STATE RACES
STATE SENATE DISTRICT 34
ABOUT EYE ON ALBANY

Morris Park, Pelham Parkway, Throgsneck, City Island, Woodlawn, Norwood, Wakefield, Yonkers, Pelham, Pelham Manor, New Rochelle, Mount Vernon.

GENERAL ELECTION RESULTS
Take a look at all the latest results for the November 5, 2002 general election.

x-Guy J. Velella (Rep) 31,947 - 67 percent
Frances L. Mahoney (Dem) 15,483 - 33 percent

Candidates:

  • Frances Mahony (Dem)
  • Guy J. Velella (Rep/Ind/Con) Incumbent


BIOGRAPHIES

Frances Mahony (Dem) is the former chief-of-staff to Assemblyman John Dearie. She also has run the Bronx office of Congressman Thomas Manton and currently is in charge of the Bronx office of Congressman Joseph Crowley.

* * * * *

Senator Guy J. Velella (Rep.) was born in East Harlem, New York City, on September 25, 1944. He received his elementary education in the public schools and graduated from Christopher Columbus High School. In 1967, he graduated from St. John's University with a Bachelor of Arts degree and received his Juris Doctor degree from Suffolk University School of Law in Boston, Mass., in 1970. On May 31, 1990, Senator Velella received an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.

In 1972, Senator Velella was elected to the New York State Assembly as the representative of the 80th Assembly District in Bronx County. He is a long-standing Republican County and State Committeeman and was a delegate to each of the Republican National Conventions from 1980 to 2000. He has also served as a member of the New York State Electoral College.

7 BILLS IMPORTANT TO NEW YORK CITY RESIDENTS THAT YOUR STATE REPRESENTATIVE IS LIKELY TO VOTE ON IN THE NEXT TERM:

1. Rent Regulation: The current rent regulation laws expire in June 2003. Supporters of rent regulation hope that the current provisions will be extended for another five years and that the legislature will repeal the provision which deregulates apartments that rent for $2,000 or more a month. The State Assembly passed such a bill this year, but it died in the Senate in the face of opposition from Majority Leader Joseph Bruno. If the Legislature does not take concerted action in June, rent regulation in New York City will end.

2. Commuter Tax: In 1999, when the State Legislature repealed the Commuter Tax, the city's economy was good. Reinstatement of the Commuter Tax is likely to come up again this Spring as the City's economy takes a turn for the worse.

In 1999 Senator Velella voted against the repeal of the commuter tax.

3. School Funding: Even with mayoral control of the school system, more than 40 percent of New York City's school funding comes from Albany. Next year's budget will determine how much money New York City's schools will get from the state.

4. Rockefeller drug laws: New York's drug laws, passed in 1973 by Governor Nelson Rockefeller, are among the harshest in the nation. The Democratic-controlled Assembly, Republican-controlled Senate, and the Governor have not been able to agree on how to reform these laws, look for renewed negotiations and new legislation in the next term.

5. Minimum Wage: Currently set at $5.15 an hour, Democrats will likely propose raising the minimum wage to $6.75 an hour, a proposal that failed last year.

6. Sexual Orientation Non Discrimination Act: This has been floating around the New York State Legislature for 30 years, with the Governor's support, it is likely to come up for a vote again next Spring.

7. Campaign Finance Reform: Some 80 organizations have proposed a "Clean Money, Clean Elections" bill for the New York State Legislature. Like the New York City law, it would establish a system under which candidates who comply with limits on campaign spending and contributions would receive public funds for their political campaigns.

HOW OTHER ORGANIZATIONS RANKED SENATOR GUY J. VELELLA:

EMPIRE STATE PRIDE AGENDA

Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act

The Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act adds actual or perceived sexual orientation to the state's existing laws which prohibit discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, education, and credit on the basis of age, race, creed, color, national origin, sex, disability or marital status.

Pride Agenda's Position: SUPPORT
Guy J. Velella's Position: OPPOSITION

Hate Crimes Act

The Hate Crimes Act enhances criminal penalties for a long list of crimes in which perpetrators intentionally select a target based on the victim's actual or perceived race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, religion, religious practice, age, disability or sexual orientation. The Hate Crimes Act also requires the state to collect, analyze and annually report on data regarding hate crimes throughout the state.

Pride Agenda's Position: SUPPORT
Guy J. Velella's Position: SUPPORT

THE BUSINESS COUNCIL OF NEW YORK STATE

Taxable Status of Nuclear-Powered Electrical Generating Facilities Act

This measure establishes that nuclear powered electric generating facilities must pay property tax.

BC of NYS Position: SUPPORT
Guy J. Velella's Position: SUPPORT

Plumbing Standards

This measure creates a new article in labor laws by providing standards for plumbing materials and makes certain plumbing and piping provisions of the state uniform fire prevention and building code.

BC of NYS Position: OPPOSITION
Guy J. Velella's Position: SUPPORT


CAMPAIGN FEATURE

In May, long-time Republican State Senator Guy Velella was indicted by the Manhattan District Attorney on charges of bribery, relating to contracts funded by the state government between 1995 and 2000. Velella adamantly denies the charges, but this indictment appeared -- at least for a while -- to open a door for a strong Democratic challenger.

Earlier this year, Lorraine Coyle Koppell, wife of City Council member and former State Attorney General G. Oliver Koppell, began to collect petitions and gear up to face Velella in a General Election. Koppell ran against Velella two years ago, but could not match the Republican's fundraising efforts and failed to bring out the vote. This year, she believed things would be different. That was until July when she and her husband decided to lend their money and support to Senator Eric Schneiderman, who was facing a serious challenge from former City Councilman Guillermo Linares.

After Koppell's departure from the race, the Democrats tapped Frances Mahony. Mahony is the former chief-of-staff to Assemblyman John Dearie. She also has run the Bronx office of Congressman Thomas Manton and currently is in charge of the Bronx office of Congressman Joseph Crowley.

Mahony's Agenda

Mahony commends much of Velella's work in the Bronx thus far. When asked about Senator Velella's recent indictment, she declined to comment. " I've seen so many negative campaigns and people demeaning people," Mahony said. "I'm not running on Guy Velella's problems. I'm running my own campaign on a positive note."

For the most part, Mahony thinks the process in Albany gets the job done. But this lifelong resident of the Bronx thinks Albany would be much more efficient if they had more women around. "Yes I think [the state legislative process] works," Mahony said. "But being facetious--they need more women there. Women get things done. When we start things and we finish them."

Women's issues are a central theme in Mahony's campaign. Mahony said she doesn't want to run on bunch of issues that could dilute her main message, so for the next several months and if elected, the next several years, she will focus on increased mammography screening, women's health benefits and women's education. Mahony believes this is what her constituents want from their representative in Albany. "Working in a Congressman's office and writing a women's column for the local paper, have put me in touch with what women go through and what they need," Mahony said.

Velella's Agenda

Senator Velella is focusing on his record and what he has done to improve the quality of life in the district. He refuses to discuss the indictment, aside from denying any wrongdoing.

Velella emphasizes his relationship with the police in his district and his efforts to increase their effectiveness. He points to the $200,000 grant he secured from the state to purchase a borough-wide mobile command center to extend police reach around Yankee stadium in response to Woodlawn residents' complaints about a lack of police presence. Velella delivered a similar unit to the 47th Precinct, following through on a campaign promise made to the officers of the Bronx during the 2000 election. In July, the Velella brought a $60,000 fireworks show to Orchard Beach calling it his celebration of the America spirit.

If elected, Velella says he plans to continue his community based efforts and to lend his continued support to School Board and Education reform. Velella introduced the official Senate plan to reform the New York City Board of Education last May.

The Voters

Voters' opinion about Velella's indictment is mixed. In a recent television news poll of Bronx residents, 51 percent of respondents said that the bribery allegations against the Republican Senator would change their vote come Election Day and 48 percent responded that the allegations would have no effect on their voting behavior.

On the streets, support for Velella is high and many people seem unfamiliar with Mahony's name. Voters from both parties lauded the recognizable changes the Republican Senator has made in the community and expressed indifference about his indictment charges. "The Senator has done good things here," said Bronx resident Joy Perdy. "He's kept his promises and been really visible in the community. I have to say I haven't heard a lot about the other candidate."

"The charges won't change my vote," said Bronx resident Max Steiner. "You vote for a candidate who gets things done for the people who live here."

For others, the charges against Velella do make a difference. West Pelham resident Rick Haggerty, who recently met Mahony, said he may vote for an unknown. "I'm not sure what she is all about or what she wants to get done, but she wasn't indicted," said Haggerty.

--posted September 22,2002

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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