STATE RACES
STATE SENATE DISTRICT 13
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GENERAL ELECTION RESULTS
Take a look at all the latest results for the November 5, 2002 general election.

x-John D. Sabini (Dem) 16,339 - 73 percent
Giash Ahmed (Rep) 4,316 - 19 percent
Charles Castro (Ind) 1,706 - 8 percent

Candidates:

  • Giash Ahmed (Rep)
  • Charles Castro (Ind)
  • John Sabini (Dem)


BIOGRAPHIES

Giash Ahmed (Rep) has the distinction of being the first Asian Muslim and Bangladeshi immigrant to run for the New York State Senate. He is running for the State Senate from District 13 on a Republican Party ticket, the first ever to have been awarded to an Asian Muslim.

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Charles Castro (Dem), a former police officer, is chief of staff to New York City Councilman Hiram Monserrate.

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Nestor Diaz (Dem) is a former assistant district attorney and a former special assistant to the Corporation Counsel. He practices law in Queens and Manhattan.

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John Sabini (Dem) was a member of the New York City Council for 8 years. Sabini became a Democratic district leader when he was a senior at New York University, served as an aide to United States Representative James H. Scheuer from 1978 until 1982 and, in 1983, worked as a district administrator for United States Representative Stephen J. Solarz. He returned to Mr. Scheuer as a district administrator from 1985 until 1989 before spending two years in a public affairs firm, the MWW Group, formed by Jim Florio and Robert Torricelli.


PRIMARY ELECTION - SEPTEMBER 10, 2002

  • Giash Ahmed (Rep)
  • Charles Castro (Dem)
  • Nestor Diaz (Dem)
  • John Sabini (Dem - Primary Winner)

CAMPAIGN FEATURE

Redistricting has turned the 13th Senate district, which now encompasses Jackson Heights, Corona and parts of Elmhurst, into a majority-Latino district; Latinos make up some 55 percent of the population.

"Clearly the senate district was created to ensure that a Latino would be in a strong position to represent that district," said Hiram Monserrate, City Council member for the 21st District in Queens, part of which is encompassed by the 13th Senate District.

Monserrate supports his chief of staff, Charles Castro, in the race. Another Latino, Nestor Diaz, is also running. Both men have backgrounds in law enforcement and are new to politics. Both candidates argue that a majority Latino district should have a Latino state senator.

They face a strong challenge from former City Council member John Sabini.

The Candidates

Sabini is not Latino, but he is not worried about it. Previously, he says, he represented an "80 percent minority district and no one had any complaints."

He served on the City Council for 10 years before being forced to retire because of term limits. While in office, he helped install 10,000 new school seats for his constituents, created the Jackson Heights Historic District, preserved many local parks, and founded new programs for seniors.

He emphasizes his long political experience along with his lifelong experience as a resident of the area he hopes to represent. Neither Diaz nor Castro lives in the 13th Senate district, which is currently permissible under the law.

Diaz has worked as an attorney for the FBI and as an Assistant District Attorney. He currently practices law in Queens and Manhattan. His background, he says, makes him uniquely qualified to address the law enforcement and immigration problems in his district, as well as terrorism threats to the state.

Castro spent 17 years as a member of the New York Police Department. In 2001, he became a legislative assistant for Assemblyman Ivan Lafayette. He currently serves as City Council Member Hiram Monseratte's Chief of Staff, focusing on community services, quality health care, and a living wage in New York City.

The Issues

Voters in the 13th State Senate district see education as a serious concern, according to the candidates. Safety and health care are also key issues in the campaign.

Sabini hones in on three problems of the district's educational system: overcrowding, teacher pay and accountability. He supports the continued construction of new schools and backs the teachers' efforts to be paid fairly. He also expressed concern about the recent shift of control of the schools from the state legislature to the Mayor. He fears that the Mayor will operate the schools without enough accountability.

Diaz also cites overcrowded schools as the biggest educational problem in his district. His district, which has the most overcrowded schools in the city, needs at least two new high schools.

Castro says he would work to get funding for new schools to ameliorate overcrowding which distracts students from learning. Castro is also concerned about the district's crime problems. He would seek more police for the district, asserting on his campaign website that "historically prostitution and drugs have been major issues. For an area that is one of the busiest in businesses and consumer traffic, police manpower has never been adequate."

Diaz says that the quality of life in his district has declined since September 11 and says there has been a rise in crime and public drinking. He would work with the police to increase community policing.

Diaz would also focus on the health problems within his district. He says that the tuberculosis rate in his district is the highest in the country and no one is doing anything about it. He proposes additional health care facilities as well as funding for more health care workers. Diaz claims that his district "does not get its fair share" of state funding, and he wants to change that.

--posted August 12,2002

September 11, 2002

Queens voters all but elected the borough's first Hispanic state legislator yesterday, but two white males were winning in districts specifically drawn to benefit minority candidates. (Newsday)

August 9, 2002

Charles Castro claims he is a "decorated" cop whose life "reads like a movie script" - including eight medals during a "distinguished" 17-year career in the NYPD - and is worthy of being elected to the state Senate. But Castro fails to tell prospective voters he is a disgraced cop whose controversial career ended with his firing. (New York Post)

Eye On Albany 2002 is a guide to the races for the 91 seats of the New York State Legislature that represent residents of New York City.

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