Unemployed single mother runs as Republican in Assembly District 70

Heather Tarrant takes the subway to the Metropolitan Republican Club, hoping to raise money for her campaign. Credit: Somayeh Malekian/The North Polls

By Somayeh Malekian

Heather Tarrant introduces herself on her flyers as a candidate of the Independence and Reform parties before listing herself as a Republican. She is running for Assembly District 70 seat in Central Harlem.

Democrat incumbent Keith Wright, who currently holds the seat, is stepping down after losing his bid to take over Charlie Rangel’s congressional post. Tarrant’s rival in the November general election is City Councilwoman Inez Dickens, a Democrat.

Tarrant, who declined to give her age, is a single mother of a daughter and has lived in Central Harlem since 1999.

She got her bachelor’s degree in economics from University of Rochester in the 1990s. She worked in marketing at different financial companies on Wall Street. However, she resigned after 9/11, after getting asthma and not feeling comfortable with the security conditions at her workplace. She tried to become an actress, but was not successful. Tarrant is currently unemployed.

There is no financial filing listed in the state Board of Elections Financial Disclosure Database for Tarrant.

“I am not running to lose. I am running to give people a chance to choose. Otherwise, it would be just Democrats making decisions for people,” Tarrant said.

Campaign platform

  • Pro Choice
  • Pro Black Lives Matter
  • Pro Student
  • Pro Small Business

Dickens runs to represent Harlem

Inez Dickens,  a lifelong Harlem resident, is running for Keith Wright’s state Senate seat. Credit: New York City Council

By Alaina Raftis

City Councilwoman Inez Dickens is a lifelong New Yorker and multi-millionaire. She’s running for the Senate District 70 seat of Keith Wright, who is stepping down after 23 years following an unsuccessful bid to succeed Charlie Rangel in Congress.

Dickens, married with no children, is one of New York’s wealthiest elected public officials, according to the Observer. Her current base salary at the City Council, where she’s served since 2005, is $112,500. But she is worth over $2.1 million dollars due to her family’s involvement in real estate development.

Earlier this year, she and other City Council members requested and received a $36,000 pay raise. She told the commission she didn’t deserve to be “‘penalized’ for becoming a ‘public servant’,” according to DNAinfo.com.

She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in land economics from New York University.

Earlier this year, Dickens, 67, was fined $3,500 for violating of election fundraising rules, according to DNAinfo. The Dickens Committee also violated fundraising laws in 2009 and was fined $1,452, according to city Campaign Finance Board records.

She will face Republican Heather Tarrant in November’s general election.

Dickens received $298,822 in contributions for 2015 and 2016, according to the state Board of Elections.

Campaign platform

  • Favors childcare tax credit and charter schools, such as the Harlem Children Zone charter school at St. Nicholas housing development
  • Supports the needs of women and children
  • Established the “Healthy Feet for Healthy Living” project, which provides children in New York City public schools with public health, outreach and screenings to address ill foot health. Foot problems can lead to mobility issues and obesity
  • Supports Project Greenhope, which provides women leaving prison temporary housing
  • Worked with the Department of Housing Preservation and Development to secure a rent free place for anti-violence group, Harlem Mother’s S.A.V.E.
  • Supported the development of 10 community gardens in vacant urban spaces, instead of turning them into a housing development
  • Opposed the rezoning plan along 125th Street in Harlem because of her concerns of gentrification, overdevelopment and displacement

Micah Lasher – the outsider with insider connections

Lasher hands out leaflets outside of a Morningside Heights supermarket. Credit: Elizabeth Haq/The North Polls

By Elizabeth Haq

Touting his experience and lofty connections, Micah Lasher is running for State Senate in a four-way race for Manhattan’s District 31

The 34-year-old was most recently chief of staff to Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. He has criticized opponent Marisol Alcantara for her alliance with the Senate Independent Democratic Conference, a five-member coalition of independent Democrats and Republicans.

His other challengers are Robert Jackson and Luis Tejada.

Lasher, who served as director of state legislative affairs under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, lives in the Upper West Side with his wife and three young children. He seeks to represent an sprawling district that spans Chelsea, Clinton, the Upper West Side, Morningside Heights, Hamilton Heights, Washington Heights, Hudson Heights, Inwood and Marble Hill.

The political insider considers “reform revolution” a top priority, according to his website. He seeks to reduce campaign contribution limits and ban outside income for legislators. 

“Things are deeply broken in Albany,” Lasher said, when asked how the upcoming presidential election would affect New York State Senate. “In this election year…there’s an opportunity for a Democratic Senate and a shaking up of the power structure.” 

Lasher received $453,467 in contributions in 2016, according to the state Board of Elections. Donors include actor Aziz Ansari, high-profile lawyer David Boies, Two Trees Management Company, a real estate development firm, and Bloomberg-era colleagues Bradley Tusk, Michael Cardozo and Stuart Loeser, who collectively gave almost $20,000 this past summer.

Campaign Platform

  • Protect and expand affordable housing
  • Support and increase funding for public education at every level
  • Reform New York State Senate
  • Invest in sustainable energy
  • Support LGBT communities and abortion rights

Rodriguez runs for third term

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Assemblyman Robert Rodriguez is running for a third term. Credit: Campaign website

By Louis Baudoin-Laarman

Robert Jay Rodriguez, 40, has no Democratic challengers for his District 68 Assembly seat.

So the two-term assemblyman will face Republican candidate Daby Carreras in November.

A native of East Harlem, Rodriguez was immersed in city politics before he even started his political career, as he is the son of former New York Councilman Robert Rodriguez.

Since winning the District 68 seat, Rodriguez has often worked with State Senator José M. Serrano, who also represents East Harlem. Together, the two representatives frequently visit public facilities in their neighborhood to meet their constituents. 

This year, Rodriguez is also running on the Women’s Equality Party ticket.

Rodriguez received $268,616 in contributions for 2015 and 2016, according to the state Board of Elections.

Campaign platform

  • Creating the New York State Senior Center Council. The council is a legislative body that will discuss challenges facing senior centers across the state. The bill has been approved by the Assembly but still needs to be signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo.
  • Advocating for the Move New York Fair Plan, which aims to reform New York’s saturated transportation network through the establishment of tolls on seven of the city’s bridges on the East River and the extension of the public transportation network.

“For far too long there are communities in New York City that are cut off from mass transit,” said Rodriguez at a press conference.

  • Changing the current approach to arrests for marijuana possession. Rodriguez co-sponsored a bill to seal certain convictions for possession, which result in “closing doors … educational and work opportunities for tens of thousands of disproportionately affected black and brown people in low-income communities, who are suffering for an over policing in our communities,” he said on the Assembly floor in June.

De La Rosa fights to unseat incumbent Linares

Carmen De La Rosa commemorates the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks at the Good Shepherd RC Church in Inwood  on Saturday. Credit: Allana Haynes/The North Polls

By Allana Haynes

Carmen N. De La Rosa, 30, is running for the District 72 Assembly seat against George Fernandez and incumbent Guillermo Linares in Tuesday’s Democratic primary.

She was born in the Dominican Republic and immigrated to Inwood as a child. She was first person in her family to attend college, graduating from Fordham University with a degree in political science and a certification in peace and justice studies.

She was appointed chief of staff to Councilmember Ydanis Rodriguez in 2014, representing Washington Heights, Inwood and Marble Hill, and was elected as a Democratic district leader for the 72nd Assembly District in 2015.

She completed the Coro Leadership Institute, a civic leadership training program, in May and currently serves as a Democratic district leader of the 72nd Assembly District.

She currently resides on the same street she was raised with her fiancé, Jose and daughter, Mia, 2.

De La Rosa received $36,409 in contributions in 2016, according to the state Board of Elections.

“I can be that leader that will unify our community, that will stand up to the challenges at hand and take into consideration our community when making decisions,” said De La Rosa in an interview.

Her Campaign Platform:

  • Protect and enhance women’s rights
  • Ensure safe, beautiful streets and parks uptown
  • Protect the environment
  • Improve education

Perkins, a lifelong activist, runs for another state Senate term

Democratic State Senator Bill Perkins in his Harlem office . Credit: Bimina Ranjit/The North Polls

By Bimina Ranjit

Politics infected Bill Perkins at an early age.

Growing up during the era of civil rights movements, he has served as a community activist and politician all his life. Perkins, 66, a Democrat, represents District 30 in the New York State Senate. He has held the seat for the past decade. He also serves as deputy minority whip. The 30th Senate District incorporates Harlem, majority of East Harlem, the Upper West Side and Washington Heights.

Perkins has been a Harlem resident all his life. He lives with his wife, Pamela, and four children in Central Harlem. Perkins has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Brown University. His professional experience includes being the deputy majority leader for the New York City Council from 1998 to 2006.

He has raised $33,817 as of September 11, according to the state Board of Elections.

While he has no Democratic challengers, Perkins faces Republican Jon Girodes in November’s general election.

Listen to Perkins speak about his start in politics, the pressing issues in his district and the Presidential candidate Donald Trump, “He took his hood off.”

Campaign platform:

  • Supports public health
  • Supports equal educational opportunity for all
  • Advocates against wrongful imprisonment
  • Advocates against solitary confinement in prisons
  • Opposes racial, ethnic and religious profiling

O’Donnell seeks 8th term in Assembly

Daniel O’Donnell faces a challenge in Tuesday’s primary. Credit: Jessie Shi/The North Polls

By Jessie Shi

Daniel O’Donnell, 55, the first openly gay man elected to the New York State Assembly, is running for reelection to District 69, where he has served as the assemblyman for 14 years.

The district covers Manhattan Valley, Morningside Heights and the Upper West Side.

He faces a primary challenge Tuesday from Steven Appel, senior manager of communications and events at Working In Support of Education, a non-profit that promotes financial literacy.

During his terms, O’Donnell has promoted progressive legislation, including the Marriage Equality Act in 2011 that gave same-sex couples rights equal those enjoyed by opposite-sex couples. He lives with his husband, John Banta, in Morningside Heights.

“I believe my neighborhood deserves representation from somebody who’s from it and somebody who knows it, and I’m sure that’s me,” O’Donnell said in an interview Thursday.

O’Donnell has raised $94,682 through Sept. 12, according to the state Board of Elections.

Campaign Platform
— Equal rights for all couples
— Protecting all public students from bullying
— Ending sexual harassment for all, including unpaid interns
— Holding prisons accountable through independent Ombudsman oversight
— Preserving the landscape of Morningside Heights Historic District