A Borough President for Kellner

Maloney, Lappin, Garodnick, Bing… Stringer!

Another uptown Democrat endorses Micah Kellner for Assembly. The release is after the jump.

— Azi Paybarah


— Kellner Pledges to Fight to Reform Legislature; Change Special Election Law & Abolish County Committee Process; Reject “Lulu” Bonus —

Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer today endorsed the candidacy of Democrat Micah Kellner for the 65th Assembly District seat (Upper East Side, Yorkville and Roosevelt Island), citing Kellner as the best candidate to help bring much needed reform to Albany’s State government.

Kellner has represented the 65th Assembly District as Democratic State Committeeman since 2004 and is a member of the Democratic State Committee’s Reform Caucus. “I am proud to endorse the candidacy of Micah Kellner to represent the Upper East Side and Roosevelt Island in the Assembly. Micah Kellner will be an outstanding, dedicated, and effective champion for comprehensive reform in the State Legislature. I have worked closely with him on important community issues facing the East Side and know that he will be a forceful voice when it comes to standing up for the needs of constituents,” said Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, a leading voice for reform in Albany during his distinguished twelve-year tenure in the State Assembly.

“Micah Kellner is the clear choice in this race for voters who want a legislator to build on rules reform that I implemented in the Assembly and to effectively partner with Governor Spitzer in his efforts to breathe new life into our state government,” Stringer continued.

Stringer’s reform proposals incorporated important recommendations made by Brennan Center for Justice of New York University. In endorsing Stringer’s candidacy when he ran for Manhattan Borough President last year, The New York Times cited Stringer’s “sterling reputation as a catalyst for reform,” writing that he “pushed hard to change the ossified rules in Albany, and stood up to angry colleagues on behalf of a reform requiring them to actually be present in the chamber to be recorded as voting. In six terms in Albany Mr. Stringer has shown himself to be committed to the principles of good government,” going on to praise Stringer’s plan, which he has since implemented, to “replace a patronage tree for community board appointees with a more merit-based system.”

Micah Kellner reiterated his outspoken commitment to advancing a principled reform agenda for the State Legislature. “Once elected I will work to reform Albany’s outdated, dysfunctional business-as-usual practices. I pledge to do my best to follow through in Pete Grannis’ giant footsteps as a champion of ethics, lobbying and campaign finance reform. I intend to meet that huge challenge by vigorously working to advance a major overhaul of the State Legislature’s outdated self-governing process. My reform platform includes pledges to:

Co-sponsor and advocate for legislation introduced by Assemblyman Michael Gianaris to create a double-blind independent redistricting commission to end gerrymandering, so voters once again pick their representatives instead representatives picking their voters ;

Facilitate the process of filing a ‘discharge petition’ to move an important bill directly to the floor for a full vote if it is blocked in committee or by the leadership;

Make holding office in the State Legislature a full time job;

Join Govenor Spitzer in supporting full public financing for state campaigns through the implementation of “Clean Money Clean Elections” reforms;

Advocate for the creation for a standing conference committee and a regularized process to negotiate differences between similar bills that lack identical language;

Support Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s reforms to review and register all “member items”;

Move to enact term limits on chairs and leadership positions in the Assembly, including Speaker;

Abolish ‘lulu’ bonuses given to chairs, ranking members, and other leadership positions, and refuse to accept one if offered;

Work to ensure that committee members of each party have the ability to elect their own chairs and ranking members;

Fight to allow chairs and ranking members to hire and fire their own committee staff;

Fight to ensure all Assemblymembers receive equal staff budgets and resources, regardless as to party affiliation or length of service;

Change New York State’s arcane special election law that requires that party county committees elect party nominees in the event of an irregularly occurring vacancy in either the State Legislature or in one of New York State’s congressional districts;

Sponsor and fight to secure passage of legislation providing for an abbreviated primary for each party in special elections, with a reduced signature-gathering requirement to allow as many of each party’s voters as possible the chance to select their choice for public office;

Borough President Stringer said, “Micah Kellner will bring an important commitment to making the Legislature more open, transparent and responsive to both rank-and-file legislators and, most important, to the people whom they serve. We need leaders in Albany who know how to forge coalitions and who will work with others to get the job done. Micah Kellner understands how to work with colleagues in government and will be a truly effective advocate for change as the next Assemblyman for the 65th District.”

Kellner, an aide to several elected officials serving Manhattan’s East Side, was endorsed last week by Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Councilmembers Jessica Lappin and Daniel Garodnick, and Assemblyman Jonathan Bing, who, like Stringer, represent all or part of Upper East Side or Roosevelt Island.

Leading Democrats and activists who have endorsed Kellner’s candidacy include:

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney;

Councilwoman Jessica Lappin;

Councilman Daniel Garodnick;

Assemblyman Jonathan Bing;

Frank Wilkinson, the senior Democratic District Leader in the 65th A.D.;

Pauline Dana-Bashian, Democratic District Leader of the 65th A.D.;

Betsy Feist, President, East Side Democratic Club;

Jerome Tarnoff, Secretary, New York County Democratic Committee;

Ronnie Terr, former Democratic District Leader, 65th A.D.;

Ken Mills, 65th A.D. Democratic County Committee Member & former Democratic District Leader;

Barry Klein, former President, Manhattan Young Democrats and former Democratic candidate, 65th A.D.;

Brad Hoylman, Democratic District Leader and former President, Gay & Lesbian Independent Democrats;

Dirk McCall, former President, Stonewall Democratic Club;

Alexander Wood, past 504 Democratic Club President & 2004 Democratic Nat’l. Convention Delegate;

Margie Smith, Member, Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Common Council*;

Steve Marcus, former President and current Member, RIRA Common Council*;

James Whalen, Executive Committee Member, Lenox Hill Democratic Club and Member, RIRA Common Council*;

Roslyn Fernandez, 65th A.D. Democratic County Committee Member from Roosevelt Island;

Brian Chenensky, Executive Committee Member, Lenox Hill Democratic Club;

Josephine Barnes, Executive Committee Member, Lenox Hill Democratic Club;

and Animal Friendly NYC.

Micah Kellner has pledged to make a top legislative priority to work with Manhattan Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal to pass legislation changing the special election law. This bill would allow each political party to hold a primary in the case of a vacancy in State or Congressional office occurring between regularly scheduled elections. “I intend to be the last one out of the room to turn the lights out on the arcane special election law that bars parties from holding primaries in special elections,” said Kellner. Assemblywoman Rosenthal’s legislation, introduced in the last session of the Legislature, will be re-introduced this year, and Kellner has pledged to work with her to advance the bill immediately upon assuming office in the Assembly.

A Borough President for Kellner