Serrano runs for 7th term in state Senate


Priorities for incumbent José M. Serrano include increasing transparency in the legislative process, securing affordable housing and protecting public health. Credit: New York State Senate

By Emily Ulbricht

Democratic incumbent José M. Serrano, 44, is running for his seventh term as District 29’s state senator.

A son of U.S Congressman José Serrano, also a Democrat from New York, Serrano is a lifelong South Bronx resident. He started his political career soon after graduating from Manhattan College with a bachelor’s degree in government. Serrano first joined Community Board 4 and then was elected to the City Council in 2001. There, he continued his efforts to strengthen arts and cultures in the city, including the New York Shakespeare Festival.

Three years later, Serrano left City Council to run for Senate. He defeated his predecessor Olga A. Mendez in District 28’s race, which in 2012 was redrawn into the current District 29. Mendez had held the seat for 26 years, but switched to the Republicans shortly before. Serrano, endorsed by the Bronx’ Democratic establishment, promised to join a group of political reformers in the Senate.

Since then, Serrano has represented what he calls one of the most socio-economic and cultural diversified districts, with neighborhoods in the Bronx, East Harlem, Central Park and Upper West Side. He serves as chair of the Senate Democratic Conference.

In November, Serrano faces Republican Jose Colon and Conservative Linda Ortiz. He won 65.5 percent of the vote in the 2004 general election and 83.1 percent in 2014. He has faced no competition in past primaries and he captured more than 90 percent of the vote in other previous general elections.

For his 2016 campaign, he raised $24,000, according to the state Board of Elections.

Serrano lives with his wife and two children.

Campaign Platform

  • Outspoken proponent for arts, libraries and cultural institutions and advocate for art and music in school curriculum.
  • Fights for immigrants’ rights by providing access to higher education. Supports increasing minimum wage and women’s equality by closing the gender gap.
  • Supports increased ethics and transparency within New York State government.
  • Introduced a bill to mandate New York State Health department to conduct a study on the high asthma rates in the Bronx. The bill passed both chambers and is awaiting the Governor Andrew Cuomo’s signature.

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