The Bronx News Network recently 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. Last week, we published Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4. Today, we are focusing on social issues and legislative reform. Tomorrow, we will conclude our series with the candidates' views on independent redistricting and member items (discretionary funds intended for local nonprofit groups).
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."
I believe that no one’s civil rights should ever be infringed and only the individual can be held accountable for the choices they make in this life.
Regarding abortion rights, I strongly believe that life should be the first choice and that any efforts to promote adoption should be explored and exhausted before a decision to abort a pregnancy is made.
QUESTION: Name three things you would do to reform the legislative process in Albany?
PADERNACHT: Create a transparent process of passing legislation.
Cable telecasting of the sessions in both houses, live and repeats.
Require personal financial disclosures of candidates.
RIVERA: I’ll give you more than three things I would do to reform the legislative process:
I fully support Project Sunlight, which monitors government decision-making through an easily accessible website and advocates for full disclosure of public spending by any elected official.
I support reforming New York’s ethics laws through legislative rules reform and a more open budgetary process.
I support requiring public officials to abide by a “duty of faithful public service.”
I support FULL public financing of political campaigns.
I support non-partisan redistricting.
Create a truly independent, bipartisan supported, ethics oversight committee to severely limit the influences of the leadership of both houses on their peers and eliminate “Back-Door dealings”.
Full disclosures of an elected official’s outside income and require that individuals must comply with all campaign finance disclosure laws before being allowed to run as a candidate for elected office.
Empower the governed to enact legislation through the process of Initiative and Referendum as a way to curb the influence of special interests.
Additionally, I support the public financing of campaigns, including requiring that a percentage of primary campaign funding comes from within the area the candidates live. I also support the complete elimination of Political Action Committee (PAC) funding, including soft money and in-kind contributions.
NOTE: For previous installments, click on these links: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.