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

Appel faces uphill battle to win Assembly seat


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.

Longtime Assemblyman Herman D. Farrell, Jr. seeks to sweep another election

Assemblyman Herman Farrell has represented District 71 since the 1970s. Credit: New York State Assembly

By Emily Churchill

Democrat Herman D. Farrell, Jr., has a long history in State Assembly District 71. This lifelong Harlem resident has represented his neighborhood since 1974 and has been chair of the Ways and Means Committee since 1994.

He faces Republican Vanessa Stanback in the general election on November 8.

Farrell, 84, won his last election in 2014 with 93.5 percent of the vote, according to Ballotpedia. In addition to Ways and Means, Farrell serves on the Rules Committee, the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus and the Puerto Rican / Hispanic Task Force.

Among his accomplishments are the passage of the Ominbus Consumer Protection and Banking Legislation Act and the Neighborhood Preservation Companies Act. The former includes such provisions as requiring banks to provide low-cost lifeline checking accounts, and the latter allows states to grant money to tenant advocacy groups. His most recent actions include touring the conversion of Public School 186 into affordable apartments and a Boys & Girls Club. The ribbon-cutting for this project is scheduled for October.

He has three children and two granddaughters.

As of September 10, Farrell has raised $102,250 in contributions for 2015 and 2016, according to the New York State Board of Elections.

Farrell’s significant focuses are:

Farrell is involved with the Black and Puerto Rican Caucus’ scholarship program and frequently visits local schools and organizations to discuss education funding and school quality. In addition, as chair of Ways and Means, Farrell supported the 2016-2017 state budget, which increased education aid by $1.47 billion. 

Farrell visits and speaks with members of his community frequently to clarify and discuss concerns relating to the cost of housing. He co-sponsored Bill A07526, which deals with enhancing “tenant protections for rent regulated tenants.”

Farrell wants to increase the usage of green technology, not only for the positive ecological impact, but also for improving air quality. In addition, Farrell has raised concerns about the environmental impact of hydrofracking (a process in which highly pressurized water is driven into a drilled well to extract natural gas) throughout New York.

Republican Girodes runs a third time for state senate

Jon Girodes attends an event for the Women’s National Republicans Club. Credit: Campaign website

By Tom Piccolo

Jon Girodes is hoping the third time is the charm for his bid to represent heavily Democratic Harlem in the statehouse. 

Girodes, 39, is running as a Republican for State Senate in Manhattan’s 30th District, where he will square off against incumbent Bill Perkins in November for the second time in two years. 

In 2014, Girodes came up short, garnering 4.6 percent of the vote to Perkins’ 87 percent. In 2010, prior to 2012 redistricting, he ran for State Senator of District 28 against incumbent Jose Serrano. He won 7 percent of the vote, compared to Serrano’s 91 percent.

Girodes and his two brothers were raised by their single mother in East Harlem. He graduated from Northeastern University in 2000 with a finance/economics degree. Since 2007, he has worked as the founder and CEO of Girodes Incorporated, a tax accounting firm that also provides credit and debt counseling services.

Girodes has raised $0 for his campaign, according to the state Board of Elections. He also has a GoFundMe page that has no contributions.

“They call me Trump Junior,” says Girodes, referring to his candid, “meat-and-potatoes” personality.

Campaign Platform

  • Will cut down on long-term government assistance programs to promote financial independence
  • Will work to improve air quality and water potability
  • Strongly supports charter schools
  • Pledges to “provide fair and even distribution of affordable housing to those in need”
  • Will improve roads by filling potholes