Assembly District 72 - Democratic Primary 2010

AD 72 District Map

Preferred Candidate
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Guillermo Linares's Candidate Questionnaire
Age: 58 Occupation: Self-employed, Professional Consulting
Education: CCNY (BA); CCNY (MA); Fordham University (Professional Diploma);
Columbia University Teachers College (PHD)
Campaign website:

Guillermo Linares, who was the first Dominican elected to office in the United States, served in the City Council from 1991 to 2001.  When term limits resulted in his departure, he became the Commissioner of the mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs from 2003 to 2008. He left office to run for City Council in 2009, but was removed from the ballot due to a technicality after inheriting ballot petitions from Council Member Miguel Martinez who resigned his post due to criminal charges.  Linares is running for the assembly to bridge a disconnect between Albany and his constituents in upper Manhattan. In his questionnaire, he was mostly aligned with Citizens Union’s reform agenda.  Linares expressed concern about the current system of legislative redistricting because of the way it has disenfranchised certain minority groups like Dominicans.  He supports campaign finance reform and greater overall transparency in state government. He cited his work in the City Council, voting against the speaker on the budget and opposing Mayor Giuliani in approving a Pathmark grocery store in Harlem as evidence of his independence. Beyond reform, his top issues are economic development, employment and civic participation.  Linares believes that large infrastructure projects must be balanced with development of small businesses and anchor institutions such as Yeshiva University and Columbia University.  Citizens Union admires Mr. Linares’ extensive political experience, and we anticipate he would be a strong leader for his district. For these reasons, we prefer him in the primary.

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Nelson Denis's Candidate Questionnaire
Age: 55 Occupation: Attorney
Education: Harvard University (BA); Yale Law School (JD)

Nelson Denis served in the assembly representing East Harlem from 1997 to 2001, having lost his seat to Adam Clayton Powell, IV which he believes was the result of participating in a failed coup against Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. Since leaving office, he has unsuccessfully run for the City Council (2005) and state senate (2004), written and produced a film, and written many editorials on government reform issues. As the only candidate in the race with experience as a legislator, he displayed deep knowledge of policy issues.  He noted that he was the only candidate to see the culture of corruption and special interests firsthand, and take action to change it. In the area of government reform, he derided the governor’s abuse of “messages of necessity,” which expedites bills and does not allow legislators the time to carefully evaluate legislation.  Denis will support independent redistricting, and considers increased transparency of member items a major priority. To achieve these reforms, Denis stated he would harness the current anti-establishment sentiment and groundswell of support for reform. Denis stresses increasing economic opportunity, proposing to use the Community Reinvestment Act, as he did when representing East Harlem, to increase bank lending and stimulate economic growth. He will use the state pension fund as a source of investment for affordable housing.

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

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 Julissa Gomez's Candidate Questionnaire
Age: 35 Occupation: Attorney
Education: JD (name of degree-granting institution not provided)
Campaign website:

Julissa Gomez is an attorney, former president of the Dominican Bar Association, and member of Community Board 12.  A newcomer to electoral politics, Gomez cited her combination of independence and experience in the community as qualities that distinguish her from the other candidates. She supports most reform issues including independent redistricting, which she expounded on using her district as an example of the illogical, corrupt gerrymandering that occurs when the legislature draws district boundaries. Gomez opposes public campaign financing.   Her biggest priority among government reform issues is what she dubbed “petitioning fraud,” the abundance of fraudulent signatures and devious petitioning efforts, which she sees run rampant in her district. She could not offer a real solution on how to curtail these abuses. Beyond reform issues, Gomez was most passionate about strengthening affordable housing, advocating for repeal of the Urstadt Law, abolishing vacancy decontrol, examining the expirations of Mitchell Lama housing, and monitoring real estate agents to ensure they don’t discriminate against potential residents with Section 8 vouchers. Gomez is opposed to most budget-cutting, and wants the 2009 fair share tax reform to be made permanent. Gomez is a very appealing and hard-working candidate. 

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Gabriela Rosa's Candidate Questionnaire
Age: 43 Occupation: Staffer, Office of Assemblymember Herman Farrell
Education: BA (name of degree-granting institution not provided)

Gabriela Rosa has worked for ten years doing constituent services for neighboring Assemblymember Herman Farrell.  She referenced the need for the district to have a woman as representative as one of her motivations for seeking public office. She described her campaign as grassroots and community based.  She supports much of our reform agenda.  If elected, she would support independent redistricting and therefore, vote against lines drawn directly by the legislature.  Rosa is vowing not to accept contributions from landlords or their LLCs, which she identified as corporate special interests at odds with her grassroots campaign consisting of twenty-five non-paid volunteers. She is a vocal proponent of unions, and says they represent working class people, including her husband who is a member of Teamster Union 523. Her top three priorities for the district are affordable housing, education, and economic revitalization.  She is concerned that tenants and small business owners are not fully informed of their rights and are often displaced from their locations as a result. She believes in greater partnerships between the private and public sector to foster economic growth but has not outlined a specific plan to achieve this goal. She also opposes spending cuts, particularly those to education, instead favoring increased taxes on Wall Street bonuses.  Rosa is an active advocate for her community with knowledge of how government runs given her work experience.