Meet Our 2020 Endorsees for State Senate, Assembly, and Queens Borough President

2020 Endorsees: State Senate | State Assembly | Queens Borough President

State Senate

Julia SalazarJulia Salazar, 18th Senate District, Brooklyn (Incumbent) – Salazar was elected to serve North Brooklyn's 18th District in 2018, with StreetsPAC's endorsement, and she's proven herself to be a strong advocate for safer streets and better transit during her first term. She supported congestion pricing and the expansion of the speed camera program, and has been a fixture at rallies for safe-streets and better transit. She's insistent about the need to raise tax revenue to fill the MTA's budget gaps, and supports expanding Select Bus Service to alleviate transit deserts. Salazar would also like to see some of the city's Open Streets projects made permanent.

Rajiv GowdaRajiv Gowda, 23rd Senate District, Staten Island & Brooklyn (Challenger) – Gowda, a retired civil engineer, is challenging incumbent, and former IDC member, Diane Savino in a district that covers Staten Island's North Shore and a portion of southern Brooklyn. A former union leader and Community Education Council president, Gowda also chaired his Community Board's Transportation Committee. He's committed to fighting for a pedestrian and bicycle path on the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge, reactivation of Staten Island's North Shore rail line, and major improvements to his district's bike lanes.

Jabari BrisportJabari Brisport, 25th Senate District, Brooklyn (Open Seat) – Brisport, a middle-school math teacher, is running in a three-way race for the seat currently held by the retiring Velmanette Montgomery. He's running on a detailed and progressive transportation platform, which includes advocating to expand the zone for congestion pricing, which he wants to see implemented on schedule, into Downtown Brooklyn. He also supports eliminating parking minimums across the city, completely connecting Brooklyn's bicycle network while adding many more miles of protected lanes, and improving bus service throughout the district.

RobertJackson.jpgRobert Jackson, 31st Senate District, Manhattan & Bronx (Incumbent) – Jackson, a 2018 StreetsPAC endorsee, is running for a second term in the State Senate. He supported the passage of congestion pricing and the renewal and major expansion of the city's speed camera program. He's committed to advocating for improved and expanded pedestrian and bicycle access on the George Washington Bridge, and will urge the city to resurrect and expand the Slow Zone program in his district. He also supports improvements to the Hudson River Greenway.

Luis SepulvedaLuis Sepúlveda, 32nd Senate District, Bronx (Incumbent) – Sepúlveda, who served three terms in the Assembly, was first elected to the State Senate in a special election in 2018. An early supporter of speed cameras, Sepúlveda also championed congestion pricing, and was the sponsor of the Green Light law that allows undocumented immigrants to obtain driver's licenses, which has obvious street-safety benefits. A member of the Senate's Transportation Committee, he's interested in building upon the city's new Dangerous Vehicle Abatement Program, and working to reform the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Alessandra BiaggiAlessandra Biaggi, 34th Senate District, Bronx (Incumbent) – Biaggi, with StreetsPAC's endorsement, pulled off one of the biggest upsets of 2018, knocking off IDC leader Jeff Klein in her first run for office. She supported congestion pricing and the expansion of the city's speed camera program, as well as the legalization of electric bikes and scooters. She's interested in helping to reform the Department of Motor Vehicles, and has called for more investment in bus service in her district in conjunction with redesign of the Bronx Bus Network.

 

State Assembly


Nily RozicNily Rozic, 25th Assembly District, Queens (Incumbent) – Rozic, a past StreetsPAC endorsee, was the youngest woman in the Legislature when she took office in 2013. She represents a district that has no subway or train stations, but this hasn't stopped her from being a fierce advocate for transit. She led the fight in the Assembly for Select Bus Service, securing the first route in her district, and was a supporter of congestion pricing. She sponsored the Assembly version of the bill that led to the legalization of e-bikes and electric scooters, and has always been an advocate for cycling. Rozic also supports making sure that driver's tests include education about sharing the road. She does not have a primary challenge.

Khaleel AndersonKhaleel Anderson, 31st Assembly District, Queens (Open Seat) – Anderson is one of six candidates running for this open seat in Southeast Queens. He got his start as a teen activist with the Rockaway Youth Task Force, and serves on his local Community Board, where he's advocated for bike lanes. He fought successfully for extension of the Q52 bus to the Rockaways, and did constituent-service work for State Senator James Sanders, Jr. He wants to see bus service improved, including multiple SBS upgrades, and is an advocate for expanding the LIRR's Atlantic Ticket to the Rockaways. He also wants to see bike share returned full time to the district. We were impressed by all the candidates we interviewed for this seat, including Richard David, whom we endorsed for City Council in 2017, and Shea Uzoigwe, who has advocated for congestion pricing and better bus service, but we believe Anderson will bring a youthful energy to Albany that would greatly benefit the 31st District.

Jessica Gonzalez-RojasJessica González-Rojas, 34th Assembly District, Queens (Challenger) – González-Rojas, a reproductive health and immigrants rights activist, is one of four candidates challenging incumbent Assemblyman Michael DenDekker. She served for eight years as Queens's representative on the New York City Transit Riders Council, and in January proposed a bold plan to redesign Northern Boulevard, inspired by the success of the 14th Street Busway. She supports reallocating street space to make more room for safe walking and biking, and keeping buses free by instituting progressive taxes. We were also greatly impressed by Nuala O'Doherty-Naranjo, a former prosecutor and dedicated safe-streets and community activist, but in a tough multi-candidate race against an incumbent with a mediocre record on transportation issues, we believe González-Rojas has the best chance to prevail.

Aravella SimotasAravella Simotas, 36th Assembly District, Queens (Incumbent) – Simotas, who grew up in the district she represents, was first elected to the Assembly in 2010. She has sponsored legislation to elevate penalties for unlicensed drivers who injure or kill, began calling for Astoria's Shore Boulevard to be car-free back in 2015 (it was finally designated an Open Street by NYCDOT in April), and supported the push to pass congestion pricing in the last session. She supports reforming the Department of Motor Vehicles, including requiring the periodic recertification of drivers. She's also introduced a bill to give each borough a representative on the MTA board.

Mary JobaidaMary Jobaida, 37th Assembly District, Queens (Challenger) – Jobaida, who emigrated from Bangladesh in 2001, is one of two candidates challenging incumbent Catherine Nolan, who has held the seat since 1985 and has an undistinguished record on transportation issues. An activist and health care worker, Jobaida has always commuted by subway. In addition to believing the transit system should ultimately be free, Mary wants to grow and electrify the bus network, increase accessibility in the transit system, build out bike lane infrastructure throughout the district, expand the Fair Fares program, and reverse the hiring of 500 new MTA police.

Catalina CruzCatalina Cruz, 39th Assembly District, Queens (Incumbent) – Cruz, the first DREAMer to win elected office in New York State, earned StreetsPAC's endorsement in 2018. She supported congestion pricing, as well as the expansion of the city's speed camera program. She continues to be an advocate for improving subway and bus service, which is critically important to her constituents, and she's interested in working to reform the Department of Motor Vehicles. She'd also like to see the city create permanent Open Streets in her district.

Robert Carroll, 44th Assembly District, Brooklyn (Incumbent) – Carroll, who first won his Assembly seat in 2016 with StreetsPAC's backing, has proved himself a champion of public transit and safe streets. He was a leading voice for the passage of congestion pricing in 2019, and he's authored a number of bills aimed at getting dangerous drivers off the road, including a measure, spurred by a tragic fatal crash in his district, that requires doctors to provide notification when a patient develops a condition that might impair their ability to drive safely. He's also the sponsor of a bill that would levy a $3 online-package delivery tax, with all proceeds dedicated to improving the transit system. Carroll does not have a primary challenge.

Emily GallagherEmily Gallagher, 50th Assembly District, Brooklyn (Challenger) – Assemblyman Joe Lentol has served the people of his North Brooklyn neighborhood with distinction for 48 years. He’s a senior member of the Assembly’s Democratic leadership. He’s been willing to listen to and work with advocates, and has ably adapted over the past 15 years as his district has changed, lending his support to lowered speed limits and new protected bike lanes. That said, it feels like we’re at an inflection point, as a nation and a city. Change is unfolding all around us. Emily Gallagher has been in the trenches as an advocate for the past decade, often in a leading role. She’s built a passionate and devoted base of support among people who’ve dedicated themselves to improving the safety of our streets and the efficacy of our transit system. She’s a bike commuter, and has felt personal loss from traffic violence. Emily is prepared to go to Albany and be a voice for the very issues that motivated us to found StreetsPAC. She’s committed to fighting for better bike infrastructure and more reliable buses and subways. She supports implementing a busway on Bedford Avenue. Her agenda is our agenda. Given the record Joe Lentol has put together in Albany over his long tenure, this was our most difficult endorsement decision, by far. But Emily Gallagher is our choice in the 50th Assembly District.

Katherine WalshKatherine Walsh, 51st Assembly District, Brooklyn (Challenger) – Katherine is one of three candidates challenging long-time incumbent Félix Ortiz, whom we endorsed in 2014 and 2016. Born and raised in Sunset Park, she has spent the past 10 years working to address climate change with the Climate Disclosure Project. She's adamant that congestion pricing implementation should proceed on schedule, and that the funds raised must be fully dedicated to the MTA. With the explosion in trucking facilities in the district, she's committed to pushing for the electrification of delivery vehicles and the use of e-bikes for last-mile deliveries. She'll also advocate for reimagining the BQE corridor to promote more sustainable modes of transportation. Assemblyman Ortiz, who did not respond to our interview requests after submitting a questionnaire, has served well and admirably, but the 51st District seems ready for change.

Jo Anne SimonJo Anne Simon, 52nd Assembly District, Brooklyn (Incumbent) – Simon is running for her fourth term in the Assembly, and has received StreetsPAC's endorsement multiple times. She's a member of the Assembly's Transportation Committee, and was a strong supporter of both congestion pricing and speed camera expansion. Simon is the lead sponsor of a bill that would authorize the city of New York to pilot a residential parking permit system. She also wants to see Brooklyn's bus network improved, with better east-west connections and service between Brooklyn and Manhattan. Simon does not face a primary challenge.

Justin CohenJustin Cohen, 56th Assembly District, Brooklyn (Open Seat) – Cohen, a community organizer and education advocate, is running for the seat being vacated by Assemblywoman Tremaine Wright. He relies on the city's buses, subways and bike lanes to get around, and is committed to working to improve the transit and bicycle networks. In particular, he will advocate for improved east-west bus connections in Brooklyn. He supports further reductions to speed limits, and would like to see street redesigns that would further calm traffic and increase pedestrian safety. Cohen also believes in eliminating parking minimums, and supports better education for drivers during the licensing process.

Walter MosleyWalter Mosley, 57th Assembly District, Brooklyn (Incumbent) – Mosley was elected to the Assembly in 2012. He was a committed supporter of congestion pricing, and is the lead sponsor of a bill that would require pedestrian and cyclist safety instruction in the written state driver's test. He's also a co-sponsor of Jo Anne Simon's residential parking permit bill. He supports further expansion of the bike network, and would like to see bus service improved, especially with additional east-west connections and dedicated lanes similar to the treatment on Fulton Street. We were impressed by Mosley's challenger, Phara Souffrant Forrest, a nurse and housing advocate, but we believe Mosley has more than earned another term in Albany.

Yuh-Line NiouYuh-Line Niou, 65th Assembly District, Manhattan (Incumbent) – Niou, the first Asian American to hold this seat that includes Chinatown, was elected to the Assembly in 2016. She'd like to see Manhattan's bus network redesigned to rationalize routes and increase speeds and reliability, including more dedicated bus lanes. She's adamant about raising revenue to address the MTA's budget gaps, and is interested in the potential for shared-street treatments in the Financial District and Chinatown. Niou is also willing to advocate for expanded pedestrian and cycling space on the Brooklyn Bridge, which is fully in her district. She faces a credible primary challenge from Grace Lee, who impressed us, but Niou is deserving of re-election.

Dan QuartDan Quart, 73rd Assembly District, Manhattan (Incumbent) – Quart, who was elected to the Assembly in 2011, earned StreetsPAC's endorsement in 2014. He's been a staunch supporter of better public transit, and an advocate for holding dangerous drivers accountable for their actions. He's the lead sponsor of legislation that would make it easier to prosecute vehicular crimes, and stiffen penalties for drivers who injure or kill. He'd like to see Select Bus Service expanded to more routes on Manhattan's east side. We were impressed by his young challenger, Cameron Koffman, but even Koffman had to admit that Quart has done a good job on transportation issues. He's earned another term in the Assembly.

Harvey EpsteinHarvey Epstein, 74th Assembly District, Manhattan (Incumbent) – Epstein won his first full term in the Assembly in 2018 with StreetsPAC's backing, after succeeding Brian Kavanagh in a special election. Early in his tenure, he sponsored a bill that would remove caps on the number of red-light and bus-lane cameras in New York City, the latter of which is now law. He was a strong advocate for the 14th Street busway, which has just been made permanent, and is insistent about raising revenue to fill the MTA's yawning budget gaps. He also supports the retesting of drivers every five years. Epstein does not have a primary challenge.

Chantel JacksonChantel Jackson, 79th Assembly District, Bronx (Open Seat) – Jackson, a social worker at a public NYC high school, is one of six candidates vying to succeed Assemblyman Michael Blake, who has endorsed her candidacy. She commutes 18 miles roundtrip by bike to her school in Long Island City. She's committed to working to expand the Bronx's bike network, and to working to improve health outcomes in the Bronx, the least-healthy county in New York State. She'd also like to see improvements in bus service in conjunction with the MTA's redesign of the bus network. In addition to the support of the incumbent, she has the backing of progressive Bronx State Senators Gustavo Rivera and Luis Sepúlveda.

Jeffrey DinowitzJeffrey Dinowitz, 81st Assembly District, Bronx (Incumbent) – Dinowitz, who has represented his Bronx district for 26 years, championed the MTA "lock-box" bill that finally became law in 2019, and has been a strong proponent of speed and red-light cameras. He has even come around on congestion pricing, which he wants to see implemented as scheduled. He supported the Broadway bike lane over Community Board opposition, and advocated for Riverdale's Slow Zone. He wants the MTA to adopt transit-signal priority and all-door boarding to help improve bus service.

Amanda SeptimoAmanda Septimo, 84th Assembly District, Bronx (Challenger*) – Septimo, who ran for this seat on the WFP line in 2018, served as District Director for retiring Congressman José Serrano. As a teenage activist with the Point CDC, she helped secure improvements to bus service in the Bronx, and advocated for congestion pricing in its first incarnation. She wants the MTA to invest in better bus service as it redesigns the Bronx Network, consistent with her view that transportation is at its heart an issue of equity. She believes that, long term, transit should be free. She'd also like to see better public access to the South Bronx's waterfront. *As the only Democrat remaining in the race after incumbent Carmen Arroyo was removed from the ballot for filing fraudulent petitions, Septimo does not have a primary.

 

Queens Borough President


Costa.jpegCosta Constantinides, Borough President, Queens (Open Seat) – As the City Council Member representing Queens's 22nd District (Astoria and parts of Jackson Heights, Woodside, and East Elmhurst) since 2014, and as Chair of the Council's Environmental Protection Committee, Constantinides has been a leader in the city's effort to combat climate change, and he clearly understands the transportation sector's outsized role in carbon emissions. It's why he believes it's so important to get people out of cars, and onto public transit and bikes.

That perspective underscores his strong support for building a real, connected network of protected bike lanes, along with their obvious safety benefits. It's why he pushed successfully to turn a municipal parking lot on Astoria's 31st Street into a 100%-affordable senior-housing facility, with zero parking spaces. And it's why he's been a qualified supporter of the MTA's redesign of the Queens bus network (though he thinks there's plenty of room for improvement on the draft plan), and a proponent of the proposed Triboro rail line.

If elected Queens Borough President, Constantinides pledges he will:

  • Reform, professionalize and diversify the Community Board appointment process
  • Develop a borough-wide transportation plan
  • Advocate for improved cycling infrastructure on the RFK/Triboro and Ed Koch/Queensboro Bridges, and a protected bike lane to connect them
  • Seek to transform additional city-owned municipal parking lots into housing

 

Do you like this page?
StreetsPAC
StreetsPAC supports candidates for public office who will champion Safe, Complete and Livable Streets.