Name: Brad Hoylman
Office Sought: New York State Senate District 27
Party Affiliation(s): Democratic, Working Families
Education: JD Harvard Law, MA Oxford University, BA West Virginia University
Occupation/Employer: State Senator for the 27th District
Previous Offices, Campaigns and Community/Civic Involvement:
State Senator Brad Hoylman, the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, represents the New York’s 27th State Senate District which covers much of the heart of Manhattan including the neighborhoods of Greenwich Village, Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen, Columbus Circle, Times Square, the Upper West Side, the East Village, Midtown East, and the Lower East Side.
Brad champions a wide range of issues, such as housing, transportation, public education, LGBTQ rights, environment and seniors. He has passed over sixty bills in the Senate, including the Child Victims Act, which enabled adult survivors of child sexual abuse to revive legal claims against their abusers; the TRUST Act, which permitted Congress to review the state taxes of elected officials like Donald Trump; GENDA, which extended human rights protections to transgender New Yorkers; and banning the practice of sexual orientation change efforts, or so-called “conversion therapy.” Brad was the lead sponsor of legislation to legalize gestational surrogacy for LGBTQ people and individuals struggling with infertility. He led the fight in the State Senate to ban flavored e-cigarettes in New York State and pass legislation that helped eliminate the toxic chemical PFAS from our drinking water. Brad has led initiatives to improve traffic safety by requiring the use of backseat seatbelts in taxis and reducing speed limits along the West Side Highway.
Brad is a longtime grassroots activist, serving previously as a Democratic District Leader and three-term chair of Manhattan Community Board 2. He is the past president of the Gay and Lesbian Independent Democrats and a former board member of Tenants & Neighbors and Citizen Action.
Please state whether you support or oppose the following reform measures. If you wish to elaborate on your answers, you may do so in the provided space at the bottom of this page.
- Replace the Joint Commission on Public Ethics and the Legislative Ethics Commission with an effective and independent enforcement body (S594A/A1282A).
- Limit outside compensation earned by state legislators and statewide officials to 25% of their salaries and eliminate stipends.
Elections and Voting
- Do you support or oppose the following changes to the state’s current registration and voting system?
- No-excuse absentee voting (second passage of constitutional amendment)
- Election Day voter registration (second passage of constitutional amendment)
- Re-enfranchisement of people on parole automatically through legislation, without requiring a Certificate of Good Conduct or Relief
- Automatic voter registration, unless the potential voter opts out
- Mandating poll sites on college campuses
- No-excuse absentee voting (second passage of constitutional amendment)
- Reform the special election process, utilizing a nonpartisan special election for state legislative seats and eliminate delays in filling vacancies.
- Reduce the vote threshold to become a registered party back to 50,000 votes and keep the gubernatorial election as the qualifying election, and reduce the petition requirement for independent candidates back to 15,000 signatures.
- Amend the state’s public campaign financing system, approved in the 2021 budget, by
- Drastically reduce campaign contribution limits
- Set even lower contribution limits for registered lobbyists and those who do business with the state
- Move the campaign finance matching program to be administered by an independent, nonpartisan body outside of the NY Board of Election
- Simplify the matching system by making both in- and out-of-district donations eligible and by eliminating the three different tiers for matching
- Drastically reduce campaign contribution limits
- Require full disclosure of grants and contracts issued by the state, including the budget lines from which the spending is made and reporting on the results of each grant or contract over a certain amount.
- Provide for effective online disclosure and itemization of spending from elected officials’ lump sum appropriations, including reporting on potential conflicts of interest and how the funds are spent.
- Repeal Civil Rights Law, Sec. 50-a, which shields from public view the disciplinary records of police officers, correction officers, and firefighters.
- Restructure the state Board of Elections to abolish the strict two-party division of governance and operation and put in place professional, nonpartisan administration.
- Empower the attorney general to investigate and prosecute election law malfeasance and cases of public corruption.
- Make mayoral control of city schools permanent, with a governance system that provides for accountability, transparency, parent engagement, and democratic participation.
- Simplify and consolidate New York State’s court system by passing the Chief Judge’s proposed constitutional amendment to modernize the courts.
If needed, you may elaborate below on your positions on the previous questions. You may also provide additional information on any actions that you have taken or plan to take to advance your positions on these issues.
RESPONDING TO THE COVID-19 OUTBREAK
Government under the COVID-19 outbreak
- Adopt technological solutions and provisions that will allow the New York State legislature to convene and vote remotely if needed.
- Provide public access to observe and participate in government proceedings, in meetings that would be public under the New York Open Meetings Law, via live and recorded video available on government Website:
- Implement immediate programs to facilitate absentee voting for all New York voters as long as the widespread contagion risk of COVID-19 continues, under current state constitutional limitations. This includes electronic submission of absentee ballot applications without a wet signature and a public information campaign.
- What are your concerns regarding the use of emergency powers during this crisis, and how do you think NY government can maintain public accountability standards at this time?
I voted in favor of giving Governor Cuomo his emergency powers, and I am still glad to have done so because I believe we would be in a far worse position in regard to public health had we not empowered the Executive to move swiftly in a crisis without precedent. That said, I believe the legislature must reassert its constitutional responsibilities and role as an oversight body and a check on the Executive moving forward, especially with regard to cuts to the state budget and a profoundly broken unemployment system at the Department of Labor. I am grateful to Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins for announcing the upcoming hearings that will provide greater insight into the State’s actions to date, and I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Senate to propose and move forward new revenue and housing protections in the weeks and months to come.
Serving the public under the COVID-19 outbreak
- What are the biggest challenges in your district in dealing with the coronavirus outbreak?
I represent the center of Manhattan in New York City, in many ways the epicenter of our state’s coronavirus pandemic, and many of its largest hospitals, including NYU Langone, Mt. Sinai, Bellevue, and Northwell. We have seen enormous challenges for the medical professionals working 24/7 to save lives and our hospitals are now depleted, both with regards to the ability of their employees to sustain this kind of pace as well as their financial resources.
I also represent one of the districts densest with restaurants and cultural institutions in New York State. Broadway, which is within my district, may not open for months and when it does, there will likely still be restrictions on density within the venues that make the finances of a production extremely challenging. Small restaurants and bars across my district, from the East Village and Greenwich Village to Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen, are telling me every day that they may not reopen ever–a huge loss to New York’s economy, its street life and its very character. And museums like the Whitney are facing enormous headwinds and the potential that they too may have to radically shrink their programming, further destroying the cultural fabric of our city and much of what has attracted new residents to come live here.
Finally, I represent one of the districts with the lowest rates of car ownership in New York because so many of my constituents rely on mass transit. The MTA is facing an unprecedented revenue shortfall and has now declared a temporary end to the 24/7 service that many New Yorkers in essential jobs rely on to get them to their shifts. We will need to be working non-stop to make sure public transit is not another casualty of this pandemic.
- What are the appropriate roles of city, state, and federal governments in a crisis such as this?
Federally Supported, State Managed, Locally Executed. Just kidding, that’s the Trump administration’s motto when they won’t offer New York the help it needs. The federal government needs to step up and provide an unprecedented relief package to New York City and State and the other localities and authorities that are running deficits and will have to make unimaginable cuts if we don’t get help. It also needs to provide New York with the supplies it needs to respond most effectively to our current predicament. Before, that was PPE and ventilators. Now, we are facing a critical shortage of reagents for the tests we need to be able to run to re-open our state effectively.
The State’s role is 1) to coordinate an effective statewide response using all the resources provided by the federal government, 2) to use all the policy and fiscal tools at its own disposal to reduce the impact of the pandemic on New Yorkers, and 3) to manage its own bureaucracy well, especially in areas like unemployment aid and public health. As State Senator, I intend to continue to work every day to make sure New Yorkers are getting the resources they deserve and the help they need.
The City’s role is to make sure that the local-level concerns of New Yorkers are still being met, and that the city’s response to the pandemic is being carried out effectively. Are the police and firefighters able to do their jobs? Are parks and streets overly crowded? Are New Yorkers getting enough food to eat, or going without? Are our students learning effectively while remote, or does something need to change? As summer approaches, where will New Yorkers who don’t have air conditioning go to get cool? There are myriad policy questions that the City must be working on right now and meeting.
- How will you help your future constituents, residents and businesses, access potential funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, or any other future government relief funds?
I believe that New York State itself must raise revenue. I will continue to fight for the passage of my pied-a-terre tax and tax on private yachts and jets. Now more than ever, those who have the most must share in the sacrifice New York is making, because our State and our City won’t come back otherwise.
I will also continue to advocate to my counterparts at the federal elected level for sufficient relief to our state and city, my constituents, and our businesses. We haven’t seen nearly enough aid come to New York.
CAMPAIGN PROMISES MADE TO VOTERS
What are the top five promises you are making to the voters during the campaign?
Campaign Promise 1
If I’m re-elected, I’ll continue to work for reform, accountability and responsible state government, which is more important than ever.
Campaign Promise 2
Campaign Promise 3
Campaign Promise 4
Campaign Promise 5
ETHICAL REPRESENTATION OF CONSTITUENTS
Citizens Union believes that all New Yorkers deserve to be represented by officials who work for the public interest and honor the public trust. With the corruption conviction of recent legislative leaders, we seek to endorse a candidate who will demonstrate that she/he will honor the full commitment of the oath of office, and always represent the public interest above all else.
Please tell us how you have and would continue to conduct the political affairs of this office in an upright manner, and maintain the public trust.
I have always regarded integrity in public office as an essential commitment to the job, which is why I have sponsored numerous reforms to limit outside income, voted to close New York’s LLC loophole, and continue to fight for good government and transparency in the city. I will continue to carry these values forward.