Two weeks ago, the Bronx News Network asked candidates in 33rd District senate race to answer, in writing, a number of questions which we hope will shed light on where they stand politically, their position on key issues in the community, and what they would do if elected.
In the coming days we're going to post their unedited answers on this blog, a few at a time.
There are four candidates in the race - Pedro Espada, Jr. (the incumbent), Daniel Padernacht, Gustavo Rivera, and Fernando Tirado - which is turning into one of the most watched in the city.
Padernacht, Rivera, and Tirado got back to us with answers, but Espada didn't. In an e-mail, a staffer of his wrote: "Thank you for the survey, however we will not be participating at this time. The Senator's positions will be made available via other media, including his website and Facebook, at a later date."
QUESTION: Will you serve as a full-time legislator? If not, what other jobs will you also keep?
RIVERA: I will gladly and willingly serve as a full-time legislator whether the law is changed or not. I have been a university professor for 11 years and a part time faculty member for last 6 years at Pace University. I would love to be able to continue to teach if I am elected, which is the only job I would consider keeping – but only if it doesn’t interfere with my legislative duties and is not deemed a conflict of interest.
TIRADO: Currently, I have no other plans other than to serve as a full-time legislator.
QUESTION: How would you describe yourself politically (e.g. liberal, conservative, etc.)? Name three political figures you admire. What books have you read recently?
PADERNACHT: Politically, I would describe myself as a reasonable progressive. Three political figures that I admire are Bill Clinton, John Kennedy, and Abraham Lincoln. I am currently reading Meditations by Marcus Aurelius.
RIVERA: I am a progressive. I believe we must address the basic issues: quality education, universal healthcare, pensions for retirees, unemployment, and regulation of business to protect hard-working families.
President Obama is a great example of a progressive elected official committed to serving his community and I was honored to play a key role in the 2008 presidential race, witnessing first-hand an incredible movement that inspired my generation. I also admire Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who is a Bronx heroine in every way and the best sort of role model anyone from the Bronx can have. Of course, the dedication and passion of Cesar Chavez is an inspiration to political organizers everywhere.
The three books I have read most recently are: The Power Broker by Robert Caro; Millenial Makeover: MySpace, YouTube, and the Future of American Politics by Morley Winograd and Michael D Hais; and Last Words by George Carlin.
TIRADO: I consider myself to be more closely associated with Conservative or Centrist Democrats / Blue Dog Democrats in ideology. I believe strongly in having an efficient government that practices transparency and does not turn a blind eye to wasteful or needless spending.
Thomas Jefferson, Luis Muñoz Marín, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
American Gospel, The Faiths of our Fathers, and Warrior of the Light.
Editor's note: Tomorrow's post will include candidates' responses to questions about the Kingsbridge Armory and unemployment.