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Originally Published: August 26, 2013

Prefers Gale Brewer for Manhattan BP, Melinda Katz for Queens BP, and Ken Thompson for Brooklyn DA

Supports the re-Election of councilmembers Jumaane Williams, Melissa Mark-Viverito and Donovan Richards; supports Carlos Menchaca over incumbent Sara González, and issues no preference in two other Council contests

Citizens Union today announced its preferences in 25 City Council primary elections, as well as the primaries for Manhattan Borough President, Queens Borough President, Brooklyn District Attorney and Assembly Districts 86 and 53. Citizens Union is supporting the election of nineteen candidates running in open council seats. New York City faces arguably the largest turnover in city government in a generation as candidates vie for all three citywide offices and nearly half the City Council seats.

“New York City faces a uniquely pivotal election year and these worthy candidates have risen to the moment,” said Dick Dadey, Executive Director of Citizens Union. “Our thorough evaluation process sought candidates committed to honest, effective and accountable government and capable of serving their constituents as well as the needs of the city as a whole. We feel these qualities are well represented in each of our preferred candidates.”

In the Democratic Primary for Manhattan Borough President, Citizens Union evaluated four well-qualified candidates and ultimately preferred Gale Brewer. Citizens Union believes that Brewer’s years of experience achieving results in city government will provide her important insight into how best to use the office to work effectively with city agencies and provide input on development projects. Brewer has a proven track record on reform and a lifetime dedication to service to the benefit of the public interest.

For Queens Borough President, Citizens Union considered two impressive and appealing candidates: Peter Vallone, Jr. and Melinda Katz. Citizens Union prefers Melinda Katz given her collaborative approach, breadth of experience in elected office, vision for the office, and support for a reform agenda. She has earned Citizens Union’s support over Peter Vallone, who is an able and appealing public servant and who impressed Citizens Union with his independence in the City Council.

In the race for Brooklyn District Attorney, Citizens Union prefers Kenneth Thompson over Charles Hynes. Citizens Union believes Thompson made a compelling case for a change in the office, thoroughly critiquing practices and mishandled cases by the incumbent that raise serious questions about Hynes’ ability to lead the office going forward. Citizens Union believes that while Hynes has established many innovative prisoner reentry and alternative sentencing programs during his career, earning our preference in 2005, there comes a time when change is needed for an office even when held by a long serving public official with notable successes.

Unfortunately, as happens all too frequently, several races this year have been touched by scandal or corruption. In the race for Bronx Assembly District 86, where former incumbent Nelson Castro resigned as part of a deal with federal investigators, Citizens Union prefersVictor Pichardo. Pichardo’s knowledge of the state legislature, policy, and reform issues is as impressive as his experience. In the race for Brooklyn Assembly District 53, where former incumbent Vito Lopez resigned amid allegations of multiple incidents of sexual harassment, Citizens Union prefers Jason Otaño. Given his experience and relatively reform-minded agenda, Citizens Union believes that Otaño would be an effective and independent representative for his district.

In Brooklyn City Council District 34, Citizens Union prefers Antonio Reynoso over Vito Lopez. Citizens Union believes that that Reynoso is very knowledgeable about reform issues and, despite his limited experience, would be a far more effective member of the Council than his better known but ethically challenged opponent. In Manhattan City Council District 5, Citizens Union prefers Ben Kallos over Micah Kellner and Ed Hertzog. Citizens Union is deeply concerned with the sexual harassment allegations surrounding Kellner’s tenure in the State Assembly and believes that Kallos will be a strong voice for reform in the City Council. In Queens City Council District 19, where former incumbent Dan Halloran resigned amid accusations of conspiracy and corruption, Citizens Union prefers Austin Shafran. Although Shafran’s opponents have impressive qualifications, Citizens Union believes Shafran has an in-depth understanding of good government issues coupled with the political experience to bring about reform, and therefore prefers his candidacy.

In primaries where incumbent City Council members face challengers, Citizens Union prefers the incumbents Jumaane Williams, Melissa Mark-Viverito and Donovan Richardsfor their support of rules reform and supports challenger Carlos Menchaca over incumbent Sara González. Citizens Union believes Menchaca is more articulate and thoughtful on reform issues than the incumbent. He is an engaging candidate who would emphasize reform if elected. For the remaining City Council primaries where incumbents face challengers, Citizens Union declares no preferences.

Since 1910, Citizens Union has evaluated candidates for office in New York and chosen to support those it believes will advance good government and political reform and act in the public interest.


Citizens Union 2013 Primary Election Candidate Preferences

Bronx Democratic Primaries
Assembly District 86                        Victor Pichardo (D)
City Council District 11                    Clifford Stanton (D)
City Council District 15                    Albert Alvarez (D)
City Council District 16                    Pedro Alvarez (D)

Brooklyn Democratic Primaries
Brooklyn District Attorney               Kenneth P. Thompson (D)
Assembly District 53                         Jason Otaño (D)
City Council District 33                    No Preference
City Council District 34                    Antonio Reynoso (D)
City Council District 35                    Ede S. Fox (D)
City Council District 36                    Robert E. Cornegy Jr. (D)
City Council District 37                    Kimberly Council (D)
City Council District 38                    Carlos Menchaca (D)
City Council District 45                    Jumaane D. Williams (D)
City Council District 46                    Alan N. Maisel (D)
City Council District 47                    Todd Dobrin (D)
City Council District 48                    Ari Kagan (D)

Manhattan Democratic Primaries
Manhattan Borough President       Gale A. Brewer (D)
City Council District 3                      Corey Johnson (D)
City Council District 5                      Ben Kallos (D)
City Council District 6                      Mel Wymore (D)
City Council District 7                      Mark Levine (D)
City Council District 8                      Melissa Mark-Viverito (D)
City Council District 9                      No Preference

Queens Democratic Primaries
Queens Borough President              Melinda Katz (D)
City Council District 19                     Austin Shafran (D)
City Council District 27                     Clyde Vanel (D)
City Council District 31                     Donovan Richards (D)

Staten Island Democratic Primary
City Council District 50                    John M. Mancuso (D)

Staten Island Republican Primary
City Council District 50                    Steven Matteo (R)

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