NYC COUNCIL DISTRICT 1

Democratic Party

★ Preferred Candidate - Margaret Chin – Dem ★

Questionnaire

Age: 64 Occupation: NYC Council Member, District 1
Education: City College of New York, B.A.

Margaret Chin was elected to the New York City Council in 2010, after a career in education and as the deputy executive director of Asian Americans for Equality. Her top priorities are to create and preserve affordable housing and strengthen tenant protections; increase funding for senior services; increase public notification and transparency in the land use decision-making process; and create mechanisms to increase transparency and ensure the timely completion of capital projects. Chin expressed support for nearly all of Citizen Union’s reform goals, but she is opposed to holding a Constitutional Convention. During her time as a Council Member, Chin has worked on numerous issues such as expanding paid sick leave and the NYC Rent Freeze Program. She is the Chair of the Council’s Committee on Aging and Co-Vice Chair of the Black, Latino, and Asian Caucus, and is a member of the Progressive Caucus. Citizens Union prefers Chin in this race because of her commitment to government transparency, her demonstrated tenacity in the Council and her dedication to key issues impacting her district.

Campaign Website

Christopher Marte – Dem

Questionnaire

Age: 28 Occupation: Full-time Candidate
Education: Long Island University Global, B.A.

Christopher Marte is a financial analyst and legal researcher and is a founding member of the Residential Green Committee of NYCHA’s LES Infill 1 and 2. His top priorities are to improve communication between residents and the Council Member through regular town hall meetings; create “community-based” zoning policies to prevent overdevelopment; implement participatory budgeting; enact policy to empower small businesses in lease negotiations, and implement waterfront resiliency measures. Like the incumbent, Marte expressed support for almost all of Citizen Union’s reform goals, except for holding a Constitutional Convention. Citizens Union found Marte to be an intelligent, involved, and committed community advocate, but does not prefer him because of his relative lack of experience working with city government when compared to the able incumbent.

Campaign Website

Aaron Foldenauer – Dem

Has not returned questionnaire

Dashia Imperiale – Dem

Has not returned questionnaire

★ Preferred Candidate - Carlina Rivera – Dem ★

Questionnaire

Age: 33 Occupation: Full-time Candidate
Education: Marist College, B.A.

Carlina Rivera is a former Legislative Director for Council Member Rosie Mendez, representing District 2, where she started in 2015. She has served as a Democratic District Leader and the Director of Programs and Services at Good Old Lower East Side, Inc. (GOLES), which is a community-based and member-led housing preservation organization. Rivera’s top priority issues are affordable housing, senior citizen services, better-funded public education, after-school programs and job opportunities for youth, and assistances for small local businesses. Rivera has expressed support for a  range of Citizens Union advocacy goals, emphasizing community board and budget reform as the areas where she is most aligned with Citizens Union. On her questionnaire, Rivera supported every reform measure except holding a Constitutional Convention. Citizens Union prefers Carlina Rivera because she is the candidate with the broadest knowledge of issues in the district, has significant legislative experience relative to her opponents, and will be a champion of Citizens Union’s reform priorities in the Council.

Campaign Website

Ronnie Cho – Dem

Questionnaire

Age: 34 Occupation: Vice President and Head of Public Affairs at MTV
Education: Arizona State University

Ronnie Cho is currently the Vice President and Head of Public Affairs at MTV, and has previously served at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Cho’s priorities are improving NYCHA services, advancing a single-payer health care system, supporting public schools, funding transportation solutions, and assisting small businesses. He is aligned with a number of Citizens Union issues but deviates on a few reform measures that Citizens Union supports: requiring laws enacted by referendum only be changed through approval by the voters, enhancing the Civilian Complaint Review Board’s authority to initiate investigations without a formal complaint, and holding a Constitutional Convention. Citizens Union does not prefer Cho because of his relatively limited experience in the district and a belief that his opponent will be a more effective reformer in the Council.

Campaign Website

Erin Hussein – Dem

Questionnaire 

Age: 47 Occupation: Writer/Filmmaker
Education: Columbia College, B.A.; Columbia Law School, J.D.

Erin Hussein is a writer and filmmaker and has served as President and on the Board of Directors for Stewart Tenant’s Corp and the Central Village Coop Alliance. Hussein’s priorities include passing the Small Business Jobs Survival Act and commercial rent tax reform, promoting housing preservation in her district, and supporting school desegregation, among others. Hussein emphasized campaign finance reform as the most important reform issue to her and spoke about the continued need to make elections cheaper and more accessible for candidates. While Erin Hussein is a committed and passionate advocate in her community and a champion of Citizens Union’s reform agenda, Citizens Union supports her opponent in this race.

Campaign Website

Mary Silver – Dem

Questionnaire

Age: 58 Occupation: Attorney
Education: Hofstra University, B.A.; New York University, J.D., Ph.D.

Mary Silver is an attorney and education advocate. Silver has served for six years as an elected member and officer of the Community Education Council for New York City School District 2 and is an appointed member of Community Board. Silver’s top priorities include reducing public school class sizes, desegregating public schools, and promoting affordable housing, among other issues. Silver has stated that campaign finance reform
and improving ballot access are the most important reform issues to her. She supports nearly all of Citizens Union’s reform goals except for extending term limits from two to three four-year terms and holding a Constitutional Convention. Despite being impressed by her commitment to educational reform, Citizens Union does not prefer Mary Silver.

Campaign Website

Jasmin Sanchez – Dem

Has not returned questionnaire

Jorge L. Vasquez – Dem

Has not returned a questionnaire

NYC COUNCIL DISTRICT 4

Democratic Primary

★ Preferred Candidate - Keith Powers - Dem ★

Questionnaire

Age: 33 Occupation: Full-time Candidate
Education: University of Dayton, B.A.; CUNY Graduate Center, M.A.

Keith Powers is a former Vice President at Constantinople & Vallone Consulting L.L.C., a lobbying firm in New York City and State. He has worked as a campaign manager for state Senator Liz Krueger and a chief of staff for Assembly Member Jonathan Bing. Powers’ top priorities are protecting and creating affordable housing; improving public education in terms of funding, diversity, and quality; and fixing public transportation’s functionality and affordability. Powers is the only candidate in the race to include a detailed plan for reforming city government as part of his platform. His “Sunlight in the City” agenda includes reforms to campaign finance, budget allocations, voting and elections, Council operations, and new restrictions on lobbyist activity. In addressing his own work as a lobbyist, he has pledged to disclose his former client list, refrain from contact with former clients or the firm, and to seek an advisory opinion on the matter from the Conflict of Interest Board, which he will make public. Although this primary race features several highly qualified candidates, Citizens Union prefers Powers due to his ambitious and wide-ranging reform agenda and believes his knowledge of city government and deep familiarity with the constituency will make him an excellent representative of District 4.

Campaign Website

Alec Hartman - Dem

Has not returned questionnaire

Barry Shapiro - Dem

Questionnaire

Candidate could not be scheduled for an interview.

NYC COUNCIL DISTRICT 6

Democratic Primary

★ Preferred Candidate - Helen Rosenthal - Dem ★

Questionnaire

Age: 56 Occupation: NYC Council Member, District 6
Education: Michigan State University, B.A.; Yale University, M.P.H.

Helen Rosenthal was elected to the New York City Council in 2013 and is currently seeking reelection. Before her election to the Council, Rosenthal served on Community Board 7 for several years, including as Chair and she served as the Assistant Director of the New York City Office of Management and Budget under Mayors Koch, Dinkins, and Giuliani. Rosenthal’s top priorities are protecting affordable housing through the Stand for Tenant Safety legislative package, addressing the underfunding of human service workers, integrating schools, and reforming energy codes to increase sustainable energy in New York City. Regarding Citizens Union’s issues, Rosenthal supports filling community board vacancies within 30 days and establishing a formal standardized and transparent process for community board appointments. She also supports Citizen Union’s voting and election reform measures and wants to offer same-day voter registration and early voting options for New Yorkers. Rosenthal does not support extending Council term limits or holding a Constitutional Convention. Citizens Union prefers Rosenthal, finding her to be an effective councilmember who advocates strongly on a wide range of issues in City Hall, and who supports many of Citizens Union’s key reform platforms.

Campaign Website

Cary Goodman - Dem

Questionnaire

Age: 66 Occupation: Executive Director of the 161st Street Business Improvement District
Education: Colgate University, B.A.; Teacher’s College of Columbia University, M.A.; Union Institute and University, Ph.D.

Cary Goodman is the Executive Director of the 161st Street Business Improvement District, and previously taught in New York public schools. Goodman’s top priority issue is preventing the expansion of the Museum of Natural History into Theodore Roosevelt Park. Goodman favors increasing transparency in government and seeking out community input in more direct ways, especially regarding the museum expansion. Goodman opposes a
number of Citizens Union’s reform policies, including giving Council committees the ability to issue subpoenas by a vote of their members, and a number of police accountability reforms. Citizens Union prefers one of his opponents because Goodman has too narrow a focus on the museum expansion issue and lack of sensitivity to other reform areas.

Campaign Website

Mel Wymore - Dem

Questionnaire

Age: 55 Occupation: Writer, Executive Director of TransPAC
Education: University of Arizona, M.S.

Mel Wymore is a long-time community organizer and the Executive Director of TransPAC, a political action committee dedicated to achieving full and equal rights for transgender people. He was also recently Executive Director of IOTA, a consulting firm for small businesses, non-profits, and government agencies. Wymore has served as a two-term Chair of Community Board 7, Chair at the West Side Y, and Chair of the Ethical Cultural Fieldston School PTA. Wymore’s priority issues are to restrict as-of-right development by requiring public review and disclosure of all sales of air rights and lot mergers, supporting small businesses, and pushing for a comprehensive citywide school desegregation plan. Regarding Citizens Union priorities, Wymore supports expanding the public matching funds program and establishing the Commission to Combat Police Corruption as a permanent commission in the City Charter. Wymore opposes establishing independent budgeting for the borough presidents, the Conflicts of Interest Board, Public Advocate and community boards, extending term limits, and holding a Constitutional Convention. While impressed with Wymore’s long standing commitment to his community and knowledge of city politics, and though Citizens Union preferred him in 2013 for this seat, we find his opponent, Helen Rosenthal, to be an effective representative of her district currently, and a thoughtful reformer in the Council.

Campaign Website

NYC COUNCIL DISTRICT 7

Democratic Primary

★ Preferred Candidate - Mark Levine – DEM ★

Questionnaire

Age: 48 Occupation: NYC Council Member, District 7
Education: Haverford College, B.A.; Harvard University, M.A.

Mark Levine was elected to the New York City Council in 2013 and serves as the Chair of the Committee on Parks and Recreation and as a member of Committees on Education, Finance, Governmental Operations, Housing and Buildings, and Rules, Privileges, and Elections. Levine considers affordable housing to be the most important issue the city and his district face, from defending current tenants to developing new projects. He also stresses greater equity for low- and moderate-income communities in terms of access to public resources. On reform issues, he stresses the importance of police accountability (he cosponsored the Right to Know Act) and campaign finance rules regulating activity surrounding the Speaker’s race. He did not indicate his position on empowering the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) to prosecute officers found guilty of lying during CCRB investigations and making all actions designed to influence Council outcomes, including the choice of Speaker, reportable as a lobbying expense. He is opposed to holding a Constitutional Convention. Citizens Union prefers Levine in this race because of his positive vision for his district and for the city, and the contributions to reform that he has already made in office. His support for reform issues has been consistent, with disagreements discussed reasonably and adequately.

Campaign Website

NYC COUNCIL DISTRICT 8

Democratic Primary

Tamika Mapp - Dem

Questionnaire

Age:41 Occupation: East Harlem Tax Service, Self-Employed
Education: Kaplan University, B.A.

Tamika Mapp is an entrepreneur and president of East Harlem Tax Service. Mapp’s priority issues are wage equality and raising the minimum wage, expanding services for immigrants, and family court reform. As for Citizens Union issues, Mapp is a proponent of police accountability reforms and is against allowing public funds to be used to pay political consultants. She does not, however, support a Constitutional Convention. The organization was not able to interview other candidates in this race and, as a result, has not issued any preference for Council District 8.

Campaign Website

Diana Ayala - Dem

Questionnaire

Candidate declined to be scheduled for an interview.

Isabel Martinez – Dem

Has not returned questionnaire.

Robert J. Rodriguez - Dem

Has not returned questionnaire.

NYC COUNCIL DISTRICT 9

Democratic Primary

Tyson-Lord Gray - Dem

Questionnaire 

Age: 37 Occupation: Professor at Pace University
Education: Boston University, S.T.M.; Vanderbilt University, Ph.D.; Pace University Elisabeth Haub School of Law, J.D.; Morehouse School of Religion, M.Div.

Tyson-Lord Gray is currently a professor at Pace University and provides pro bono services through the Legal Aid Society in New York City. In addition, Gray is involved in a number of Harlem-based social justice and advocacy organizations and is the founder of Green Community Vision, Inc., a nonprofit aimed at increasing awareness about environmental justice in Harlem. Gray’s top priorities include mitigating rising rent and cost of living in Harlem, pushing for greater funding for public schools, and addressing food insecurity in the district. When it comes to reform issues, Gray is especially supportive of election reform including measures to make it easier to vote and get on the ballot. Gray also opposes some of Citizens Union’s issues, including greater disclosure of council members’ outside income and making all actions designed to influence any City Council outcome, including the choice of Speaker, reportable as a lobbying expense. He also did not indicate his position on a number of issues, but is among a minority of candidates who supports holding a Constitutional Convention. While Citizens Union was very impressed with his knowledge of and sensitivity toward important issues and with his demonstrable competence in a number of fields, Citizens Union has decided not to prefer Gray because of his relative lack of recognition in the district compared to his competitors.

Campaign Website

Bill Perkins – Dem

Questionnaire

Age: 68 Occupation: NYC Council Member, District 9
Education: Brown University, B.A.

Bill Perkins has represented District 9 in the Council since a special election in February to fill the seat vacated by Inez Dickens, who was elected to the state Assembly last year. Perkins held the same office from 1998 to 2005, and from 2007 to 2017 he served in the state Senate representing the 30th district, covering much of the same area. Perkins’ top priorities are improving public schools, protecting affordable housing, enacting police and jail reform, and protecting immigrants. When interviewed by Citizens Union, however, he failed to provide sufficient detail on his approach to a number of these issues. When it comes to Citizens Union issues, Perkins recognizes the importance of fighting the “pay-to-play” culture in city politics and has said the matching funding program is a big step forward on this issue. However, Perkins does not support establishing a nonpartisan, top-two primary system, instituting Instant Runoff Voting for all citywide offices and for all special elections for city offices, and opposes holding a Constitutional Convention. Citizens Union commends Perkins’s public service in the Council and state Senate but does not prefer him in this race because of his lack of specificity on a number of issues and because of what has become a revolving door of representation in the district, between City Hall and Albany.

Campaign Website

Cordell Cleare – Dem

Candidate could not be reached.

Marvin Holland – Dem

Has not returned questionnaire.

Marvin Spruill – Dem

Has not returned questionnaire.

Julius Tajiddin – Dem

Candidate could not be reached.