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Name:  Marcela  Mitaynes
Office Sought: New York State Assembly District 51
Party Affiliation(s): Democrat, also endorsed by the Working Families Party
Age: 46
Education: Associates Degree in Accounting from CUNY Kingsborough
Occupation/Employer: Tenant Organizer, Neighbors Helping Neighbors
Previous Offices, Campaigns and Community/Civic Involvement:
Member, Housing Committee Chair- Community Board 7
President- PS 69 PTA
Board Member- Tenants PAC
Website: marcelaforny.org
Twitter: @marcelaforny
Facebook: Marcela for NY

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 websites.
    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?
    While the government has taken some steps to implement social distancing, it is vital they remain accountable. We must ensure that any new laws implemented to combat COVID are done with our public safety in mind. When elected, I will serve as a watchdog to Governor Cuomo and the rest of the political establishment and ensure our needs are the ones being represented.

Serving the public under the COVID-19 outbreak

  1. What are the biggest challenges in your district in dealing with the coronavirus outbreak?
    The primary challenge my neighbors are facing is paying rent. While the eviction moratorium is a first step, many families now have no income and cannot make payments. They are worried about being displaced once the moratorium is lifted. That’s why I am calling for the immediate suspension of all rent and mortgage payments.
  1. What are the appropriate roles of city, state, and federal governments in a crisis such as this?
    We must ensure that our government is helping people and advocating for our needs. It is disappointing that in the midst of a pandemic, rent has not been suspended and the prison population has not been adequately reduced all while cuts are being made to our public school system and medicaid. When elected, I will prioritizing taxing the rich so the rest of us can live with dignity and respect.
  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?
    In order for these funds to be effective, they must be accessible. My community contains a large portion of people for whom English is a second language or they don’t speak it at all. Many of my neighbors also are undocumented or do not have access to the internet. When elected, I will continue to work to ensure these relief efforts are accessible to all.

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 to pass a Good Cause Eviction bill so that people are not arbitrarily evicted from their homes.

Campaign Promise 2
To fight to pass the New York Health Act, which will guarantee healthcare for all people regardless of their immigration status.

Campaign Promise 3
To refuse all money from corporations and real estate developers. Money is the most corrosive aspect of politics and I will only be accountable to my constituents and my conscience. My campaign filings will show that I have kept that promise.

Campaign Promise 4
To hold regular town halls. I believe elected officials must have regular communication with their constituents.  I am committed to holding regular town halls in all languages for every member of my community.

Campaign Promise 5
To put people over profit. We see time and again our communities being sold out to luxury developers. If elected, I will fight to make sure rents stay affordable and the character of our neighborhood stays the same.

 

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.

Part of the reason I decided to run for Assembly is because I am tired of elected officials who were prioritizing the needs to the 1% or their campaign donors over their constituents. There are many politicians who may not be doing anything blatantly illegal, but are not operating with the needs of their community in mind. Prior to running for office, my work consisted of grassroots community organizing, not as a member of the political establishment. My campaign is a grassroots one, I refuse all real estate and corporate money and have hundreds of volunteers. When elected, I will continue to be an organizer, but in the role of a State Assembly women.

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