Assembly District 26 - Democratic Primary

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      Preferred Candidate
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John Duane's Candidate Questionnaire

Age: 56 Occupation: Attorney
Education: Colgate University (BA); Columbia Law School (JD)

John Duane represented parts of assembly district 26 from 1982-1984.  He left public office after losing reelection, and spent the last two decades building his private law practice and raising his children.  He sees the current open seat as an opportunity to reengage with political life and return to his old seat.  His prior experience as a legislator was successful; he was the primary sponsor of 22 chapter laws in just two years.  He is rooted in the community by virtue of his membership in various civic associations and historical societies.  He sees himself as an independent candidate who supports independent redistricting and Citizens Union broader reform agenda.  His top priorities include the creation of a New York State G.I. bill for returning veterans of the Afghan and Iraq war, regulation of debt management plan companies and limiting corporate contributions to political campaigns.  He feels his strongest qualities are his prior experience as a legislator, and the relationships he formed which enabled him to work across the aisle and get more legislation passed.  Duane believes he could ease back into many of these relationships he formed since many of the assembly members he served with are still in office.  Citizens Union was impressed by his reform agenda, knowledge of the issues and his interest to return to his prior service as a legislator, and thus  CU prefers him.

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Steve Behar's Candidate Questionnaire
Age: 46 Occupation: Attorney & Small Business Owner
Education: University of Albany (BA); Tulane University (MBA, JD); Georgetown University (ILM)

Campaign website:

This is Steve Behar’s second run for public office after an unsuccessful bid for City Council district 19 in 2009.  He currently serves as a member of Community Board 11.  A self-described policy wonk, Behar gave up his career as a lawyer to enter politics at forty years old, and worked on the presidential campaigns of Howard Dean, Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama  He bills himself as an independent and noted how he turned down significant financial support for his campaign from wealthy charter school advocacy groups because of his opposition to their positions on education-related issues.  He largely supports Citizens Union’s reform agenda and advocates for comprehensive campaign finance reform, full public financing, and non partisan redistricting.  Public education is also a top priority.  His district is one of the wealthiest and has some of the best public schools, but overcrowding is an issue.  Behar displayed energy, enthusiasm and was fluent in the needs of the district. 

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Ed Braunstein's Candidate Questionnaire
Age: 29 Occupation: Legislative Assistant, NYS Assembly
Education: SUNY Albany (BA); New York Law School (JD)

Ed Braunstein is a first-year member of Community Board 11 and a lifelong resident of Bayside, Queens.  Braunstein has the support of the Queens Democratic Party and much of the legislative establishment.  He spent the last seven years in Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s district office covering legislative affairs.  Braunstein wants to curb state spending but notes the importance of maintaining certain programs like those for seniors.  On reform issues, he supports independent redistricting, increased transparency related to the role of business and special interests in politics, publicly financed elections and the consolidation of New York State’s 700 public authorities as a cost-saving measure.  Braunstein also believes that the need of a district ought to be considered in allocating member-item appropriations and supports a robust vetting process for community groups seeking funding from members.  While Braunstein showed knowledge of some issues and expressed a genuine commitment to be independent, he lacks the depth of experience that others in a talented field possess. 


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