StreetsPAC Makes Endorsements in State Senate and Assembly Races

StreetsPAC today made several endorsements in races for New York State’s legislature, backing five candidates for the State Senate and six candidates for the Assembly. All five candidates we're endorsing for the State Senate are challenging sitting Senators, while four of the six Assembly candidates we're supporting are incumbents.  All of the races in which we're endorsing a candidate are for seats representing districts within New York City.

The events of the past couple months have once again made it clear that the New York State Senate is badly broken. The Senate’s failure to renew New York City’s speed camera program, which had made the streets around city schools demonstrably safer, established a new low, which isn't easy in Albany. However, we’re confident that the candidates we’re endorsing today will help transform the Senate into a legislative body that actually cares about the safety of our streets, and one that will treat our transportation system as the vital system on which so many of us rely. The same is true of the candidates we’re endorsing in State Assembly races.

Speed cameras have become a major electoral issue as a result of the Senate’s inaction, and they’re immensely popular with voters. It’s clear to us that the current makeup of the State Senate is an enormous obstacle to good street-safety policy, so we obviously need to work to change that dynamic. In the Assembly, on the other hand, we’re looking to support people who have, and will, make safe streets and improved transit a priority.

Of the five State Senate candidates we're endorsing today, three are running for seats representing Brooklyn, while the other two are contending for seats in Manhattan and the Bronx, respectively.

Meet all our endorsees after the jump.

BlakeMorris.jpgBlake Morris, 17th Senate District, Brooklyn (Challenger) – Morris, an attorney who lives in Ditmas Park, is running to unseat Simcha Felder, a Democrat who caucuses with Republicans in the State Senate and was responsible for bottling up in committee a bill that would have reauthorized, and increased the number of, speed safety cameras in New York City. Unlike Felder, Morris supports reinstating, and expanding, the speed camera program, and will push for safety improvements along Ocean Parkway. He also backs the proposed Triboro RX subway line, and supports passage of a comprehensive congestion-pricing plan.

JuliaSalazar.jpgJulia Salazar, 18th Senate District, Brooklyn (Challenger) – Salazar, a community organizer who put herself through Columbia University, is challenging incumbent Senator Martin Malavé Dilan in North Brooklyn's 18th District. She's committed to improving the transit system, including upgrading bus service in the district, accelerating the MTA's station-accessibility efforts, and ensuring that every resident of North Brooklyn has ready access to public transit during the L train shutdown. She'll also vote to reinstate and expand the city's speed camera program, and will support a congestion-pricing plan that funds a better transit system while protecting low-income drivers who have no other means of getting to work.

ZellnorMyrie.jpgZellnor Myrie, 20th Senate District, Brooklyn (Challenger) – Myrie, a lawyer and activist, is seeking to unseat Jesse Hamilton, who was a member of the breakaway Independent Democratic Conference. Myrie supports congestion pricing, and plans to advocate for implementation of Select Bus Service in East Flatbush and Brownsville. He will also back legislation that would limit the ability of consistently dangerous drivers to remain behind the wheel, if it contains a restorative justice component. He'd also like to see Linden Boulevard redesigned with pedestrian safety upgrades and protected bike lanes, and supports a Vision Zero makeover for the irregular triangles at the confluence of Howard, Pitkin and East New York Avenues in Brownsville.

RobertJackson.jpgRobert Jackson, 31st Senate District, Manhattan (Challenger) – Jackson, who served for 12 years in the City Council, is challenging first-term State Senator Marisol Alcantera, who was a member of the Independent Democratic Conference that caucused with Republicans. Jackson is a backer of congestion pricing, and supports residential parking permits as a means of combatting the influx of park-and-ride drivers who routinely flood upper Manhattan. He also wants to see the city's lapsed speed camera program renewed and expanded, and is committed to pursuing improvements to the Hudson River Greenway.

AlessandraBiaggi.jpgAlessandra Biaggi, 34th Senate District, Bronx (Challenger) – Biaggi, a Bronx native who was Deputy National Operations Director for Hillary Clinton's 2016 Presidential run, is challenging Jeff Klein, who has led the Republican-caucusing Independent Democratic Conference for the past seven years. She's pledged support for a comprehensive congestion-pricing plan consistent with the Move NY and FixNYC proposals, and wants to see Albany pass legislation that would increase penalties for hit-and-run drivers. She will also advocate for reinstatement and an increase in the number of speed cameras authorized for New York City, as well as the elimination of restrictions governing their operation.

In Assembly races, StreetsPAC is making endorsements in two races in Queens, three in Brooklyn, and one in Manhattan.

BrianBarnwell.jpgBrian Barnwell, 30th Assembly District, Queens (Incumbent) – Barnwell, one of the younger members of the Assembly, won his central Queens seat in 2016 by upsetting a long-term incumbent. He supports implementation of Select Bus Service on major avenues in Maspeth and Middle Village, and wants to see the city's school speed safety camera program renewed and expanded. He's also been working with the MTA to implement transit improvements in his district using state multi-modal transportation funds.

CatalinaCruz.jpgCatalina Cruz, 39th Assembly District, Queens (Challenger) – Cruz, the first DREAMer to run for office in New York State, is an attorney who served as Chief of Staff to former City Council Finance Chair Julissa Ferraras-Copeland. She's challenging Assemblymember Ari Espinal, who won her seat in an April special election. Cruz supports congestion pricing, and reinstatement and expansion of the city's speed camera program. She wants to see Select Bus Service implemented along Junction Boulevard, and supports passage of legislation that would increase penalties for drivers who flee crashes. She also believes that New York City should have control of the subways and city buses.

RobertCarroll.jpgRobert Carroll, 44th Assembly District, Brooklyn (Incumbent) – Carroll, who won his Assembly seat in 2016 with StreetsPAC's backing, has quickly established himself as a transit and safe-streets champion. He's pledged to continue to lead the fight for passage of a comprehensive congestion-pricing plan, and is committed to working to bring runaway MTA capital costs in line with those of other major transit systems. He supports reinstatement and expansion of the city's speed camera effort, and will continue to advocate for legislation aimed at getting dangerous drivers off the road.

EthanLustigElgrably.jpgEthan Lustig-Elgrably, 46th Assembly District, Brooklyn (Open Seat) – Lustig-Elgrably, running for the open seat in the 46th District, served as Legislative Director and Chief of Staff for City Council Member Mark Treyger prior to a stint at the Parks Department. He's committed to improving bus service in the district, especially along the B36 and B74 routes, and plans to advocate for expanded express subway service. He also views improved subway and bus accessibility as a key issue, including level boarding for buses.

JoAnneSimon.jpgJo Anne Simon, 52nd Assembly District, Brooklyn (Incumbent) – Simon is running for election to a third term in the Assembly, where she serves on the Transportation Committee, and she's been an advocate for safe streets and better transit for decades. She's an original co-sponsor of the bill supporting the Move New York congestion-pricing plan, and is adamant about the need to reinstate and expand New York City's speed-camera program. In addition, Simon is the lead sponsor of a bill that would authorize the city of New York to establish a residential parking-permit system.

HarveyEpstein.jpgHarvey Epstein, 74th Assembly District, Manhattan (Incumbent) – Epstein, who won a special election in April to succeed Brian Kavanagh in this east side district, is now running for a full term. Prior to winning office, he had built a distinguished career as a public-interest lawyer and community organizer. Epstein has already made his mark in Albany by introducing a bill that would remove caps on the number of bus-lane and red-light cameras in New York City, and he supports congestion pricing and the renewal and expansion of the city's speed-camera program. He's also an advocate for a robust plan for dealing with the impending L train shutdown.

A Note About the 22nd Senate District

We've decided to not make an endorsement in the Democratic primary in the 22nd Senate District, in which Andrew Gounardes and Ross Barkan are vying for the opportunity to challenge incumbent State Senator Martin Golden in November.

We’re deeply impressed by both candidates, who have each made safe streets and better transit centerpieces of their campaigns, and because of that, we've decided to let them sort things out in the primary election on September 13th. We fully expect to endorse the winner of the primary as soon as the results are certified, and we consider helping elect a new State Senator in the 22nd District our top priority in this election cycle.

We hope you'll join us in doing everything possible to help elect our endorsees. You can start today by donating to StreetsPAC here.

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