PRIMARY GUIDE: 20th Senate District race

September 6, 2014 Helen Klein
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A born-and-bred Crown Heights resident, Rubain Dorancy is vying for the right to succeed Borough President Eric Adams as the state senator from the 20thSenatorial District as a “proud progressive.”

The child of Haitian immigrants, Dorancy – who served as deputy executive director at the city’s Department of Education where he oversaw youth development, operations and security at 375 schools — said his hard-working parents made sure that all of their six children got college educations. “The real American dream happened because of my parents’ commitment to education, and because of this country’s generosity and commitment to education,” he explained at a candidate forum in Sunset Park.

Not surprisingly, therefore, Dorancy lists among his priorities public education as well as affordable housing and expanding opportunities for local entrepreneurs.

“As your next state senator,” he told residents, “I will not only champion public education but will fight against any development that wants to price out residents. I am well versed in how government can expand opportunity through MBWE certification. We can protect and expand the middle class through the right leadership.”

In addition, Dorancy said he not only supports the Dream Act, he also supports the right of non-citizen residents to vote in local elections. “We can grant New York State citizenship,” he said. “If we do that, people will be able to vote for city councilperson, state assemblyperson or state senator.”

Dorancy also told the Sunset Park residents that, should he be elected, he would bring a satellite office to Sunset Park that would be fully staffed, with people speaking Mandarin and Spanish as well as English.


Jesse Hamilton, a Democratic district leader who is hoping to succeed now-Borough President Eric Adams as the state senator in the 20th Senatorial District, comes to his candidacy having worked for Adams in the district, as well as currently running the 20th S.D. community office which – despite having no state senator – has remained open to serve district residents.

Among Hamilton’s priorities are education and affordable housing. With respect to education, Hamilton said he opposes the co-location of charter schools with public schools, and also that there should be more vocational training, to give choices to students who might not be college-bound. “We can bring economic development to the district, but it doesn’t mean much if our children aren’t prepared for the jobs,” he said at a recent candidates forum.

A supporter of the Dream Act, Hamilton also supports municipal IDs, to enable people to do such tasks as opening bank accounts.

“People are working hard right now but they aren’t living the American dream,” Hamilton contends. “We have to get that dream back.”

Hamilton says he supports economic development for Sunset Park, but done the right way. “It shouldn’t mean people who live here are displaced,” he said. “Local small business owners should get subsidies. They have been here in the hard times. I want to make sure they stay here during the good times.”

Hamilton also said he supports an increase in the minimum wage. “It’s just way too low,” he stressed. “Where can you live, after taxes on $1,280 a month? I’ve seen some parts of the district where affordable housing means living in a shelter.”

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