Senate District 11 - Democratic Primary



Age: 62

Occupation: State Senator
Education: Hunter College (BA)

Tony Avella has been a State Senator since 2010. He previously served as a member of the New York City Council from 2002 to 2009, and ran as a mayoral candidate in the 2009 Democratic primary. He describes himself as a proponent of good government who puts his principles ahead of politics.  Beyond his support for reform issues, he has sought increased state funding for parks, schools, and libraries in his district.  Avella stated that he is a lawmaker who can work across party lines in order to get bills passed, which is why he joined the Independent Democratic Caucus (IDC) this past year. He states that he was able to get several of his bills passed only after joining the IDC and its coalition with the Senate Republicans. Concerning reform issues, Avella is in support of the vast majority of Citizens Union’s reform priorities, and cited bills that he has passed as evidence that he fights to implement reform. When asked about his biggest regret, Avella points to the failure of campaign finance reform legislation in the previous session. Citizens Union prefers Avella in this race due to his longstanding commitment to reform issues and reforming government, and his independent-spirited record.




Age: 47
Education:  SUNY Binghamton (BS)

John Liu is running for State Senate to better implement progressive policies in his district.  He has been involved in city politics for many years, as a former city councilmember, former city comptroller, and mayoral candidate in the 2013 election. Liu’s top priorities are to ensure funding for public schools, such as for pre-K and after school programs, and ensure the continuation of laws such as the Scaffold Law and rent stabilization. Liu stated that he will be an effective state senator as part of the Democratic majority. He also stated that he believes reform issues such as campaign finance reform will be more likely to be enacted with a Democratic majority. When asked about the scandal concerning his campaign staff and contributions, Liu again stated that the Federal Bureau of Investigation has targeted him specifically and claimed that his situation could be applied to any other New York high-profile politician.  Liu is thoughtful on issues and has been a dedicated public servant, who Citizens Union has supported for election in the past.  We would have welcomed more clarity on how he would reform Albany beyond the strategy of forming a new Democratic majority since reform has been stalled in the senate no matter which party has controlled the senate.  Citizens Union appreciates Liu’s efforts and effectiveness in bringing more voices into the political process, and believes that he will be an effective legislator should he be elected.