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★ Preferred Candidate ★

Melissa Sklarz – Dem
Candidate has returned a questionnaire
Age: 67
Occupation: Former Director of Development at the Transgender Legal Defense Education Fund Education: SUNY Buffalo, B.A.

Melissa Sklarz is the former director of development at the Transgender Legal Defense Education Fund and is a life-long LGBTQ advocate. Her top priorities are creating a single-payer healthcare system in New York, passing gender equality and reproductive healthcare legislation, making affordable housing more accessible, securing more funding for public education and transportation. Sklarz supports all of Citizens Union’s reform goals. In particular, she supports measures to limit outside compensation of legislators, closing the LLC loophole, and reforming JCOPE. In an interview with Citizens Union, she spoke knowledgably about state campaign finance laws and supported measures like a public matching funds program for state campaigns, lower contribution limits, and stronger conflict of interest rules. When asked about her plans to advance civil rights and criminal justice reform, she articulated her support for making police disciplinary records publicly available, and codifying the automatic re-enfranchisement of people on parole. Citizens Union prefers Melissa Sklarz in this race because of her strong support for good government reforms and the belief that she would be an energetic advocate for her causes.

Brian Barnwell – Dem
Candidate has returned a questionnaire
Age: 32
Occupation: New York State Assembly Member Education: Arizona State University, B.A.; Albany Law School, J.D.

Brian Barnwell has represented the 30th Assembly District since 2017, when he defeated longtime incumbent Margaret Markey. Barnwell’s top priorities include adjusting the affordability requirements to improve housing options, lowering property taxes for seniors, getting rid of major capital improvements, which he believes landlords are abusing, pushing for ethics and election law reform, and securing more education funding. Barnwell supports closing the LLC loophole, an issue which he has campaigned on and supported legislatively. He is in favor of term limits and banning outside compensation for legislators. Unlike his opponent, he did not take a position on codifying the re-enfranchisement of people on parole. Citizens Union does not support Assembly Member Barnwell in this race due to his lack of detailed understanding of certain key reform issues and concerns over his approach to sensitive matters like homelessness in his district.

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