Assembly District 71 - Democratic Primary

AD 71 District Map


(photo from NYS Assembly website)
Denny Farrell's Candidate Questionnaire
Age: 78  Occupation: Member, New York State Assembly
Education: N/A
Assembly website:

With 36 years of experience in the State Assembly, Herman Farrell is seeking re-election. As chair of the Assembly Ways and Means Committee, Farrell is one of the most powerful legislators in Albany. He strongly defended the legislature’s performance under Democratic leadership.  On reform issues, Farrell is opposed to many reform measures:  he is opposed to lowering the signature requirement for petitioning, applying GAAP to the state budget process, and opposes independent redistricting, stating that the current system has worked for Democrats. Mr. Farrell also believes election-day registration (EDR) may aid fraud, though he is not opposed to the idea in principle. He voted in favor of, for the purpose of redistricting, that prisoners be counted in their place of residence prior to incarceration rather than their place of imprisonment. On other issues, he adamantly opposed the recent proposal that would have allowed State University of New York (SUNY) colleges to set tuition rates above the cap set by legislators. Farrell’s characterization of the state Assembly’s performance as "superb" shows his lack of appreciation for New Yorkers’ urgent calls for reform.

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Ariel Ferreira's Candidate Questionnaire
Age: 26 Occupation: CEO/Consultant of Expansion Group 
Education: High School Diploma

A former legislative and budget director for the City Council, this is Ariel Ferreira’s first campaign for elected office.  Ferreira was born and raised in the district and is running to give the incumbent, Assemblymember Denny Farrell, his first primary challenge in 18 years. As a young candidate, he supports reaching out to young voters, and therefore has paid visits on his campaign to CUNY students. Ferreira supports the majority of Citizens Union’s reform agenda, and was particularly passionate about the need for a public matching fund system for campaign finance at the state level.  He supports measures to make the budget process more transparent. He favors creating an independent redistricting commission. Ferreira opposes reducing the number of requisite signatures for ballot petitions to below 500, as he said candidates should have to prove they are serious through petitioning, proposing instead that petitioning cover sheet rules should be revised to prevent candidates from being kicked off the ballot for technicalities. Beyond reform, Mr. Ferreira’s top three priorities are protecting affordable housing, reducing unemployment, and promoting small businesses. On affordable housing, he stated he would protect tenants from landlords’ harassment and work to close a loophole in Mitchell Lama housing whereby building owners can opt out of certain regulations. He also stated he would initiate job training programs to stem unemployment. He opposes education cuts, and will support charter schools to an extent, with the caveat that they not be housed in the same facility as regular public schools. Citizens Union admires his decision to run in this race, and believes that he is a very reform-minded candidate whose campaign faces many challenges to defeat an entrenched incumbent.