Appel faces uphill battle to win Assembly seat

 

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Democrat Steven Appel hopes to take over Assembly District 69 seat from longtime incumbent Daniel O’Donnell. Credit: Steven Appel

By Abigail Morris

Steven Appel, 31, is fighting to represent District 69 in the State Assembly. He is going up against incumbent Democrat Daniel O’Donnell, who has only faced competition once before since his election in 2002.

A longtime resident of the Upper West Side, Appel is senior manager of communications and events at Working in Support of Education, a nonprofit that provides low- to moderate-income communities with financial literacy programs.

He credits his Jewish upbringing for his commitment to equality, which he channeled into co-founding the Center for Ethnic, Racial and Religious Understanding at his alma mater, Queens College. He also he worked at the Center as assistant director for five years. During that time, he developed the Lunchtime 2.0 Program, which reinvented cafeteria space to encourage intercultural dialogue.  

Appel was valedictorian of his class and editor-in-chief of his college newspaper. He holds an MBA in management and sustainability from Baruch College. He has volunteered with survivors of domestic violence and their children.

He has received $10,972 in contributions in 2016, according to the state Board of Elections. He said in an interview he has received an additional $4,400.

“I feel strongly that the purpose of government is to unify people and help us reach our deepest potential,” he said. “There are two bottlenecks to achieving that – the ethical context in which we govern and the social context. I think there’s tremendous room to transform, not only the ethics in Albany, but the way in which diverse members in our community engage with each other.”

Campaign platform:

  • Hold a semi-annual Innovation Summit to bring together community members to network and look at issues.
  • Improve the public school system.
  • Increase affordable housing and strengthening rent laws.
  • Support environmental sustainability.
  • Institute ethics reform modeled after the New York City Council.
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