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★ Preferred Candidate ★

Robert Jackson – Dem
Candidate has returned a questionnaire
Age: 67
Occupation: Former New York City Council Member Education: State University of New York at New Paltz, B.A.

Robert Jackson is an education advocate and former New York City Council member, running for office in State Senate District 31. Before being elected to the Council in 2001, Jackson was an organizer for the NYS Public Employees Federation and founder of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE), which sued the State of New York for funding failures in New York City schools. After reaching term limits in the Council in 2013, Jackson became a lobbyist for a styrofoam container company. Jackson ended his relationship with the company during this election and, in an interview with Citizens Union, committed to maintaining that separation throughout his time in office. Jackson strongly aligns with Citizens Union’s reform agenda. He wants to put sensible limits on campaign contributions, and to close the LLC loophole. He supports early voting, no-excuse absentee voting, consolidated state and federal primaries, and day-of voter registration. Jackson does not support permanent mayoral control of schools however, as he believes mayoral control lacks parent input. Jackson presented as an independent and capable lawmaker with a wealth of ideas for reform. Based on this, the strength of his city government experience, and his years as an advocate for city schools, Citizen’s Union prefers Robert Jackson in this race.

Marisol Alcantara – Dem
Candidate has returned a questionnaire
Age: 45
Occupation: New York State Senator Education: Manhattan College, B.A.; Murphy Institution of Labor at CUNY, M.A.

Marisol Alcantara is a one-term state Senator, running for re-election in Senate District 31. Before running for public office, Alcantara worked as a political organizer for the New York State Nurses Association and SEIU 32BJ in New Jersey. While in office, Alcantara increased funding for local schools and the first LGBTQ center in Northern Manhattan and provided a $10 million immigration legal defense fund for her district. As a representative from a majority Hispanic district, Alcantara presents herself first and foremost as an advocate for the Latino community, in her district and statewide. Her platform for re- 20 election reflects this focus, with an emphasis on protecting undocumented immigrants from federal overreach, safeguarding young immigrants through the Dream Act, and providing better working conditions for farmworkers. Alcantara supports all of CU’s questionnaire items, with her most vocal support being for the repeal of state Civil Rights Law, Section 50-a, which shields police, correction, and fire officers’ disciplinary records from the public. In an interview with Citizens Union, Alcantara defended her legislative independence – citing instances in which she voted against measures supported by her conference’s leadership. As a one-term Senator, Alcantara’s greatest political strength lies in her community advocacy. While Alcantara is in alignment with CU’s good government agenda, her interview revealed her approach to these issues to be less thorough and thoughtful than her challenger.

Thomas A. Leon – Dem
Citizens Union was not aware of this candidacy at the time of the evaluation.

Tirso Santiago Piña – Dem
Citizens Union was not aware of this candidacy at the time of the evaluation.

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