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Name:  Joey  De Jesus
Office Sought: New York State Assembly District 38
Party Affiliation(s): Democrat
Age: 32
Education: MA Performance Theory, MFA Creative Writing, BA Oberlin College
Occupation/Employer: Borough of Manhattan Community College
Previous Offices, Campaigns and Community/Civic Involvement:
No, Dear Magazine Advisory Board Member, Apogee Journal Editor (Volunteer), Ridgewood Tenant Union (Member)

Website:  DeJesus2020.com
Twitter:  @DeJesusSaves
Facebook:   DeJesus2020

 

 

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.
    Support

 

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.
    Support
  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.
    Support

 

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
      Support

 

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.
    Support

 

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.
    Support
  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.
    Support

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

  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?
    I am appalled by the consolidation of power exercised by the governor. I’m appalled by the repeal of recent bail reforms, the gutting of our healthcare and education systems (to the benefit of billionaires who seek to further capitalize upon our living). I am an anticapitalist and there is blood on Cuomo’s hands. Political dalliance (initiating the homes guarantee and housing first policies for instance) has resulted in needless death and suffering. I myself narrowly survived a month fighting against covid. It is repulsive that the governor could dismiss legislators. I am in this race to fight against such fascism.

 

Serving the public under the COVID-19 outbreak

  1. What are the biggest challenges in your district in dealing with the coronavirus outbreak?
    Everything. This is a majority-minority district in which many immigrants didn’t receive any stimulus support so people have to work despite unsafe conditions. Our district is severely rent burdened as well so people are at risk of losing their homes as soon as the eviction moratorium lifts. People can’t eat. Up until I fell severely ill I was supporting mutual aid efforts in the district. I see the Hungry Monk and many mutual aid networks serving community and this inspires me toward political change in our representation.
  1. What are the appropriate roles of city, state, and federal governments in a crisis such as this?
    As a candidate I have been calling constituents, even while ill, to assuage their fears. Mike Miller has done next to nothing. Its our responsibility to make the public aware of policy that endangers us, and to guarantee the changes that will keep our communities alive by any means necessary. That means educating people about the risks of the virus and the resources available to them though governmental and social organizations.
  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?
    I have been very vocal about matters of social justice, and am unlike every other candidate for State Assembly in that we built a campaign with no institutional support. It is the word that financed my campaign because the word is forever more valuable than the dollar. So I will spread the word.

 

CAMPAIGN PROMISES MADE TO VOTERS

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

Campaign Promise 1
To fight for the #NYHomesGuarantee and Good Cause Eviction legistlation to protect New Yorkers in their homes and ultimately decommodify the land (my true ambition, as avowedly anti-settler-colonial) through a tenants right-to-buy, which would see properties removed from the market toward community land trusts.

Campaign Promise 2
The fight for publicly-owned utilities. I am the only candidate in this race to affirm the Public Power Coalition and Green New Deal. In canvassing everyone, I learned democrats and republicans alike loathe Spectrum (workers on strike three years), ConEdison and National Grid. We should not be paying monopolies for our essential utilities–the bills of course are cause for homelessness.

Campaign Promise 3
To decarcerate the state. I am a prison abolitionist and before coronavirus took out my left lung, a weed smoker. I believe that we need to decriminalize sex work (which impacts my QT BIPOC community) and initiate reparations for the war on drugs by guaranteeing Black and WoC-owned businesses the opportunity to generate revenue toward the welfare of laborers, and frontline communities as we decriminalize weed. Expunge all records for marijuana possession etc…

Campaign Promise 4
To fight for universal suffrage; It is anti-democratic to believe one’s status should afford them a right denied others. This is how we guarantee everyone in our communities political purchase, representation, and protection from ICE.

Campaign Promise 5
That we animate the dream.

 

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 maintain public trust because I am publicly accountable for my actions. My experience as a poet primes me to listening for the wills of people. It primes me to receive criticism as a gesture of care. I cannot be bought–which is why I’ve run my campaign as I have, putting to practice the ethos of removing money from politics. My opponents lack the moral clarity required of this position; they receive tens of thousands (what do they even spend it on?) and as a result kowtow to power. I know where I come from and I am surrounded by an amazing community of activists, artists, healthcare workers, intellectuals, service workers, DJs etc… who hold me and hold me accountable for my words and actions. This is why we’ve been so successful in this campaign despite every attempt at our obliteration.

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