Senate District 31 - Democratic Primary 2012



Age: 57
Senator, NYS Senate
Queens College (BA)

State Senator Espaillat is running for reelection, having first been elected to the State Assembly in 1996, and then to the state senate in 2010. He is running again because he would like to continue to champion causes, such as increased minimum wage, affordable housing and the DREAM Act. Espaillat has been a consistent supporter of Citizens Union’s reform agenda, in particular independent redistricting. He would vote in favor of second passage of the redistricting constitutional amendment, and supports a state campaign finance system with public matching funds modeled on the city’s program. Having personally experienced problems in election administration, he has put forth proposals to reform the boards of election. Regarding issues of importance to his district, he supports the DREAM Act that would allow immigrants to be eligible for financial aid, but also supports creating a fund for tuition assistance for immigrants that gives private sector contributors tax credits. Espaillat also supports increasing the minimum wage, believing that New York State workers do not earn enough money. He believes that he is an independent voice, having supported unpopular issues in the past, such as congestion pricing, and having opposed the West Side Stadium. Citizens Union believes that Senator Espaillat has been an effective and thoughtful representative, and is an important voice for reform. Given Espaillat’s continued vocal commitment to reform issues that resulted in our support for his election two years ago, Citizens Union prefers his candidacy.



Age: 60
Member, NYS Assembly

Education:  City College (BA); City College (MS); Teachers College, Columbia University (PhD)

Assemblymember Linares is running for state senate after being elected to Assembly District 72 in 2010. He has a long history of public service, having previously served as Commissioner of Immigrant Affairs in New York City, and as a New York City Councilmember from 1991 to 2003. Linares is running for state senate believing that he has the bridge-building skills to advocate effectively for issues of importance to his community. Linares believes that the successful passage of his livery cab legislation demonstrates his ability to work across the aisle. He supports Citizens Union’s reform agenda, including campaign finance reform and redistricting reform. As a member of the City Council, he worked to strengthen the city’s campaign finance system with increased public matching funds. Linares also supports making the position of state legislator full time. Regarding other issues of importance to his district, he supports passage of the DREAM Act in New York, and is the prime sponsor of the legislation in the Assembly. While Citizens Union believes that Guillermo Linares is an effective representative for his community in his current capacity as an Assemblymember and has supported his earlier runs for elected office, we believe that Espaillat’s vocal commitment to reform issues, including having introduced his own reform legislation, is solid and continues to merit our continued support.