Senate District 18 - Democratic Primary
Age: 47 Occupation: Attorney, Law Office of Mark Pollard
Education: State University of New York College at Purchase (BA);
State University of New York at Buffalo Law School (JD)
Mark Pollard, who is engaging in his third campaign for office, is an attorney and a college professor. Pollard has fulfilled his desire to work in the area of civil rights and as an assistant district attorney, but believes he could do more as a state senator. The major issues Pollard would focus on if elected are education, responsible economic development, and reducing crime. Pollard believes that he can bring the police and community together, having been on both sides of conversations related to crime reduction and instilling public confidence. Regarding the Atlantic Yards development, Pollard proposed dedicating staff to monitor the ongoing project to ensure promises to the community are realized. On reform issues, Pollard enthusiastically supports the creation of an independent redistricting commission. Pollard also spoke about the importance of reforming campaign finance and access to the ballot. Pollard intends to be a full-time legislator. Citizens Union was impressed with Pollard’s approach, believing that though he lacks experience as a legislator, he has the right temperament to be effective. His knowledge of how the system works and his enthusiastic support for our reform agenda results in our preference for his candidacy in this race.
(photo from blogs.villagevoice.com)
VELMANETTE MONTGOMERY – DEM
Velmanette Montgomery's Candidate Questionnaire
Age: N/A Occupation: Senator, NYS Senate
Senate website: http://www.nysenate.gov/senator/velmanette-montgomery
Elected to the State Senate in 1984, Velmanette Montgomery is chair of the Committee on Children and Families. Montgomery spoke at great length of her interest in supporting seniors and young people in her district, especially in the area of juvenile justice, as her main legislative priority. Montgomery spoke of her effort to pass a bill that would allow parents who are incarcerated to maintain their relationship with their parents. She also noted her work on reforming the Rockefeller drug laws, and her focus on the issue of HIV and AIDS in her district. Regarding reform issues, Montgomery supports an independent redistricting commission, but refused to commit to vote against bills insufficient in adequately reforming the redistricting process. Her noncommittal approach is based in part on her belief that Republican legislators will need to support a redistricting bill for it to pass the Senate. Montgomery also opposes equal distribution of member items between legislators because she believes it will result in fewer dollars for nonprofits in her district that rely on the money to run their programs. Citizens Union is impressed by Montgomery’s dedication to specific issues that affect her district; however, we are not sufficiently convinced that after 25 years in office that reform is among her important priorities.