Senate District 31 - Democratic Primary 2010

SD 31 District Map


Preferred Candidate

(photo from NYS Assembly)


Adriano Espaillat's Candidate Questionnaire

Age: 55 Occupation: Member, NYS Assembly

Education: Queens College (BA)

After being elected as the first Dominican American to state office in the United States and serving in the assembly since 1996, Adriano Espaillat is now running for Senate in the 31st district.  With regard to reform issues, Espaillat supports strengthening campaign finance rules and creating a publicly funded system.  Espaillat also backs the use of a conference committee process, which he believes would provide an open forum for both houses of the legislature to find common ground.  He does believe that all outside income should be declared, but was ambiguous on how specific and rigorous this declaration process would have to be for clients.  Most important to Espaillat is redistricting, as it was the proper redistricting of Assembly District 72 that originally allowed him to be elected.  He cites his support of the assembly’s redistricting bill even when he was chair of LATFOR as proof that this is an issue to which he is strongly committed. Espaillat believes that the state legislature should be a full-time position, but that the salary should be raised.  Although Espaillat wants to be a voice for reform in the Senate, he realizes he cannot do it alone, believing that he will be a consensus builder.  Beyond reform, if elected, Espaillat would make affordable housing, jobs, and education his top three priorities. Espaillat is clearly an experienced and capable elected official who has proven that he can represent his constituents and be a leader in the legislature.  In preferring Espaillat, Citizens Union believes he will be a reform-minded legislator moving to a bigger stage to help lead the fight to change Albany.  He has the skills and experience necessary to be a very effective senator representing this very diverse district.

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Mark Levine's Candidate Questionnaire

Age: 41 Occupation: Executive Director, Center for After-School Excellence

Education: Haverford College (BA); Harvard University (MA)

Campaign website:

After unsuccessfully running for City Council District 7 in 2001 as the Citizens Union preferred candidate, Mark Levine is now running for State Senate in the 31st district.  Levine is currently the Executive Director for the Center for After-School Excellence and is also a District Leader for northern Manhattan.  Levine is running for office because he believes that the current government in Albany is incapable of delivering for the people and must be reformed.  He strongly supports many of the Citizens Union reform issues.  For example, if elected, he promises to personally reject lulus if reforms are not enacted.  He also believes that every district should receive the same amount of member items funding but acknowledges he will accept and lobby for pork if the process does not change.  Levine also supports reform measures like an independent ethics commission, independent budget office, and an independent redistricting commission.  When asked how he would achieve these reforms in Albany, Mr. Levine stressed that public opinion would provide the necessary momentum to challenge party leaders on reform.  He also stressed his relationship with current reform-minded legislators who he believes he can form coalitions with.   Regarding his plan to cut the deficit, Levine provided a comprehensive and detailed list of possible solutions including a more progressive tax rate, a 5th pension tier for new state workers, implementing a soda tax, selling wine at grocery stores, reinstituting the commuter tax, tolling East River Bridges (though not the Harlem River Bridges), and some form of taxes linked to traffic congestion.  Levine is clearly a reform candidate, has deep connections within his district, and broad support among potential voters.  CU was also impressed by Levine’s extensive knowledge of the issues affecting his district and his detailed and pragmatic plan for achieving reform in Albany.  Should he be elected, he would make an effective legislator.

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Miosotis Munoz's Candidate Questionnaire

Age: 41 Occupation: Self-employed, community relations

Education: Fordham University (BA)

Campaign website:

Miosotis Munoz is a self-employed community relations consultant and former Director of Dominican Affairs for Congressman Charles B. Rangel who is running for office because the pace of needed change has been too slow.  If elected, improving access to healthcare, reforming immigration policy, and making transportation more accessible, especially for seniors, would be her main priorities.  With regard to reform issues, Munoz is a strong supporter of lobbying reform.  She also backs reforming the member item process to make it more transparent.  Additionally, Munoz supports redistricting reform citing her own district as proof that the current system does not function properly.  Munoz stated that she has already reached out to members of the Senate including Jose Peralta to discuss plans to achieve her reform goals.  She further believes that she can bridge the cultural and ethnic divides that she thinks fetter efforts for consensus and progress.  Munoz is an energetic candidate who appears to understand the need for reform.  Munoz is an exciting newcomer to the political arena but Citizens Union believes that she is not the best candidate in this race.

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Anna Lewis's Candidate Questionnaire

Age: 51 Occupation: Attorney, New York State Health Dept.

Education: Stony Brook University (BA); New York Law School (JD)

Campaign website:

After unsuccessfully running for both City Council in 2001 and Civil Court Judge in 2009, Anna Lewis is running for State Senate for the 31st district.  She is currently a prosecutor for the New York State Health Department.  Ms. Lewis is running for senate because she has a strong desire to help people, which also influenced her career choice in law and involvement in many civic organizations throughout her adult life.  One of her top priorities, if elected to office, is to increase affordable housing, especially in her district.  She supports, for example, increasing the amount of affordable housing developers are required to build from 20 percent to 40 percent in order to receive tax credits as well as building more Mitchell-Lama housing.  Affordable healthcare is another issue of particular importance to Lewis, in part because she has Type 1 diabetes and has been active in diabetes issues and education in the City.  She supports a public option for the State and also suggests that the City of New York (in a public-private partnership) support medical-van program throughout the City that would provide basic medical services.  Fixing the state’s infrastructure is another top priority for Lewis which she believes will invigorate the economy and provide jobs for the unemployed.  To reduce the State’s deficit, Lewis proposes controlling the pension system, eliminating waste, reinstituting the commuter tax, restructuring the tax structure, and furloughs for state employees.  Lewis supports many Citizens Union reforms in the area of ethics, budgeting, and redistricting.