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StreetsPAC Releases Second Round of Albany Endorsements

StreetsPAC released its second round of endorsements for the state legislature today (the first round is here), announcing its support for State Senate and Assembly candidates in Queens, Brooklyn, and Suffolk County.

“We really value the chance to meet with candidates, hear their stories and discuss how we can work together to improve the streets of their districts,” said StreetsPAC board member Hilda Cohen in a press release. “Dell Smitherman told us about how he’d counted the 97 stairs between the Livonia Street L station and the Junius Street 3 station, which have no elevators. It’s hard, though, when we’re faced with two strong candidates and have to make tough choices, as was the case in the 51st Assembly District race. Ceasar Zuniga impressed us all, but Felix Ortiz’s experience carried the day.”

In Senate District 11, covering northeast Queens, StreetsPAC endorsed incumbent Tony Avella over former City Council member and city comptroller John Liu. Avella serves on the Senate transportation committee, and according to StreetsPAC supports increasing bus service in his district, as well as "real Bus Rapid Transit" on Northern Boulevard and "other main thoroughfares." Avella wants Albany's time and day restrictions on NYC speed cameras lifted, StreetsPAC says, and plans to introduce a home rule bill for speed and red-light cams. Paul Gilman is the Green Party candidate in the district.

Long-time Red Hook and Sunset Park rep Felix Ortiz is the StreetsPAC pick for Assembly District 51. Ortiz championed the first ban on handheld cell phones in the U.S., says StreetsPAC, and he intends to introduce a bill to require release of a driver's phone records after a crash suspected to have been caused by distraction. Ortiz wants a "protected bike 'highway'" on Third Avenue to connect his district with Downtown Brooklyn, StreetsPAC says. Ceasar Zuniga will challenge Ortiz in the Democratic primary. Conservative Party candidate Sandra Palacios-Serrano is also running for the District 51 seat.

StreetsPAC backs another term for Nily Rozic, who serves Flushing and Fresh Meadows in Assembly District 25. Elected in 2012, Rozic is the youngest woman in the state legislature. A bike commuter herself, Rozic wants more bike infrastructure in her district, StreetsPAC says, and "real Bus Rapid Transit" between Flushing and Jamaica. Rozic wants all NYPD officers in Queens to have traffic enforcement equipment and be trained on new traffic safety laws. Rozic is unopposed in the primary and the general.

In East New York, StreetsPAC has selected Dell Smitherman over Senate District 19 incumbent John Sampson, who is currently under federal indictment. "Smitherman will work to give dangerous Linden Boulevard a complete-street treatment, and will advocate for the restoration of several bus routes in the district," says StreetsPAC. Other items on Smitherman's agenda: removing Albany restrictions on traffic cameras and improving accessibility at elevated train stations. Elias J. Weir and Sean K. Henry will also be on the District 19 primary ballot.

In the general election, StreetsPAC supports Jason Zove against six-term incumbent Mike Fitzpatrick in Suffolk County's Assembly District 8. Zove will advocate for "making Long Island’s towns and villages safer for pedestrians and cyclists, including widening sidewalks, implementing more crosswalks and expanding the bike-lane network," according to StreetsPAC, as well as more north-south transit connections and dedicated bus lanes.

New York State primaries will be held September 9, followed by the general election on November 4.

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