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What You Need to Know If You’re Voting on Campus This Election

By Aliya Bashir


Elections, elections, elections – the hallmark of adulthood. Whether you’re new to voting or not, the political saga of the last few years has been nearly impossible to avoid from landmark SCOTUS decisions to the Jan. 6 committee hearings – and this election season is no different.


"The right to vote is too often taken for granted. Your vote is your voice to the government, and if you do not use it someone else will end up speaking for you” says Chet Guenther, project coordinator of the Purchase NYPIRG chapter. "Students have the power to make a future better suited for themselves and others, your votes can lower the cost of tuition, reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and so much more. So go to the polls and vote, we all depend on it."


In the days coming up before the election, the state is abuzz with anticipation between Gov. Kathy Hochul (Dem.) and competitor Lee Zeldin’s (Rep.) race for New York State Governor, which may possibly turn the once undeniably blue state red and flip the majority in Congress to Republicans.


While the race for governor is undeniably the focal point of this election season, there are a number of other positions on the ballot for Purchase College’s district. If you’re voting on campus, here’s what you need to know:


County Court Judge (Westchester)


Candidate: Maurice D. Williams (Dem.)

Background: Williams has served the Westchester community for over 16 years as a litigator in criminal and family courts with a focus on criminal, family, and immigration law. His most notable work includes representing youths charged with criminal offenses, earning him a seat on the Raise-the-Age Panel for Westchester County Courts in 2018.



Supreme Court Justice (9th Judicial District)


What to Know: The Ninth Judicial District has jurisdiction over five counties in the greater Hudson Valley region: Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, Dutchess, and Orange County.



Candidate: Robert S. Cypher Jr. (Rep.)

Background: With over 42 years of experience as a lawyer and judge, the former U.S. Marine and volunteer firefighter was elected to the Rye City Council in 2001 and Rye City Judge from 2014 to 2020. His expertise ranges from medical malpractice to international criminal law and is currently a senior trial attorney with O’Connor McGuiness Conte Doyle Oleson Watson & Loftus, LLP in White Plains.



Candidate: Sherri Eisenpress (Dem.)

Background: Eisenpress currently oversees Rockland County’s Integrated Domestic Violence Court and Youth Court and played an integral role in passing the Raise-the-Age legislation in New York. In addition to her decades of legal experience, the judge has also served numerous civic service titles and as an Adjunct Professor of Law at New York Law School.


Candidate: Joseph Farca (Rep.)

Background: Farca has served the greater metropolitan New York Area since 1996 after graduating from Columbia University and Fordham Law School. He has previously worked at the Queens County Supreme Court, and the Brooklyn U.S. Attorney’s Office, and is currently a member of the Young Israel Scarsdale Synagogue and a Community Security Service volunteer.





(Photo via Facebook)


Candidate: Kerri A. Fiore (Dem.)

Background: Currently serving as a support magistrate in Yonkers Family Court, Fiore dedicates her work to accessing justice and diversity. Her campaign is defined in four terms: “experience, empathy, equity, and integrity” as noted on her campaign site; assuring voters that she is a judge who aims to “identify and overcome intention and unintentional berries arising from bias or systemic structures.”



(Photo via fiore4supreme.com)


Candidate: Elena M Goldberg-Vasquez (Dem., Con.)

Background: Elected to the Yonkers City Court in 2019, Goldberg-Velazquez worked at the New York State Supreme Court Appellate Division First Department for nearly a decade. She currently presides over integrated domestic violence matters as an Acting Family Court Judge.



Candidate: Richard J Guertin (Rep.)

Background: Guertin has primarily focused on representing the greater Orange County area (across the Hudson River from Purchase). In addition to his time as a lawyer and judge, Guertin is also an adjunct professor at Orange County Community College and recipient of the SUNY Chancellor’s Award and SUNY Orange President’s

(Photo via judgeguertin.com)

Award for Excellence in Adjunct Teaching.


Candidate: Anne E. Minihan (Dem., Con.)

Background: Minihan has held a number of judicial positions dating back to 2006 including Village Justice for Croton-on-Hudson, Senior Principal Court Attorney (appellate and supreme court); and currently resides as an acting Supreme Court Justice of New York’s Ninth Judicial District serving as the district’s administrative judge.



Candidate: Linda M. Murray (Rep.)

Background: Murray currently serves as a confidential legal advisor to two Poughkeepsie city court judges where 40 of her drafted decisions were selected for publication by the New York Law Bureau. “There are certain characteristics a judge should have: Someone who is firm yet compassionate; has common sense, humility, exposed to all walks of life,” she states on her campaign page.




Candidate: Amy S. Puerto (Dem.)

Background: Serving the Ninth District for over 20 years, Puerto currently serves as the principal court attorney for Judge Helen Blackwood in Westchester County Court. She has previously served as Deputy Chief of the Domestic Violence Bureau in the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office and is co-chair of the Westchester Women’s Bar Association’s Criminal Law Committee.


Candidate: John A. Sarcone (Rep., Con.)

Background: As an attorney, Sarcone has represented clients at nearly every level of the law in Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, Dutchess, Orange, and Bronx Counties. He has also served as the 14th Regional Administrator for the U.S. General Services Administration overseeing real estate and acquisition In NY, NJ, PR, and USVI (U.S. Virgin Islands).

(Photo via sarconeforny.com)


Candidate: David J. Squirrell (Dem., Con.)

Background: Squirrell began his legal career in 1990 at the New York County District Attorney’s Office under Robert Morgenthau, the longest-serving district attorney in New York history. Since then, Squirrel has gone on to represent hundreds of clients from individuals to government entities in the Ninth Judicial District and Appellate Division.





Candidate: David S. Zuckerman (Dem., Con.)

Background: Zuckerman most recently presided over the New York Supreme Court in Rockland County, County Court Judge in Dutchess and Putnam Counties, and City/Town Courts of Yonkers, Mount Vernon, Peekskill, White Plains, and Yorktown. He has previously served as the Democratic Party Leader and Delegate to the Democratic Party Supreme Court Convention for the Ninth Judicial District and is currently an adjunct professor of business law at Mercy College.


(Photo via Facebook)


U.S. Senate


What to Know: Each state elects two senators to the U.S. Senate which makes up half of Congress along with the House of Representatives, whose number per state is based on districts.


Candidate: Joe Pinion (Rep., Con.)

Background: Pinion is a political news commentator appearing on a number of networks including CNN and the host of his own show “Saturday Agenda” on Newsmax.





(Photo via joepinion.com)

Platforms:

-Targeting crime in New York City. “It started with the defunding of the police,” he writes on vote411.org, “And it will end when we empower law enforcement to hold those who break our laws accountable.”

-Rebuilding the economy and pulling the country out of inflation.

-Closing the education gap between students of color and white students. “60% of all children in New York State do not read at grade level. This past year over 75% of both [B]lack and Latino students in NYC did not pass the state math test,” he wrote.


Candidate: Diane Sare (Labor)

Background: Sare began her political career on statesman Lyndon LaRouche’s 1988 presidential campaign and went on to organize many of the late activist’s programs and campaigns. She’s previously run for New Jersey’s fifth congressional district in 2012 and 2014 where she, “[called] for the impeachment of then-president Barack Obama,” as she notes on her campaign website.


(Photo via sareforsenate.com)

Platforms:

-Reinstate the Glass Steagall Act and nationalize the Federal Reserve in response to economic decline.

-Create an FDR-style infrastructure program to ensure employment and decrease the unemployment rate.

-Collaborate with Russia, China, India, and Europe’s ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) and improve international space relations.


Candidate: Charles “Chuck” Schumer (Dem.)

Background: In recent years, incumbent Sen. Schumer (who is running for re-election this year) is best known as the Senate Majority Leader in the U.S. Senate under the Biden Administration and played an integral role in numerous landmark legislations such as legalizing marijuana and the American Rescue Plan.



(Photo via chuckschumer.com)

Platforms:

-Decreasing income inequality.

-Taking action on the climate crisis.

-Restoring integrity in our elections and democracy.


Candidate: Kathy C. Hochul (Dem., WF)

Background: Hochul is the 57th Governor of New York and is the first woman to hold the title. Amidst the removal of her predecessor, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Hochul entered the role in August 2021 during the height of the delta variant in New York and since has stood at the forefront of New York’s most pressing issues including defending reproductive rights (in direct response to the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade this past

(Photo via kathyhocul.com)

summer), climate change initiatives, and rebuilding New York’s economy from the pandemic.

Platforms:

-Runningmate: Antonio Delgado for Lt. Governor.

-Fight for working families and supporting small businesses after the pandemic's impact.

-Removing illegal guns and creating a more equitable justice system.

-Expand access to affordable housing.

-See more here.


Candidate: Lee M. Zeldin (Rep., Con.)

Background: Zeldin previously served four years in the U.S. Army in Iraq before becoming a state senator, then a congressman representing New York’s first congressional district since 2015. As State Senator, Zeldin repealed the MTA payroll tax for 80% of employers and reduced middle-income tax rates in New York to the lowest level in 60 years. As Congressman, he led the expansion of the Dwyer Program, designed to assist veterans, and “[lead] the charge to end all COVID mandates” as his campaign page states.



(Photo via Facebook)

Platforms:

-Running mate: Alison Esposito for Lt. Governor.

-Repeal Cashless Bail and Less Is More Act.

-Institute a three-point plan for lowering energy costs in NY.

-Establishing term limits on elected official positions.


Candidate: Michael Henry (Rep., Con.)

Background: Henry is an attorney and owner of an NYC-based law firm that specializes in commercial litigation, creditor bankruptcy, and PACA (Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act) Trust. As a lawyer, he worked with asylees from China seeking refuge from religious persecution from the Chinese Communist Party and African women who were the victims of genetic mutilation.


(Photo via Facebook)

Platforms:

-Henry’s primary focuses target three issues as noted on his campaign site, "crime, corruption, and cost of living."

-Protect voter’s rights and institute fair districting lines.


Candidate: Letitia James (Dem., WF)

Background: Running for re-election, James was the first woman of color to hold a statewide government position in New York and the first woman to be elected as Attorney General. Her role as Attorney General has included tackling down drug and gun trafficking rings, exposing pandemic profiteers during the height of COVID, investigating potential fraud within the Trump Organization, and unearthing sexual harassment

(Photo via jamesforny.com)

evidence by former Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Platforms:

-Crackdown on investment scams, fraud, and tax evasion.

-Protecting Hudson River clean-up initiatives and other environmental affairs.

-Protecting civil rights with respect to voting, race, gender, sexuality, and reproductive rights.


Comptroller


What to Know: The State Comptroller serves as the senior-most fiscal advisor of the state budget.



Candidate: Thomas P. DiNapoli (Dem.)

Background: In his 10 terms as Assemblyman for Nassau County, DiNapoli advocated for a number of major issues including education, the environment, and local finance, and served as chair for several State Assembly committees including Ethics and Guidance, Consumer Affairs, Government Operations, and more. He was appointed Comptroller in 2007 and is running for re-election.


(Photo via Facebook; see campaign site here)

Platforms:

-Continue to adopt a climate action plan and eliminate greenhouse emissions by 2040.

-Expose fraud and corruption of taxpayer dollars.

-Inform taxpayers about what is happening in their communities.


Candidate: Paul Rodriguez (Rep.)

Background: As a global financial expert, Rodriguez served on Wall Street for over 25 years working with leading firms like Salomon Brothers and Merrill Lynch. “As a political outsider from the private sector, Paul is running to professionalize the Office of the Comptroller and serve as a much-needed watchdog for New York taxpayers and the state’s $212 billion budget,” states his campaign site.


Platforms:

-Remove political influence from the office of the Comptroller.

-Provide increased oversight to the state budget process.

-Expose major fraud, waste, and abuse of taxpayer dollars.


NY Congressional District 16


What to Know: New York’s 16th Congressional District includes Westchester County and parts of the Bronx. Congresspeople are elected to the House of Representatives and serve a two-year term.



Candidate: Jamaal Bowman (Dem.)

Background: The incumbent candidate began his professional career as an educator advocating for underprivileged communities and founded the Cornerstone Academy for Social Action (CASA) in the Bronx. Growing up in public housing, he witnessed social inequalities first-hand, prompting him to run for Congress during the height of the pandemic where he fought for access and

See his campaign site here (Photo via Facebook)

accountability in underserved communities such as encouraging FEMA to open vaccination sites across Yonkers and NYC.

Platforms:

-Institute multiple Green New Deal initiatives including moving to 100% clean and renewable energy by 2030.

-Continue the Care for All Agenda created by Bowman and Elizabeth Warren.

-Invest in affordable housing and stabilize national rent control.


Candidate: Miriam L. Flisser (Rep.)

Background: Flisser has previously served as Mayor, Police Commissioner, Fire Commissioner, and village board member in Scarsdale and currently serves as Medical Director to a number of schools and school districts throughout Westchester and the Bronx. “[Dr.Flisser’s] personal story is the American Dream,” says her campaign page. “...Making a life in a new country after the trauma of war in the old. Miriam’s

parents were resistance fighters who smuggled her out of Eastern Europe.”

Platforms:

-Control inflation and spending by strengthening the nation’s infrastructure.

-Prioritize public safety by supporting the repeal of New York’s cashless bail law.

-Improve the quality of education in New York schools and empower parental rights.


New York Senate (District 37)


What To Know: NYS Senate is the upper half of the New York State Legislature consisting of 63 senators who account for roughly 19 million New Yorkers. The 37th Senate District oversees the southern region of Westchester.


Candidate: Shelley Mayer (Dem., WF)

Background: Mayer is up for re-election this year and has held the State Senator seat since 2018 and also serves as the Chair of the NYS Senate Education Committee. “We have faced -- and will continue to face --many serious challenges, and local leadership matters more than ever because it’s what impacts daily life the most,” she writes on her campaign site.


(Photo via shelley4senate.com)

Platforms:

-Protecting reproductive and LGBTQIA+ rights.

-Continue to pass legislation addressing the climate crisis such as the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA).

-Support working families and labor unions.


Candidate: Frank F. Murtha (Rep.)

Background: Murtha, who earned his doctorate in Psychology at SUNY Buffalo, is a mental health professional with a specialization in child and adolescent care. While he is new to the political arena, he is an active member of his community and led a number of local initiatives including creating a community website to support local businesses, coaching little league, and

(Photo via murtha4senate.com)

establishing a men’s group at the Church of Immaculate Heart of Mary in Scarsdale.

Platforms:

-Increase public safety.

-Lower cost of living.

-Give parents a stronger voice in education.


New York Assembly (District 93)


What To Know: NYS Assembly is the lower branch of the state legislature. They work alongside the State Senate and State Governor to establish laws and New York’s state budget.



Candidate: Chris W. Burdick (Dem., WF)

Background: The incumbent assemblyman first joined the Assembly in January 2021, previously serving as Supervisor of Bedford where he was the first Democrat elected to the office in 30 years. In the Assembly, he serves as Chair of the Subcommittee on Employment Opportunities for People with Disabilities and sits on several additional committees including Correction,

(Photo via Facebook)

Environmental Conservation, Housing, and Veterans’ Affairs.

Platforms:

-Passing the Equal Rights Amendment.

-Continue enacting laws improving employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

-Secure funding for multiple environmental projects including clean water and road restoration.


Candidate: Gary N. Lipson (Rep., Con.)

Background: Lipson began his professional career in technology before transitioning to law where he’s been a registered patent attorney for the last 20 years and most notably served as a negotiator for IBM. “I am a businessperson and not a politician and will leverage my business/legal background in the State Assembly position,” he stated on vote411.org.

(Photo via gnl4assembly.com)

Platforms:

-Reduce inflation and boost the business climate in New York.

-Reverse the course on police funding to prevent crime.

-Give parents more control over their children’s education.


Issues on the Ballot: Clean Water, Clean Air, Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act


What To Know: The Act is designed to combat the growing climate crisis by permitting the sale of state bonds, which is expected to be around $4.2 billion, to fund projects including environmental protection, natural restoration, and clean energy amongst others. If passed in a majority vote, the budget will be distributed for the following projects:

-Restoration and flood risk reduction (approx. $1.1 billion)

-Open space land conservation and recreation (approx. $650 million)

-Climate change mitigation (approx. $1.5 billion)

-Water quality improvement and resilient infrastructure (approx. $650 million)


If You’re Voting From Home:

-If you aren’t traveling back home, make sure you have applied and sent in your mail-in ballot before or on election day.

-If you have not applied for an absentee ballot, you will need to travel home in order to vote for this election.

-If you will need an absentee ballot in future elections, you can fill one out here (or here for a Spanish form).


If You’re Voting on Campus:

-If you have registered to vote from your campus address, your polling location will be at Purchase and you will be voting for candidates in this district, not your home district.

-Polling will be held in the gymnasium on Election Day (Nov. 8).


For any additional information, including resources to register to vote, you can visit the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG) office located in Campus Center North.




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