Candidates Forum for New York State Senate Races
Join us for a Candidates Forum for the New York State Senate races. We’re inviting all of the candidates for these races to attend, introduce themselves, and answer questions from our staff and members about key environmental issues impacting our community. RSVP here.
Tell us about who you are and why you are running for office, including your core values and vision:
Shana Harmongoff – New York State Senate District 32 Candidate (Democrat)
I am Shana Harmongoff, a native New Yorker. I have been involved in community service since I was 8 years old, volunteering at the Salvation Army and other organizations in the community of Harlem. It was my love of service and experience helping people at such a young age that inspired me to go to law school, in order to utilize my legal skills to fight for the betterment of my Harlem community and other communities like Harlem.
As a Harlem and District 30 resident, there is much to be proud of when you think about the historic significance of Harlem and its surrounding communities. Harlem is known globally and is a key tourist attraction because of its stellar history and reputation for making local, national and worldwide contributions to the arts, social justice movements, and to the literary sector. As someone who was born and raised in Harlem by a mother and father who were both civically engaged, I am keenly aware of my purpose to play an essential role – with my neighbors – to honor our past achievements while building on them through present actions that will create a better future for all.
When I think about the work that it will take to do that and my role in it, my mind immediately goes to the office of State Senate, which is where I have spent the last 4.5 years as District Office Director for the previous District 30 Senator working with community leaders to improve the lives of those in this district and our neighbors throughout the state.
Via my work with the Senate, I am proud of having addressed issues that enabled our seniors and others to stay in their homes during a time where it is getting harder and harder to do so because of our ever rising affordable housing crisis. I am proud to have identified and secured funding for local organizations throughout our district who are providing various services to those most in need. During our present time of incredible struggle and hardship for our district and neighbors, I am proud of my COVID19 response leadership efforts, where I have lead in providing meals and PPE; helped to secure hundreds of vaccination sign-ups for our neighbors needing assistance doing so; and worked to prevent evictions by getting the word out about the state’s rental assistance program.
While our district and state has much to be proud of, there is still much work to be done to address the multitude of racial and economic disparities that exist in our various neighborhoods and throughout our state. Much of those disparities were exposed even more so through the ongoing COVID19 pandemic, when you think about access to healthcare; the digital divide as it relates to broadband access for students; the need for worker protections and economic justice for essential, low paid workers; where and who is most susceptible to eviction; etc.
I want to be District 30’s next State Senator because I want to use legislative power to address a myriad of issues, like my core issues which include: Protecting LGBTQ+ Rights; Advocating for Seniors; Securing Economic Justice & Worker Rights for Essential Workers; Bringing an end to gun violence and domestic violence; and Addressing Health Care Disparities.
I envision a Harlem where: our seniors can age in dignity; long-time residents can afford to stay and raise a family; young people have access to a quality education, free extracurricular activities, and jobs; mental healthcare facilities are present, free and accessible; those experiencing street homelessness and other attributing issues have access to supportive housing and wrap-around services; and gun violence is no longer an issue.
Cordell Cleare – New York State Senate District 32 Candidate (Democrat)
I have lived and worked in this district all my life. I have been fighting for these communities and my neighbors for my entire career and I’m so proud to represent them in Albany.
I am many things – a mother, an activist, an organizer, a community member, and a legislator and a proud daughter of Harlem. I have dedicated my whole life to serving my community and I was so proud and so very humbled to be chosen by my community to represent them in Albany last year. I am running because I have been doing the work for years and know how much more there is to be done. I started as a tenant organizer, chaired the Coalition to End Lead Poisoning, fought for landmark health and housing legislation, co-founded the Michelle Obama Democratic Club, served as president of School Board 3 & CEC 3, and as an elected District Leader. My core value is service to others and my vision is to see all of our communities and especially our marginalized communities – black and brown communities, immigrant communities, working class communities, and more – lifted up together in a city that prioritizes equity, affordability, and justice.
My entire career has been about working together with community organizations and bridging the gap between community and government. Even now, in office, I work hard everyday to make sure that people are being heard – by me, by Albany, and by agencies across the city. Change happens – progress happens – when the grassroots organizers and everyday residents are able to engage with policymakers and elected officials in deep partnership.
My priority is to fight for equity and opportunity for marginalized communities. I am working to ensure that those financially impacted during the COVID-19 pandemic are taken care of and can stay in their homes; that gun violence prevention is a top priority so that our communities, especially our young people, feel safe going to and at school, while at work and out in the community; and that MWBE small business can thrive by providing financial and technical support. As Housing Chair of the BPHA Caucus in Albany, I am fighting for fair and affordable housing and I am working to build a city where everyone has a safe and dignified place to live and grow. That means building more senior and supportive housing, preserving affordable housing, passing Good Cause Eviction, fully funding NYCHA and keeping it public, and so much more.
Angel Vasquez – New York State Senate Candidate District 33 Candidate (Democrat)
A Modern, Progressive Vision for the 33rd Senatorial District
Every day I see my experience, as an immigrant, an educator, a public servant, and a man of color reflected back in my neighbors. I owe my success to my parents and the sacrifices they made, but also to my teachers and to the diverse community around me who put the needs of others first. This is why I have dedicated my life to public service and why I am running for State Senate to continue that work.
As we rebuild and rebound from the pandemic, we have the opportunity to create a new normal by embracing a bold change and taking real action that improves lives.
As a public school teacher, a government Chief of Staff, and labor union policy expert, I have seen incremental progress be made. More often than not, I have witnessed the government bogged down by inertia, inaction, and inability to imagine new ideas.
As the next State Senator for northern Manhattan I will create a culture of unity, inclusion, and creative vision to deliver meaningful and tangible progress for the district’s students, families, and workers. I look forward to meeting you on the campaign trail and working together to build a better future!