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Name:  Jeffrey  Dinowitz
Office Sought: New York State Assembly District 81
Party Affiliation(s): Democratic
Age: 65
Education: JD, Brooklyn Law School; BA, Herbert H. Lehman College
Occupation/Employer: Assemblyman
Previous Offices, Campaigns and Community/Civic Involvement:
I’ve have been an Assembly Member since 1994.
Website:  jeffreydinowitz.com
Twitter:  @jeffreydinowitz
Facebook:   @JeffreyDinowitz

 

CANDIDATE QUESTIONS

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.

 

Ethics

  1. Replace the Joint Commission on Public Ethics and the Legislative Ethics Commission with an effective and independent enforcement body (S594A/A1282A).
    Support
  1. Limit outside compensation earned by state legislators and statewide officials to 25% of their salaries and eliminate stipends.
    Oppose

 

Elections and Voting

  1. Do you support or oppose the following changes to the state’s current registration and voting system?
    1. No-excuse absentee voting (second passage of constitutional amendment)
      Support
    2. Election Day voter registration (second passage of constitutional amendment)
      Support
    3. Re-enfranchisement of people on parole automatically through legislation, without requiring a Certificate of Good Conduct or Relief
      Support
    4. Automatic voter registration, unless the potential voter opts out
      Support
    5. Mandating poll sites on college campuses
      Support
  1. Reform the special election process, utilizing a nonpartisan special election for state legislative seats and eliminate delays in filling vacancies.
    Oppose
  1. 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.
    Oppose

 

Campaign Finance

  1. Amend the state’s public campaign financing system, approved in the 2021 budget, by
    1. Drastically reduce campaign contribution limits
      Support
    2. Set even lower contribution limits for registered lobbyists and those who do business with the state
      Support
    3. Move the campaign finance matching program to be administered by an independent, nonpartisan body outside of the NY Board of Election
      Support
    4. Simplify the matching system by making both in- and out-of-district donations eligible and by eliminating the three different tiers for matching
      Oppose

 

Budget Process

  1. 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.
    Support
  1. 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.
    Support

 

Police Accountability

  1. Repeal Civil Rights Law, Sec. 50-a, which shields from public view the disciplinary records of police officers, correction officers, and firefighters.
    Oppose

 

Election Administration

  1. Restructure the state Board of Elections to abolish the strict two-party division of governance and operation and put in place professional, nonpartisan administration.
    Oppose
  1. Empower the attorney general to investigate and prosecute election law malfeasance and cases of public corruption.
    Support

 

Home Rule

  1. Make mayoral control of city schools permanent, with a governance system that provides for accountability, transparency, parent engagement, and democratic participation.
    Support

 

Court Reform

  1. Simplify and consolidate New York State’s court system by passing the Chief Judge’s proposed constitutional amendment to modernize the courts.
    Oppose

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.

I would support modifications to 50-a.

I support simplification and some consolidation of the court system, but I do not support the Chief Judge’s amendment as is.

 

RESPONDING TO THE COVID-19 OUTBREAK

Government under the COVID-19 outbreak

  1. Adopt technological solutions and provisions that will allow the New York State legislature to convene and vote remotely if needed.
    Support
  1. 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:
    Support
  1. 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.
    Support
  1. 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?
    The Governor has been given very broad powers during this crisis. It is vital that his use of these powers be carefully monitored by the Legislature and the press and that they be removed as soon as the crisis is over. Since this pandemic may last a much longer time than any of us would want or realize, the Legislature has the power to restrict or remove these extraordinary powers of the Governor if appropriate.

 

Serving the public under the COVID-19 outbreak

  1. What are the biggest challenges in your district in dealing with the coronavirus outbreak?
    My office has been working extremely efficiently and actively during this crisis, but some things have to be done in person. For example, we have been involved in making sure meals get delivered to eligible seniors and others.

    Not everything can be done over the internet or with a Zoom meeting. The people with the greatest challenges are often the people least likely to have access to the internet, including seniors and those less well off economically. So, we really have to do everything possible to make sure that everyone gets what they need and to which they’re entitled.

  1. What are the appropriate roles of city, state, and federal governments in a crisis such as this?
    I think everyone at every level of government should be involved in every way that they can to help people. There has obviously been a massive failure on the part of the Trump administration resulting in crushing burdens on the state and localities. All of our representatives on every level as well as the Governor and the Mayor must fight, as they have been, for every dollar and every resource and be guided by medical experts and science in making decisions.
  1. 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?
    My office has been doing just that from day one. We are in constant touch with the Governor’s office, the Mayor’s office, City, State and Federal agencies (especially the US Post Office) to insure that my constituents are well-served.

 

CAMPAIGN PROMISES MADE TO VOTERS

What are the top five promises you are making to the voters during the campaign?

Campaign Promise 1
I try to avoid promises and do not sign pledges. But I will tell you some of my priorities.

Continue to work every day at all hours to fight for every individual who needs help, especially because of the pandemic.

Campaign Promise 2
Continue to fight for State budgets that focus on the needs of everyday people, especially in the areas of health care and education.

Campaign Promise 3
Continue to work in my community to fight overdevelopment.

Campaign Promise 4
Continue my leadership in fighting for improved mass transit in the Bronx and for more funding for the MTA.

Campaign Promise 5
Continue to support sensible reforms in elections, ethics and campaign financing.

 

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 maintained the highest ethical standards and my constituents know it. I do that not only by supporting sensible reform efforts but also by the way I conduct myself, behave towards others and run campaigns.

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