Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

Yuh-Line Niou

Yuh-Line Niou

  • 5 progressive assembly

    The State Assembly (photo: @NYSA_Majority)


    For some time, a lack of Democratic control in the New York State Senate prevented progressive legislation from becoming law. But even after the chamber flipped from red to blue through the 2018 elections and a long list of Democratic priorities were acted on, some bills that once passed the State Assembly when Republicans held the Senate are now having trouble reaching that chamber’s floor, leading to frustration that multiple insurgent campaigns capitalized on in this year’s primary

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  • mnn sidebysideb

    Yuh-Line Niou, left, and Grace Lee during their debate


    Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou and her Democratic primary challenger, Grace Lee, met for a debate on Monday, June 15, hosted by Manhattan Neighborhood Network and moderated by Gotham Gazette's Ben Max. The primary for this Lower Manhattan State Assembly seat is happening this month, with early voting ongoing through June 21; primary day on June 23; and all eligible voters allowed to vote by absentee ballot. Watch the debate:

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  • grace lee yuh line niou

    Challenger Grace Lee, left, and Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou


    An intense Democratic primary is unfolding in Lower Manhattan, where incumbent Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou, a staunch progressive, is facing a challenge from business owner and activist Grace Lee, who is partially self-funding her campaign.

    While the two candidates don’t appear to disagree on much politically, the race looks like a test of whether a well-financed challenger seizing on hyper-local issues can motivate enough voters to overcome a broadly popular incumbent. Meanwhile, the

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  • nycha manhattan

    NYCHA in Manhattan (photo: NYCHA)


    The coronavirus pandemic has shone a stark and unflattering light on the inadequacy of the social safety net in our city and across this country. And nowhere is this failure more glaring than at the New York City Housing Authority, or NYCHA.

    Due to COVID-19, we all must “shelter in place” in the safety of our homes, but for over half a million NYCHA residents, home is no safe harbor. Years of state and federal underfunding have left buildings with no hot water, toxic mold, lead paint, unhygienic conditions, and countless outstanding

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  • 3 maj leader asc

    A nearly-empty State Senate Chamber as business is conducted amid coronavirus outbreak (photo: NY Senate)


    If New Yorkers take Governor Andrew Cuomo’s word for it, the new $177 billion budget approved last week will “deliver results” for the people of the state and was a far cry from a “bare minimum” spending plan at a time when the state’s finances are racked by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. But within his own Democratic Party, which controls both houses of the Legislature where the plan was passed, the budget is a highly unpopular document that to

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  • Empire State Indivisible

    Empire State Indivisible activists


    The 2018 elections saw a sweeping victory for Democrats, as they recaptured the House of Representatives, in part thanks to victories in New York, where the party also took full control of the state Legislature for the first time in nearly a decade. The state election saw several moderate Democrats, who had comfortably worked with Republicans for years, swept out of power and replaced with a new cohort of progressives buttressed with grassroot activist support, while several suburban swing districts went from red to

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  • state legislators hearing

    (photo: @FairElectionsNY)


    A state commission charged with creating a system of public financing for state elections has prompted harsh rebukes from several state legislators for proposing what they say is watered down campaign finance reform and for ostensibly advancing a political agenda that targets longtime critics of Governor Andrew Cuomo.

    The New York State Public Campaign Financing Commission was appointed by Cuomo and state legislative leaders after a failure of consensus on overhauling the state’s campaign finance system. It was tasked in

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  • Niou Ramos Albany

    the authors: Assemblymember Niou, center, & Senator Ramos, left (photo: @NYCComptroller)


    We’ve got a big money problem here in New York, and we hear loud and clear the New Yorkers who are calling for a small donor solution in the form of public financing of elections.

    Public financing became a top issue in state budget negotiations earlier this year because of public demand. The plan for a commission to now determine the parameters of public financing of elections was placed in a large budget bill in the final hours of budget negotiations, making it

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  • Cuomo Sheldon Silver Skelos Albany

    Gov. Cuomo, Sheldon Silver & Dean Skelos in 2012 (photo via The Governor's Office)


    As allegations of sexual harassment and assault against disgraced movie producer and major Democratic political donor Harvey Weinstein piled up earlier this month, women around the world took to social media to share stories of abusive behavior using the hashtag #MeToo.

    The light being shone on the predatory behavior of Weinstein and

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  • yuhlineniou2

    Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou (photo via @yuhline)


    Yuh-Line Niou, Assemblymember for the 65th District in Lower Manhattan, has a tough task. The new Assembly member takes the seat held by disgraced former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver for 40 years. Niou won the September 2016 Democratic primary -- backed by the Working Families Party -- and November general election after losing a prior special election to Alice Cancel, who had been the choice of the Silver machine.

    Now, she must navigate growing into her role as an elected official, managing constituent

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  • nyscapitolbuilding2

    photo via @NYSCapitolTours


    While the ethics trainings and orientation for new state legislators may have evolved over the years, one thing has remained constant: the daunting task of navigating the Capitol’s maze-like corridors during one’s first weeks of work in Albany.

    Orientation provides some roadmap to Albany’s byzantine legislative processes, including workshops in drafting bills, organizing a press conference, and conducting research, and legislative staffers are provided for support, but it can take a few

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  • AD65 panel Li mic

    AD65 candidates at a debate (photo: @FilAmDems)


    In a world where U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara hadn’t turned his eye toward public corruption in state government, Sheldon Silver would likely be running for his 21st term in the Assembly and easily extending by another two years his 40-year reign over Manhattan’s 65th Assembly District.

    In the real world, Silver, who had already resigned the powerful Assembly speakership he held for almost 20 years, was automatically stripped of

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  • silver seat KALC

    Charles Youn, executive director of KALCA, speaks at a press conference


    Any good democracy should reflect a society’s diversity in its leadership. The undemocratic way in which the 65th Assembly District special election is unfolding should galvanize all communities, particularly underrepresented ones, to push for reforms and encourage underrepresented New Yorkers to be more civically engaged.

    America does not always have accurate and inclusive representation in government. This is especially true in state legislatures. A few weeks ago...