StreetsPAC Announces Second Round of 2014 Endorsements in New York State Senate and Assembly Races

StreetsPAC today announced a second round of candidate endorsements in fall races for the New York State Senate and Assembly, backing the reelection bids of State Senator Tony Avella and Assembly Members Nily Rozic and Felix Ortiz, and the campaigns of Brooklyn State Senate challenger Dell Smitherman and Suffolk County Assembly challenger Jason Zove.

First-round endorsements for 2014 state races may be found here.

“It’s getting down to crunch time, so we’re pleased to make a second round of endorsements prior to next week’s primary,” said StreetsPAC board member Joanna Oltman Smith.  “Several of these candidates are facing tough primary races, and we’re confident our endorsements will help push them to victory.”

"The candidates we’re endorsing today are a diverse group, seeking to represent parts of Brooklyn, Queens and Suffolk County,” said StreetsPAC board member Sebastian Delmont.  “But whether it’s Felix Ortiz, with two decades’ experience in Albany, or Jason Zove, who’s only a few years removed from college, they share a dedication to safe and complete streets.”

“We really value the chance to meet with candidates, hear their stories and discuss how we can work together to improve the streets of their districts,” said StreetsPAC board member Hilda Cohen.  “Dell Smitherman told us about how he’d counted the 97 stairs between the Livonia Street L station and the Junius Street 3 station, which have no elevators.  It’s hard, though, when we’re faced with two strong candidates and have to make tough choices, as was the case in the 51st Assembly District race.  Ceasar Zuniga impressed us all, but Felix Ortiz’s experience carried the day.”

Here’s a round up of today’s StreetsPAC endorsees:

Tony Avella, Senate District 11, Northeast Queens (Incumbent) – Avella, first elected to the State Senate in 2010 after eight years in the City Council, is a member of the Senate’s Transportation Committee.  He supports increasing bus service in his Queens district, and would like to see real Bus Rapid Transit implemented on Northern Boulevard and other main thoroughfares.  He backs lifting time and day restrictions on speed cameras, and intends to introduce a bill that would allow home rule for deployment of speed and red-light cameras.  He also plans to push to have secure bicycle storage installed at Long Island Railroad stations in his district.

Felix Ortiz, Assembly District 51, Red Hook, Sunset Park (Incumbent) – Ortiz has represented his district in the Assembly for 20 years.  His bill banning the use of handheld cell phones while driving became the first such state law in the entire country in 2000.  Ortiz will continue his longstanding efforts to deter and punish distracted driving by introducing legislation to require disclosure of a driver’s cellphone records after a crash suspected to have resulted from distraction.  He will also advocate for the creation of a protected bike “highway” along Third Avenue, connecting his district to Downtown Brooklyn.

Nily Rozic, Assembly District 25, Flushing, Fresh Meadows (Incumbent) – Rozic, elected in 2012, is the youngest woman serving in the State Legislature.  She has successfully pushed for expanded neighborhood bus service, and commutes to her district office by bicycle.  Rozic is committed to extending and improving bike infrastructure in her district to make it easier for people to ride to nearby transit stations and to schools, advocating for real Bus Rapid Transit connecting Flushing and Jamaica, and ensuring that all police precincts in Queens are supplied with necessary enforcement equipment and trained in new traffic-safety laws.

Dell Smitherman, Senate District 19, East New York (Challenger) – Smitherman, until recently Political Coordinator of 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, is challenging indicted State Senator John Sampson for the right to represent this reconfigured East New York district.  Smitherman will work to give dangerous Linden Boulevard a complete-street treatment, and will advocate for the restoration of several bus routes in the district.  He’s committed to working to lift time and day restrictions on speed cameras, and improving accessibility at elevated train stations.

Jason Zove, Assembly District 8, Suffolk County (Challenger) – Zove, a former aide in the Suffolk County Legislature, is challenging six-term incumbent Mike Fitzpatrick this November.  Zove is committed to making Long Island’s towns and villages safer for pedestrians and cyclists, including widening sidewalks, implementing more crosswalks and expanding the bike-lane network.  He believes Long Island needs to increase north-south transit connections, and supports creation of dedicated bus lanes.  He’ll work to have secure bike storage installed at Long Island Railroad stations.

StreetsPAC will help elect its endorsed candidates with cash contributions and volunteer support.  It expects to make additional rounds of endorsements prior to November’s general election.

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StreetsPAC supports candidates for public office who will champion Safe, Complete and Livable Streets.