Brad Hoylman, Democrat and Working Families
What three things do you most want to get done in the state legislature during the next two years?
My top priorities for the next legislative session are passing comprehensive ethics reforms to restore public confidence in Albany (including my bill to ban legislators’ secret outside income), improving efforts to protect our drinking water and fight human-induced climate change, winning necessary laws for the LGBT community that have languished under the Republicans in the Senate (including my bill to ban so-called gay “conversion therapy”), and reforming New York’s outdated statutes of limitation for crimes of child sexual abuse (currently a victim has a to file a claim by the age of 23 or has no legal recourse). I also hope to strengthen our rent laws to protect tenants and improve our state budget process so we can better fund our public schools, mass transit and programs to protect homeless kids, seniors and the most vulnerable.
Do you think you will be able to work with the opposition party? How?
The Senate Democratic Conference, which I belong to, has a real shot at winning the majority in the New York State Senate this November, so I may well be working with the Senate Republicans as the minority party. Regardless of how this election turns out, I’ll continue to work with the Republicans, as I’ve done in the past. I believe compromise and a healthy opposition can be good for our democracy. As a member of the minority, I’ve worked with Republicans to pass bills, for example, to expand access to meningitis vaccinations, aid non-English speaking domestic violence victims and to facilitate the designation of the new Stonewall national landmark.
What is your favorite TV show? And why?
I’d have to say “Transparent” because it’s current, moving and funny all at the same time – although I’m not a snob when it comes to TV. Truthfully, it’s hard to beat any reality show on Bravo for sheer entertainment value.
Stephen Roberts, Roberts Party
Pass new middle income housing legislation to start construction of 250,000 new units. New York City, Long Island and Westchester are all in a housing crisis. It is time to work together to pass a 21st-century“Mitchell-Lama” type of program to help address this critical issue. Without a strong middle class in New York, our economy is at risk. Legalize, tax, and regulate recreational marijuana. This will help bring in $1.2 to $1.5 billion of new revenue to help pay for single payer universal health care. It also ends the projects to prisons pipeline. Start to clean up Albany. We have sent 33 elected legislators to jail since 2000. We need to pass strong ethics reform, including lowering the limits that a candidate can receive for a campaign to no more than $1,000 per contributor, and lowering total contributions allowed by PACS to all candidates.
As a rabbi and chaplain, I have spent my professional career working with leaders from across the various faith traditions in the U.S. I was part of a small writing group that created national standards for providing disaster spiritual care. These standards were agreed to as self-binding by diverse faith communities including, Southern Baptist, Roman Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Mormon, and the full spectrum of Protestant Christians. Similar to the way I have worked with the full spectrum of religions in the U.S. helping them to come together for a common good, I know that I will be able to work with elected officials in both parties. As the first person elected to the NYS Senate without a party, a true independent, I will work with all to address the most pressing issues which NY faces, such as the middle income housing crisis, ethics reform and single payer universal health care.
“Star Trek,” through the various series, continues to show humanity at its best. It shows what can be accomplished when all of us work together for the common good, and when people are respected and valued for their talents, not what they look like or how they speak.