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Name:  Richard N Gottfried
Office Sought: New York State Assembly District 75
Party Affiliation(s): Democrat (also endorsed by WFP)
Age: 72
Education: BA: Cornell Univ. (Arts & Scis.) ’68; JD: Columbia Law School ’73
Occupation/Employer: Assembly Member, NY State Assembly
Previous Offices, Campaigns and Community/Civic Involvement:

Democratic district leader, 1969-71.

NY State Assembly, 1971-present.

Website:  friendsofdickgottfried.org
Twitter:  @dickgottfried
Facebook:   Assembly Member Richard Gottfried

 

 

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
  1. Automatic voter registration, unless the potential voter opts out
    Support
  1. 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.
    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.
    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.
    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 concerned about govt by Gov’s directives. The habit of handing over legislative power (e.g. 2019 election law commission) is very dangerous. The legislature should be acting through remote sessions (until we can resume in-person sessions), instead.

 

Serving the public under the COVID-19 outbreak

  1. What are the biggest challenges in your district in dealing with the coronavirus outbreak?
    Job loss, difficulty getting benefits, paying rent, access to food.
  1. What are the appropriate roles of city, state, and federal governments in a crisis such as this?
    Federal: Using its ability to borrow to provide massive funding. Promoting medical research and public health guidance.

    State: Setting standards; modifying laws and rules; strong maintenance of standards in hospitals, nursing homes, etc.

    City: Delivering local services, education, enforcing rules, making re-opening 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?
    As we have always done, my district office staff does active individual case work and community advocacy, including now for COVID-19 issues, not just govt benefits. We were doing active remote constituent service well before the formal shutdown.

 

CAMPAIGN PROMISES MADE TO VOTERS

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

Campaign Promise 1

Continue to fight for:

  1. The NY Health Act and protect & expand access to health care, including Medicaid.
  2. Protecting and strengthening tenants rights and rent laws.
  3. Reproductive choice, LGBTQI rights, civil liberties.
  4. Protecting the community from excessive development.
  5. Increased taxation of high wealth, to fund education, affordable housing (incl NYCHA), mass transit, health care, etc.

Campaign Promise 2

See above

Campaign Promise 3

See above

Campaign Promise 4

See above

Campaign Promise 5

See above

 

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 will continue the ethical representation and service that I have adhered to for 50 years in the Assembly.  I am a lawyer, but do not have a private practice or any other outside employment.  I keep my offices and staff strictly separated from political activity favoritism.

I and several of my staff are notaries, but we never accept a fee for notarizing.  I never accept honoraria or speaking fees.

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