Incumbent Assemblyman Linares battles for reelection for District 72

Incumbent Democrat Guillermo Linares seek reelection for State Assembly. Credit: Campaign Website

By Emily Harris

Democrat Guillermo Linares is running for reelection in Assembly District 72, after an unsuccessful bid to take retiring Congressman Charlie Rangel’s seat in June.

He faces Carmen De La Rosa and George Fernandez in Tuesday’s primary.

Linares, who emigrated from the Dominican Republic in 1966, obtained his Ph.D. in education from Columbia University Teachers College and became a school teacher in Washington Heights.

After leaving education to pursue a career in politics, Linares became the first Dominican to hold a position in public office in New York City when he served in the New York City Council from 1992 to 2001. He later served as commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs in 2011-2012.

Linares was originally elected to Assembly in 2010, serving a single two-year term. He was elected again for the post in 2014.

Linares, 65, has a track record of supporting public schools and pushing for education reform District 72. Linares is specifically campaigning to increase the graduation rate.

He has raised $21,939 as of September, according to the state Board of Elections campaign finance unit.

Linares currently lives with his wife, Evelyn, in Marble Hill.

Campaign Platform

–Supports public schools

–Fights for immigrant rights

–Advocates for affordable housing initiatives

–Protects rights of and pushes for healthcare reform for the elderly


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

Robert Jackson gives state Senate another run in District 31

Robert Jackson is in a four-way race for District 31’s state Senate seat. Credit: Campaign website

By Summer Meza

Former City Council member Robert Jackson is running once again for the District 31 state Senate seat.

Born and raised in Northern Manhattan, Jackson unsuccessfully ran against incumbent Adriano Espaillat in 2014. He turned instead to a campaign for the district leader position, which he has held since 2015.

Jackson, 63, has focused on education throughout his career, serving as a community school board president and the chair of the education committee while on City Council. He also helped form the Uptown Community Democrats, a group that backed him in his run for district leader. He was co-chair for the Black, Latino and Asian Caucus and was the only Muslim City Council member during his term from 2002 to 2013.

After losing a bid for the borough presidency in 2013 and losing to Espaillat in 2014, by a 50.3 percent to 42.7 percent vote, Jackson is relying on the endorsement of the New York State United Teachers for this campaign.

He has also received support from Congressman Charles Rangel, former Mayor David Dinkins, state Senator Bill Perkins and Assemblyman Keith Wright.

He has raised $118,920 as of Sept. 11, according to the state Board of Elections.

Jackson’s opponents on Tuesday are Micah Lasher, Marisol Alcantara and Luis Tejada.

Campaign platform:

  • Fully fund both CUNY and SUNY’s operating budgets with no tuition increase.
  • Allow Election Day voter registration.
  • Expand background checks and close loopholes to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers, those on the terror watch list and the mentally ill.
  • Stop “out-of-context luxury developments like Sherman Plaza that will cause gentrification and displacement.” The Inwood housing project, which died last month in the City Council, would have changed the zoning to allow developers to build a tall building in exchange for including affordable housing units.

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

Fernandez fights to take over Assembly District 72 seat

Fernandez with his two youngest sons. Credit: Campaign Website

By Danielle Prager

George Fernandez, 43, is challenging incumbent Democrat Guillermo Linares for his Assembly District 72’s seat in Washington Heights and Inwood.

Fernandez said he had a tough upbringing, which led to his serving two, six-year prison sentences for armed robbery and driving on a suspended licence.

Crediting his tumultuous early years to a “very poor, dysfunctional home,” Fernandez has since dedicated his life to helping those with similar backgrounds. He has worked as a social worker and has placed a strong priority on reorganizing homes in hopes of creating a safer, more productive environment for his community.

“I’m not playing catch up with the streets, I’m playing catch up with my life,” he said.

Fernandez served as chairman of Community Board 12 from 2013 to 2015 and is currently the council leader of Division 376 for the Public Employees Federation.

Fernandez is Puerto Rican, setting him apart from a large portion of the Dominican community he hopes to represent, as well as from his two opposing candidates, Carmen De La Rosa and Linares.

He has raised $12,000 through Aug. 5, according to the state Board of Elections.

Campaign Platform

  • Values job creation
  • Protects small business
  • Prioritizes affordable housing
  • Against rezoning Inwood properties
  • Supports public school education with smaller classrooms

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.