Assembly District 68 - Democratic Primary

AD 68 District Map

Preferred Candidate
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           Robert Rodriguez's Candidate Questionnaire 

Age: 34   Occupation: Vice President of Minority-Owned Finance Firm
Education: Yale University (BA); NYU (MBA)
Campaign website:

Robert Rodriguez, a vice president of a minority owned public finance firm and former Chair of Community Board 11, is running for State Assembly in the 68th district.  Rodriguez is a young and charismatic candidate with an impressive understanding of the issues within his district.  If elected, Rodriguez would make affordable housing, job creation, and education his top priorities.  With regard to reform issues, he supports changing the voting process in order to make it more accessible.  Citing the city’s low voter turnout, Rodriguez suggested that nonpartisan elections and other changes to the voting process should be explored.  Rodriguez also supports reforming campaign finance and redistricting.  Rodriguez also supports reforming the budget process, including the creation of an Independent Budget Office and the implementation of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP).  Rodriguez realistically understands the difficulties of bringing reform to Albany and believes that building a reform coalition will be the best way forward.  Unlike his competitors, Rodriguez displayed a real concern for and grasp of reform issues and pragmatic solutions for bringing reform to Albany.  Citizens Union, however, is concerned that Rodriguez stated that he plans on continuing his career with a public finance firm if elected.  Though Rodriguez works with the governments of Connecticut and New Jersey on funding state projects which could create conflicts of interest for Rodriguez, he did ultimately acknowledge that he would need to recuse himself on matters involving New York State.  Though this issue will need to be addressed, Citizens Union believes that Rodriguez is the strongest candidate on reform and other issues in the race, and is therefore preferred.

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Marion Bell's Candidate Questionnaire
Age: 40   Occupation: Democratic District Leader
Education: Fordham University (BA); Hunter College (MSED)

Marion Bell, a former NYC public schoolteacher and two-term Democratic District Leader, cites her extensive involvement in her community as reason why she should be elected, specifically her service as an executive board member on Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer’s Community Planning Board 11 and the NYS NAACP, as well as Chair of the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development board.  With regards to reform issues, Bell supports redistricting reform conceptually but stated that redistricting was not really an issue in her district, as her district is relatively well drawn, but would explore the issue in more depth if elected.  Bell stressed that she would be an independent voice in Albany as she is not beholden to anyone other than her constituents and is not a “typical politician.”  If elected, Bell would focus on housing, education, health, and public safety within her district, because she believes that health and public safety issues troubling her district are due to the district’s low high school graduation rate that has persisted for many years.

Has not returned questionnaire
Candidate could not be scheduled for an interview


Has not returned questionnaire
Candidate could not be scheduled for an interview


Felix Rosado's Candidate Questionnaire
Candidate could not be scheduled for an interview

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John Ruiz's Candidate Questionnaire
Age: 56   Occupation: Retired
Education: N/A
Campaign website:

John Ruiz, a Democratic District Leader, former Vice-Chair of New York County Democratic Party, and retired NYC Firefighter, has been extremely active in his community as a Cub Scout Leader and a founder of both a fire safety children’s program and the Firehouse Circus.  Ruiz has little knowledge of issues related to reform, supporting an independent redistricting commission but gave no further details, and having no clear position on ethics reform.  If elected, Ruiz intends on focusing on affordable housing, education/youth programs, and constituent service, but was not able to clearly articulate policy positions on these issues.  Ruiz is a charismatic candidate who has clearly shown concern for his community through his profession as a firefighter and involvement in community groups.  However, his lack of understanding of the legislative process, reform issues, and insufficient grasp of policies, is disappointing to Citizens Union.


Evette Zayas's Candidate Questionnaire
Age: 46  Occupation: Chief-of-Staff, NYS Assemblyman Adam C. Powell
Education: Park East H.S. (high school diploma)

Evette Zayas has spent the past nine years in the office of NYS Assemblyman Adam C. Powell as a constituent liaison and ultimately serving as his chief of staff.  She believes this experience has helped Zayas to better understand the needs of her community. Making her first run for office, she emphasizes that her interest is about ensuring transparency in government and bringing much needed resources to constituents.  Regarding reform issues, Zayas supports Citizens Union's agenda on campaign finance reform, ethics reform, and budget reform.  She also supports the establishment of an independent legislative redistricting commission to draw district lines.  With regard to other issues important to her district, Zayas states that housing is an important issue, particularly the rights of tenants.  Driven by her belief in the need for people to have a voice, Zayas has been very active in her community throughout the campaign process, believing that government is a vehicle for the people and that citizens need to understand the importance of representation.  Her top five 2010 campaign goals, in addition to housing, focus on education, economic development, healthcare, and transportation.