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Name:  Robert  Jackson
Office Sought: New York State Senate District 31
Party Affiliation(s): Democrat, WFP
Age: 69
Education: NYC Public Schools; BA, SUNY, New Paltz
Occupation/Employer: State Senator
Previous Offices, Campaigns and Community/Civic Involvement:
President, Community School Board 6 (CSB6), Co-founder, Campaign for Fiscal Equity; City Councilmember (2002 – 2013); Co-Chair, City Council Black, Latino and Asian Caucus; Chair, City Council Education Committee; District Leader

Website:  https://www.voterobertjackson.com/
Twitter:  @RJackson_NYC
Facebook:   @VoteRobertJackson

 

 

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?
    The Governor should not have unchecked power with no transparency and no accountability. The Governor already has excessive powers in the budget process, we must not cut the legislature and the people out of the process.

 

Serving the public under the COVID-19 outbreak

  1. What are the biggest challenges in your district in dealing with the coronavirus outbreak?
    Our families and individuals were vulnerable long before the Coronavirus hit, and this health crisis has laid bare so many stark inequities in our society, not just in the availability of health care and the outsized impact on communities of color, but also terrible truths about our criminal justice system, food security, and the inequities of education funding, availability of learning resources, and the opportunity to succeed. We can’t accept just getting back to what was, we need to make things better for vulnerable communities through finally fully funding our schools, making health care accessible, protecting tenants and affordable housing, and creating good jobs for people to raise a family.
  1. What are the appropriate roles of city, state, and federal governments in a crisis such as this?
    Every level of government has to play a role. The Federal Government is the only level that can print money and they must step in with funding – just like to NY has funded the rest of the country every year. The State must step in and manage regionally and come to the aid of those most in need. And the City must manage our quality of life and make sure we are ready for the next event, whatever it is.
  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?
    Already we’ve seen problems as big, connected companies received quick approvals and neighborhood businesses were left with nothing. The Trump Administration has said little about where the money is going. The public deserves to know which companies are receiving taxpayer-backed lending and on what terms and we need real oversight. I will fight to make sure the communities that need the money most, get the money. That’s the way it should be. We can’t just seek to go back to the way things were. We need to make things better.

 

CAMPAIGN PROMISES MADE TO VOTERS

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

Campaign Promise 1
Continue my lifelong leadership for better schools, specifically fighting to make sure NYC finally receives all the money mandated in the CFE agreement.

Campaign Promise 2
Continuing fighting for tenants, and to make sure they are not pushed out of their homes.

Campaign Promise 3
Provide more accessible health care through passage of the NY Health Act.

Campaign Promise 4
Pass real campaign finance reform to replace the flawed system included in the last budget, and lower the threshold for third parties.

Campaign Promise 5
Provide great constituent service.

 

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 conduct my political affairs the same way I did for 12 years on the City Council and my first two years in the State Senate – with honesty, integrity and never holding an outside job. Being an elected official is truly an honor. It is public service – literally serving the public. I take that trust very seriously.

Growing up in upper Manhattan, we didn’t have much. I could never have dreamed that one day I would serve on the City Council and in the State Senate. I was able to succeed through hard work, a good education and the help of people in the community.

I have worked to give every child this same chance to succeed. I worked as a labor representative and then as a Community School Board President. I got into politics as an outgrowth of my work to improve our schools.

I look forward to continuing my work for the people with a second term as State Senator. I ask for your support in this Primary. Just as important, I want you as State Senator — providing ideas, letting me know what needs to be done and telling me when you disagree.  Together, we can continue to make a difference for families today, and for generations to come. I will never let the people down.

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