Assembly District 60 - Democratic Primary

Age: 28
Executive Director, East New York United Concerned Citizens, Inc.
Education: John Jay College (BA)

Christopher Banks is running for office because he believes that he can be a leader for the East New York Community. He is active in his community as the Executive Director of East New York United Concerned Citizens, through service on his local community board, and through block associations. Banks supports a state campaign finance system with public matching funds for small donations and would vote to pass the constitutional amendment on redistricting reform, believing that taking the politics out of drawing district lines would provide for a better democracy. Regarding other reform issues, he supports much of Citizens Union’s issues in his candidate questionnaire, but he does not see campaign finance reform as a major issue that the state should address. The other issues he would address if elected include addressing high unemployment, a disproportionate number of homeless shelters in his district, and funding for local social service entities. He supports bringing Walmart to the community, but would seek a Community Benefits Agreement to ensure the company hires locally and provides a living wage with benefits. Banks would also seek to use state legal authority to enforce fair share laws regarding the amount of homeless shelters in East New York. While Banks has clearly been a dedicated servant of his community, his commitment to reform issues is unclear, making it difficult for Citizens Union to support his candidacy for office.



Age: 61
Member, NYS Assembly

Education: Hunter College (BA); Bank St. College of Education (MA)

Inez Barron is the current incumbent in Assembly District 60, having first been elected in 2008. Barron separates herself from Banks by experience, and sees her role as an Assemblymember as an important means to work toward greater social justice. Prior to being elected to the Assembly, she served for 36 years with the Department of Education, ultimately retiring as a principal. Regarding reform issues, Barron supports replicating the city’s campaign finance system at the state level, but opposes creation of an independent redistricting commission, believing that an appointive system removes the voice of the people in the redistricting process. Her main issues she would focus on if re-elected include education, housing, and economic development. Barron is a vocal opponent of mayoral control of the school system, and would like to see greater parental involvement. Unlike Banks, she opposes Walmart coming to East New York, believing that “big box” stores will not provide sufficient support for workers and the increased traffic would add to pollution in the area. While Barron is a strong voice for her community, Citizens Union cannot support her candidacy because her weak support of major Citizens Union reform goals and her change in position from 2008 when she supported the creation of a redistricting commission that would diminish the legislature’s role in the redistricting process.