On the Issues
Currently: Estate Attorney and Legal Counsel, Munir Avery Law Firm; Counsel to Assemblyman Michael Simanowitz; Board Member, Blanche Community Progress Day Care Center; Vice President, Adlai Stevenson Regular Democratic Club
Previous Work: Assistant District Attorney, Queens County; Director of Constituent Services, NYC Council Member Diana Reyna
Education: BA, SUNY Albany; JD, Fordham University
On the Issues
*Source for Munir Avery's issue stances: Gotham Gazette Questionnaire
Top 5 Legislative Priorities↓
1. Youth and Senior Programs
2. Job Readiness Training programs.
3. Campaign Finance Reform
4. After School programs
5. Garbage Collection
In addressing how to utilize NYS' multibillion dollar surplus by, stated: "The surplus should be invested in increasing the number of programs that provide Job Readiness Training Services to the community."
Would vote yes on the full, ten-point Women's Equality Agenda.
Opposes the strategy of removing the 10th point in the WEA, which deals with abortion access, in order to push for passage of the other 9 points with less controversy.
Supports a statewide minimum wage at $15.
Stated that municipalities such as NYC should be able to set their own minimum wage.
In addressing developing an NYS jobs program, stated: "We need to invest in jobs programs with the highest success rates."
Supports implementing Common Core state standards with changes.
Supports maintaining the cap on charter schools.
Stated that government should not pay for location of charter schools in private space or for co-locations of charter schools in public school buildings.
Supports statewide universal pre-kindergarten.
Opposes hydrofracking in NYS.
Stated that municipalities should not decide, via zoning processes, whether hydrofracking occurs in their jurisdiction.
Supports reducing individual campaign contribution limits.
Supports instituting a public-matching campaign-financing systems statewide.
Stated that Governor Cuomo should not have dissolved the Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption.
Supports implementing the following reform measures to increase voter participation and reduce barriers to voting:
- Same day voter registration,
- Early voting,
- Reforming special elections,
- Granting voting rights to parolees.
In addressing how to properly monitor and enforce ethics laws and appropriate conduct of legislators, stated: "Legislative ethics oversight should be implemented by an independent panel with the power to...enforce existing ethics rules."
In addressing legislative oversight of public authorities such as the MTA and Port Authority, stated: "As a legislator I would fight to strengthen the rules governing oversight of the MTA, Port Authority and public utilities. We need to change the policies to make their records accessible to the public."
In addressing challenges with the NYS Health Exchange rollout and the high cost of Medicare, stated: "Reducing the high cost of the state's Medicaid program requires an increase in fraud prosecutions and punishment, consolidating redundancies to increase system efficiency, increased competition between insurance providers to create greater access to affordable health care, and an increased investment in preventative care initiatives."
Housing and Development↓
Supports mandatory inclusionary zoning at the 50-30-20 ratio.
Opposes reforming the Scaffold Law from absolute liability to comparative negligence.
Opposes reforming the Urstadt Law.
In addressing the affordable housing needs in the state and city, stated: "We need to implement policies that increase access to affordable mortgages, preserve and expand the supply of good-quality housing units, make existing housing more affordable and more readily available, and promote racial and economic diversity in residential neighborhoods."
In addressing the rising cost of commercial rents and the loss of local retail businesses, stated: "We have to create a friendlier environment for our local retail stores. This includes: rent control programs, lowering taxes and fees associated with running a small business, creating tax credits for businesses that employ local residents, tax credits for shopping locally, and establishing guidelines for landlord and tenant negotiations for the commercial lease renewal process."
Would vote yes on the DREAM Act.
Opposes non-citizen voting.
Supports drivers licenses for undocumented immigrants.
Stated that the biggest infrastructure needs in the district are: "the lack of proper sewer systems in the community and the increase of the water table due to shutting down the pumping stations in our community. We need to invest in the creation of a fully functional sewer system for all the families in District 14 and open the pumping station in Jamaica Queens to decrease the water table."
Policing and Criminal Justice↓
Opposes broken windows policing.
Supports the legalization of marijuana.
In addressing whether there is a role for state government in overseeing the conduct of municipal police forces, stated: "We need to hold our government and its employees accountable for their conduct while serving the people of this state. All government employees should be treated equally if they violate the laws and policies of this state and their organization. The state legislature should implement policies that support the effort of local law enforcement to discipline and remove employees that violate department policies and prosecute employees that violate the law while serving the people of New York."
In addressing road safety, and the appropriate approach to balancing the needs of pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers, stated: "The appropriate approach to road safety is to educate the public about the rules of the road and encourage pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers to observe those rules through proper signage and traffic control devices. We need to increase the amount of bike lanes and give pedestrians the ability to cross the street before cars are allowed to turn."
Organizations: UNITE HERE Local 100; Alliance of South Asian American Labor; Muslim Democratic Club of New York; Bangladeshi American Advocacy Group
Comrie (D, WF)
On the Issues
Currently: Queens Deputy Borough President
Previous Work: Candidate, Queens Borough President (2013); NYC Council Member, District 27 (2001-2013) (Deputy Majority Leader and Chairman, Land Use Committee); Board Member, Community School Board District 29
Education: Bachelor's Degree, University of Bridgeport, CT
On the Issues
Organizations: Queens County Democrats; Council of School Supervisors & Administrators Local 1; Working Families Party; Guy R. Brewer Democratic Club; Retail Wholesale and Department Store Union; United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1500; Communications Workers of America Local 1182; CSA; Mason Tenders; Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) 1056 and 1179; American Federation of School Administrators; AFL-CIO; Teamsters Joint Council 16; 1199SEIU; Stonewall Democratic Club of NYC; Amsterdam News; Empire State Pride Agenda; Public Employees Federation (PEF); Citizens Union; The New York League of Conservation Voters; Transport Union Workers Local 100; NY Daily News
Individuals: NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio; Joe Crowley, US House of Representatives (NY-14); I. Daneek Miller, NYC Council (D-27); Donovan Richards, NYC Council (D-31); Gregory Meeks, US House of Representatives (NY-5); Rory Lancman, NYC Council (D-24)
On the Issues
Record in Office
Currently: NY State Senator for the 14th District (2000-present)
Previous Work: National advance staff for Vice-Presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro; City Hall assistant to former Mayor Edward I. Koch; Chief aide to former City Councilman Archie Spigner; Senior aide to former Congressman Floyd H. Flake; Founder of Smith Development Corporation; President of Neighborhood Housing Services of Jamaica
Education: BS, Fordham University; MBA, Adelphi University
On the Issues
Organizations: District Council 37
Individuals: Former Congressman Rev. Roy Flake
Record in Office
NYS Senate Committee Assignments:
NYS Senate Caucuses:
Fraud and Bribery Charges: In April 2013, Smith was arrested by the FBI on federal fraud and bribery charges after allegedly plotting to give money to the NY Republican party in order to get on the GOP ticket for the 2013 Mayor's race. Attempts by Smith to push his trial past the date of the 2014 Democratic Primary were denied by a judge in early March, who decided to hold the trial on June 2nd. Also on trial are former Queens GOP Vice Chairman Vince Tabone and ex-city Councilman Dan Halloran.