indicated that he now favors repeal. He has been a reliable supporter of disability issues. He faces no opposition in the primary. Nevertheless, he was interviewed and submitted a questionnaire.

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Assembly 72nd District: We interviewed Assemblyman Adriano Espaillat, who is a reliable supporter of disability issues. We also interviewed his opponent, Francesca Castellanos, a community activist, who also supports our agenda. However, she did not seem aware of the legislative process.

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Assembly 73rd District: Assemblyman Jonathan Bing had 504's endorsement when he initially won a contested primary for this seat. Currently, he faces no opposition in the primary. He has been a reliable ally on our issues. He was interviewed and submitted a questionnaire.

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Assembly 74th District: Both Assemblywoman Sylvia Friedman and her opponent in the primary, Brian Kavanagh, appeared before us and submitted questionnaires. Friedman won a Special Election for this seat earlier this year. At the time, she was an Executive Committee member of 504. Besides having a long and impressive record as an activist in her community, she has a long history of involvement in disability organizations and advocacy. Since being elected, she has been a strong advocate for Timothy's Law, DRIE parity with SCRIE, expansion of EPIC to persons with disabilities. Clearly, disability advocacy is near the top of her agenda. Her opponent ran for City Council in the area last year. A former Chief-of-Staff to our good friend, Councilwoman Gale Brewer where he worked on the Civil Rights Restoration Act, he is a credible candidate who would make a good elected official. He plans to focus on affordable housing, transportation and the provision of health care. We would have happily recommended him this year or last year under different circumstances -- in each case he was opposing a candidate with a far greater history of involvement with our Club and our community.

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Assembly 75th District: Assemblyman Richard N. Gottfried, although still not old, has a long and distinguished career in the Assembly. For many years he has chaired the Health Committee. He sponsors the N.Y. Health bill to create a universal publicly funded health coverage plan for New York State. He has fought successfully to protect and increase funding for Medicaid, school health clinics, AIDS services, and other health concerns and was the author of legislation to provide legal services for persons with disabilities. Although he has no opponent in the primary, he appeared before us and submitted a questionnaire.

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Civil Court Judge Countywide: Acting Supreme Court Justice Jane Solomon is running for re-election to the Civil Court to maintain her current position until she attains retirement age. She is has no opposition in the primary, so she was gracious in agreeing to appear before us for an interview. She demonstrated sensitivity toward disability concerns in the Court system.

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Civil Court Judge District 1: Paul G. Feinman is an Acting Supreme Court Justice who is running for re-election to the Civil Court without opposition, has appeared before us many times in the past, and we have supported him on past campaigns for both the Civil Court and the Supreme Court. He participated in an interview and submitted a questionnaire. He was visibly disabled with a spinal brace as a child and had a temporary mobility impairment as a judge which required the assistance of others in performing his duties. He has assisted a number of close family members and friends as they have become disabled. He submitted a questionnaire.

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Civil Court Judge District 2: There are three candidates to fill this seat, and all participated in our screening. All three candidates are sensitive to our concerns in the courts and have their own outstanding qualities.

Margaret Chan is an immigrant who arrived here from Hong Kong by way of Canada as a child. She has a solo practice, which largely serves other immigrants. She has extensive experience in guardianships, and is sensitive to the rights of persons with disabilities in these situations. She is supported by the Coalition for a District Alternative, Village Independent Democrats and Village Reform Democrats. She would bring greater diversity to the court.

David Cohen is currently a Housing Court Judge who previously worked in the litigation office of the Attorney General. He told of having, as a child, to interpret for his deaf father in court, which moved him to become a lawyer. He is supported by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. He submitted a questionnaire.

Andrea Masley is the Principal Court Attorney to a Supreme Court Justice. She is supported by Assemblywoman Sylvia Friedman and former Councilwoman Margarita Lopez. She has a history of Democratic Party and progressive activism, which led her to spend a couple of weeks in Florida in a group including future Assemblywoman Friedman and Marvin Wasserman to help the Kerry campaign in the 2004 election. She submitted a questionnaire.

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Civil Court Judge District 7: Both candidates in this race, Rita Mella and Mary Rosado were interviewed and submitted questionnaires. Rita Mella, an immigrant from the Dominican Republic, is a law assistant to the esteemed Brooklyn Surrogate, Margarita Lopez Torres. She is supported by Assemblywoman Sylvia Friedman and Councilwoman Rosie Mendez, among others. We also liked Mary Rosado, who has extensive experience in guardianships, where she displays sensitivity for the rights of persons with disabilities.

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Civil Court Judge District 9: We interviewed Lori Sattler, who is running unopposed. She currently works in the Supreme Court with a justice assigned to guardianship cases. She is sensitive to disability access concerns in the court and to the rights of persons with disabilities who in guardianship situations. She submitted a questionnaire.

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Male State Committee 66th A.D., Manhattan: Arthur Z. Schwartz, who stepped down as District Leader last year, is challenging the incumbent, Larry Moss. Mr. Schwartz is an attorney who originally specialized in employment discrimination, but has since moved on to representing labor unions, including the Transport Workers in their recent strike.

Mr. Schwartz appeared before us shortly after heart by-pass surgery, with his bandages quite visible. We contacted the incumbent, who stated that he was too busy to participate in our screening.

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Female State Committee 67th A.D.: We interviewed both candidates -- the incumbent, Elizabeth Starkey, and her challenger, Debra Cooper. Ms. Starkey (a lawyer) and Ms Cooper (a Special Education teacher) are supportive of full access for persons with disabilities within the Democratic Party. A supporter of Ms. Starkey speculated that she was receiving opposition because she voted her conscience for an Attorney General candidate at the recent Democratic State Convention, and she was being punished for this through this primary. Ms. Cooper's response to this was that she had decided to make this challenge after Ms. Starkey endorsed the challenger to the Democratic Party candidate for Assembly in the Special election held in the district earlier this year, and believed this to be inappropriate for a Democratic Party elected official. Ms. Cooper stated that she supported the same Attorney General candidate as did Ms. Starkey. Both candidates support full access for persons with disabilities to the Democratic Party. Both submitted questionnaires.

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Female State Committee 68th A.D.: We interviewed Evette Zayas, Chief of Staff to Assemblyman Powell and a District Leader in the area. We have supported her in past races. She supports full access for persons with disabilities to the Democratic Party. Neither of her opponents sought our endorsement. She submitted a questionnaire.

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Female State Committee 70th A.D.: We interviewed Theresa Freeman, who is a District Leader in the area. We have worked closely with her in the past. As a person with a disability (she is a dialysis patient), she has been a role model for others who seek leadership within the Democratic Party. She is challenging the incumbent, Sylvia Tyler, who was not interviewed; however, she submitted a questionnaire.

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Female State Committee 72nd A.D.: Joan Serrano Laufer, the longtime incumbent, submitted a questionnaire in which she indicated support for access for persons with disabilities within the Democratic Party. Her opponent did not participate in our screening process.

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Queens

Congress 6th District Queens / Nassau: Congressman Gary L. Ackerman submitted a questionnaire. He favors full funding for IDEA, and is a strong supporter of mental heath initiatives, including parity in health insurance. He faces no opposition in the Primary.

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Senate 13th District: Councilman Hiram Monserrate is the father of a disabled child. As such, he's been a strong supporter of 504 and disability issues from the beginning of his political career. He was the chief sponsor of legislation which requires school buses which transport children with disabilities to have air conditioning in summer. He is challenging the incumbent, Senator John Sabini, who has had few contacts with us and our community over a long career. He did not keep a scheduled interview with our Screening Committee.

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Senate 15th District: Albert Baldeo, a "working class" lawyer and South Asian immigrant, is the Democratic Party candidate who will oppose the Republican incumbent. He is presently representing residents around Kennedy Airport who are suing the Port Authority on air quality issues, due to the high incidence of asthma and other respiratory diseases in the area. He lost a child due to disabilities. He would be a strong supporter of disability issues.

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Assembly 22nd District: Assemblyman Jimmy Meng, the Assembly's first Asian-American, who was elected just two years ago, is stepping down due to ill health. We interviewed one the candidates, Ellen Young, who is considered the frontrunner. Ms. Young is Chief-of-Staff to Councilman John Liu. She is proud of the fact that she was the first Asian woman Auxiliary Police Officer. She would be a reliable supporter of disability issues. She is opposed by former Councilwoman Julia Harrison, who did not participate in our screening. Although we have been in contract with the campaign of the third candidate, Terence Park, he spent much of the summer fighting a challenge to his petitions and did not participate in our screening. He was only recently restored to the ballot by the Court of Appeals.

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Assembly 25th District: There are two candidates to replace retiring Assemblyman Brian McLaughlin. We interviewed Morshed Alam; a South-Asian immigrant who has previously ran a strong campaign for State Senate. He would be a reliable supporter of disability issues. We were in contact with the campaign of his opponent, Rory Lancman, whose campaign initially reached out to us in seeking our endorsement. However, more recently, there was no interest, and Lancman did not participate in our screening procedure.

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Male State Commitee 22nd A.D.: We interviewed Donald Henton, a retired bus driver who uses a cane, and is generally in support of access for persons with disabilities in the Democratic Party.

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Male District Leader 22nd A.D. Part B: Ronald Kim is an impressive candidate who has previously worked for Councilman John Liu and was a National Urban Fellow. He presently works for the Department of Buildings. He appeared at our screening after being drenched in heavy rain. He would make a strong advocate for full access to the Democratic Party for persons with disabilities.

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Female District Leader 22nd A.D. Part B: Mei-Hua Ru supports access to the Democratic Party for persons with disabilities.

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Male District Leader 35th A.D.: We interviewed Hayden Horsham, an interesting first time candidate, who is challenging the incumbent. A Trinidadian-American, he's very much involved in the community as a small business owner and organizer of sports programs for youth. He has a brother who has a seizure disorder and cannot work. He is open to new ideas and calls his mind a "sponge." He has worked with the Wheelchair Classic and bus access issues for PWDs.

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Female State Commtitee 39th A.D.: We interviewed Tammy Rose, who spoke of her past employment with Half the Planet, which was a "disability resource network" and it's Executive Director, John Kemp. She is knowledgeable and strongly supportive of our issues and access concerns.

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Male State Committee 39th A.D.: We interviewed Lionel Letellier, who works on the staff of Assemblyman Jose Peralta. He indicated support for disability access within the Party. His opponent did not participate in our endorsement procedure.

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Female State Committee 39th A.D.: We interviewed Amparito "Pat" Rosero, who supports full access for persons with disabilities within the Democratic Party.

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Upstate: Senate 41st District Putnam, Ulster, Greene, Delaware, Schoharie, Albany, Rensselaer counties: Brian Keeler is the Democratic Party candidate who is challenging the Republican incumbent, who is Chair of the Education Committee. Mr. Keeler developed an internet site centered on progressive politics. He was invited to be screened by a friend of his, who is a member of 504, and he readily agreed. He is a strong supporter of disability issues and has a staff member who is an attorney with bi-polar disorder and mental health advocate. He is a strong candidate at a time when Democrats are seeking to gain control of the State Senate within the next 4 to six years.

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For the candidates running in this fall's elections in N.Y., go to the Questionnaires section

To cast a vote endorsing the following candidates as well as vote to elect 504 Democratic Club Executive Committee candidates, print out the offical 2006 ballot.

 

 

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