Edited by: TJVNews.com
The Jewish Voice endorses the following candidates in the upcoming primary New York City primary on June 22nd. This election is the most consequential in the history of our city. As we transition out of a crushing pandemic and begin yet a new chapter in our city’s recovery, we are beset with such serious issues as the staggering rate of violent crime, racial and religious tensions, anti-Asian and anti-Semitic attacks, the lack of affordable housing and healthcare, our failing public schools, the future of struggling small businesses and a growing concern for the general economic outlook.
Below are a list of candidates that the Jewish Voice firmly believes will serve our city and its residents with dedication, honor and a burning commitment to make a positive impact on each of our lives. Please get to know those who are seeking office as you explore their backgrounds, and learn about their qualifications for the office they are running for.
Eric Adams for Mayor
Eric Leroy Adams was born in the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn on September 1, 1960, the fourth of six children for his mother Dorothy, a house cleaner and cook, and his father Leroy, a butcher. Growing up in a working-class household in South Jamaica, Queens, Eric showed an early interest in computers, but was drawn to public service at the early age of 15 after he and his brother were beaten badly by police officers; the violent encounter would later motivate him to pursue a career in law enforcement, a decision reinforced by mentors like Reverend Herbert Daughtry and Jitu Weusi.
Following a public school journey capped by his graduation from Bayside High School, Eric went on to earn an Associate in Arts degree in data processing from the New York City College of Technology, a Bachelor of Arts degree in criminal justice from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and a Master of Public Administration degree from Marist College. Eric paid his way through his collegiate studies through a number of jobs, including work in the mailroom of an accounting firm, as a mechanic, and as a clerk in the Kings County District Attorney’s Office.
Eric graduated from the New York City Police Academy in 1984 as one of the highest-ranked students in his class. After initially serving with the New York City Transit Police Department, he was transferred to the New York City Police Department (NYPD) with the merging of the city’s police forces. During the course of his 22-year law enforcement career, Eric served in the 94th Precinct (Greenpoint), 88th Precinct (Clinton Hill and Fort Greene), and the 6th Precinct (Greenwich Village and West Village), where he retired at the rank of captain. As a member of New York’s Finest, Eric made the kind of life-and-death decisions that reflect insight, expertise, and poise under fire, earning him a reputation for going above and beyond the call of duty.
In 1995, Eric co-founded 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care, an advocacy group that rose to nationwide prominence speaking out against police brutality, racial profiling, and departmental diversity. He also served at one time as president of the Grand Council of Guardians, a statewide fraternal society for African-Americans in law enforcement. Through leadership roles in these organizations, Eric helped raise thousands of dollars for worthy causes across New York City.
Eric was elected to the first of four terms in the New York State Senate in 2006, where he represented a diverse range of neighborhoods across brownstone and central Brooklyn. During his tenure in the State Legislature, he chaired both the Veterans, Homeland Security, and Military Affairs Committee and the Racing, Gaming, and Wagering Committee. In 2013, Brooklynites elected Eric as the first person of color to serve as their borough president; he is currently serving his second term as Brooklyn’s chief executive.
In 2016, Eric was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Having lost vision in his left eye and suffering from nerve damage in his hands and feet, he went against the initial recommendations of his doctors and pursued a whole-food, plant-based diet. Within three months, Eric reversed his diabetes diagnosis, and he has subsequently been able to impact the health of countless New Yorkers facing chronic diseases, including his own mother.
Eric lives in Bedford-Stuyvesant, where he has resided for more than 20 years. He enjoys biking through his neighborhood, meditating, and exploring new cultures through travel. Eric is the proud father of Jordan, an aspiring filmmaker and graduate of American University.
Councilman Robert Cornegy for Bklyn Borough President
Few people can move in different circles and be equally at home and respected as Councilman Robert E. Cornegy, Jr. Combine talent and intellect, a commitment to service and the ability to foster deep connections, and you have Robert. The epitome of dualism, Robert’s rise in local, New York City (NYC) politics has been nothing short of remarkable.
As the NYC Council Member for the 36th District, Robert represents the people of Bedford Stuyvesant and Crown Heights, and has emerged as one of the most effective lawmakers in the city. In just four years, he has fulfilled every campaign promise he’s made and passed legislation in almost every committee on which he has served. Since his election in 2013, Robert has ushered an impressive number of substantive bills into law — virtually unheard of for a Council Member of his tenure.
Robert has also led the way in establishing District 36 as a worldwide cultural destination, making Bedford Stuyvesant and Crown Heights premier hot spots for tourists and natives alike. He appointed the first Director of Arts and Culture in the Council and has collaborated with local arts institutions, the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, neighborhood businesses and corporate sponsors like AirBNB, Uber and local galleries. From curated art walks and bus tours to award-winning plays in the park, Robert’s reverence for artists and desire to showcase their works continue to enrich a whole new generation of patrons.
Robert’s dynamism, tenacity and results-driven agenda are just a few of the reasons he was selected as a 2017-18 MIT CoLab Mel King Community Fellow, alongside a distinguished and accomplished group of leaders with exceptional achievements in social justice. During the 12-month fellowship, Robert collaborated and exchanged ideas with both civic and academic innovators around the world through field-based learning and sessions facilitated by MIT, including a trip to Mondragon, Spain to examine models of community and economic planning that have successfully advanced sustainability and inclusive development in economically marginalized urban communities. Over the course of the next four years, the fellows will advance a City- and State-focused policy agenda to create a more robust, equitable economy in NYC.
Alongside his legislative achievements, Robert is Chair of the Council’s Committee on Housing and Buildings, Chair of the Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprise Task Force (M/WBEs), Chair of the Democratic Conference, and a member of the influential Budget Negotiating Team (BNT). He is also an active member of the Committees on Economic Development; Education; Finance; State & Federal Legislation; and Rules, Privileges, and Elections.
Robert is a native of New York City. He attended St. John’s University, playing backup center for their historic 1984-5 Final Four team. He has a degree in Organizational Leadership and a Master’s in Organizational Management from Mercy College.
Robert and his wife, Michelle, have a blended family of six children and live in Bedford Stuyvesant.
Mark Levine – Manhattan Borough President
Mark Levine has twice been elected to represent the 7th Council district–one of the most diverse in New York City–covering West Harlem/Hamilton Heights, Morningside Heights, and parts of the Upper West Side and Washington Heights.
In an historic first for the nation, Mark defeated the landlord lobby to pass legislation guaranteeing a right to counsel for tenants facing eviction in New York City’s housing courts. This landmark policy has leveled the playing field for tenants and has already resulted in a significant decline in the number of families in New York City losing their homes because of evictions.
As chair of the City Council Health Committee, Mark has risen to national prominence as a leader in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. He has fought for health policy based on science, and has consistently taken on the racial inequity of both the pandemic and healthcare more broadly.
Mark has created hundreds of units of deeply affordable housing in his district. He secured approval of the Morningside Heights Historic District, preserving 115 historic buildings. He has successfully fought to preserve affordable homeownership in New York City by protecting low-income coops.
While chairing the Council’s Parks Committee in his first term, Mark championed greater investment in our city’s green spaces–securing tens of millions of dollars in funding for neglected parks in low-income neighborhoods. He has been a champion for improved bus service, more accessible subway stations, and streets which are safer for all–including pedestrians and bicyclists.
Mark led revitalization of the City Council’s Jewish Caucus as chair of the group in his first term, and is a leader in the fight against anti-Semitism. He passed legislation creating New York City’s first-ever office for the prevention of hate crimes.
At the start of his career, Mark taught bilingual math and science at Junior High School 149 in District 7 in the South Bronx. He went on to found Neighborhood Trust Federal Credit Union, a community development financial institution which has made $25 million in small loans to low-income families and small businesses in Northern Manhattan.
Mark earned a B.A. in physics from Haverford College and a Masters in Public Policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.
Mark lives with his family in Washington Heights. He and his wife Ivelisse are proud parents of their sons Alejandro and Daniel. He speaks Spanish, Hebrew and a smattering of other languages.
Tali Farhadian Weinstein for Manhattan DA
Tali Farhadian Weinstein is a prosecutor, a professor, and a proven criminal justice reformer. She is also an immigrant, a daughter, a wife, and the mother of three girls.
Tali came to America as a child in search of hope on Christmas Eve 1979, having fled the violence and anti-Semitism of revolutionary Iran. Tali’s family depended on the free lawyers of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society to guide them through a decade of legal proceedings, until they became American citizens.
Like so many immigrants, Tali’s parents, Farah and Nasser, had the courage to sacrifice everything and to face the unknown so that she and her siblings could grow up experiencing safety, fairness, and justice. Tali, in turn, has dedicated her career to fighting for those principles; to serving the country and city that gave her refuge, opportunity, and freedom; and to standing up as a champion for those who face vulnerability and violence in their lives.
After earning degrees from Yale College, Oxford University where she was a Rhodes Scholar, and Yale Law School, Tali was a Law Clerk for Judge Merrick B. Garland at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, and at the U.S. Supreme Court for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.
Throughout Barack Obama’s presidency, Tali worked at the U.S. Department of Justice, first as Counsel to Attorney General Eric Holder, and then as a federal prosecutor. As an Assistant U.S. Attorney, Tali investigated and prosecuted cases ranging from gun violence and murders to public corruption, tax and other frauds, and national security matters.
Most recently, Tali served as the General Counsel of the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office, which, under the leadership of Eric Gonzalez, is regarded as a national model of progressive prosecution, and which has kept crime – especially violent crime – at record lows for the borough. In this role, Tali served as a close advisor to the District Attorney, and was an important part of the leadership team charged with implementing the office’s criminal justice reform agenda. She also managed multiple bureaus of the office, directed complex litigations, and led the design and creation of the nation’s first Post-Conviction Justice Bureau, a unit dedicated to reviewing and correcting some of the excesses and mistakes of the past.
Like her mother, Tali is also a teacher. She has taught immigration law and policy at Columbia Law School, and is currently Adjunct Professor of Law and Adjunct Professor of Clinical Law at NYU Law School, where she teaches “Criminal Justice Reform and the District Attorney.” Tali is a national expert on the transformation of local prosecution happening around the country today.
Tali knows that America’s justice system is on a journey to change for the better. The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office can and should set the national example in delivering safety, fairness, and justice for all. It needs a leader who has the experience, the expertise, and the humanity to get us there.
David Weprin for NYC Comptroller
Assembly Member David Weprin, elected to the Assembly in a Special Election on February 9, 2010, has devoted his life to public service and making government more responsive, efficient and accountable. Weprin represents the 24th Assembly District in Queens, the same district represented by his father, the late Assembly Speaker Saul Weprin, for 23 years and his brother Mark Weprin, for over 15 years. In 2017, Weprin was named Chair of the Assembly Committee of Correction. Prior to serving as the Chair of Committee on Correction, Weprin served as Chair of the Assembly Task Force on People with Disabilities from 2014 – 2016.Weprin was also named Co-President of the National Association of Jewish Legislators in January 2017.
Born in Queens on May 2, 1956 to Saul and Sylvia Weprin, Weprin has lived in the Hollis-Jamaica area his entire life. He is a graduate of Jamaica High School, SUNY at Albany, with a cum laude degree in Political Science, and a law degree from Hofstra University.
In 1983 Weprin was chosen by then Governor Mario Cuomo to serve as the Deputy Superintendent of Banks and Secretary of the Banking Board for New York State. As part of his tenure through 1987, Weprin was a watchdog of nearly $2 trillion, regulating more than 3,000 financial institutions and financial service firms in New York State, including international banking institutions, mortgage brokers, and mortgage bankers. One of several accomplishments Weprin is proudest to have achieved on behalf of consumers as Deputy Superintendent was to reduce the number of days banking institutions may hold checks before clearing them, thereby reducing the interest they can earn on the backs of consumers and businesses. He delivered advice and counsel to the Banking Department on the formulation of banking standards. As part of the Board, he analyzed the condition of banks and exercised power to approve or disapprove the issuance of bank charters and licenses and the establishment of branch banks.
In 2001, Weprin was elected to the New York City Council by the people of the 23rd Council District in Queens. Within weeks of taking office Weprin became Chairman of the Council’s Finance Committee. Their choice to select a freshman Council Member to preside over the review and management of the City’s finances remains unprecedented and is a testament to his long-standing excellence in the field.
As Chair of the Council’s Finance Committee, Weprin proved to be a tireless advocate for responsible public spending and partnered with the Mayor and citizen advocacy groups to strengthen fiscal responsibility throughout all five boroughs. In 2008, Weprin was instrumental in locking away a total of $2.5 billion in surplus funds to ensure that future retirees continue to receive quality health care. Weprin led the charge with the Mayor to put more than one billion dollars back in the pockets of homeowners and co-op/condo owners in the form of annual $400 property tax rebates. Weprin also successfully opposed congestion pricing – he has called it an outer-borough tax. Weprin did not seek re-election to the Council in 2009; instead he ran for the City Comptroller position won by John Liu.
In the private sector, Weprin occupied a variety of leadership positions at with major financial services firm from 1987 until his election to the Council. He was elected by his peers to serve as Chairman of the Securities Industry Association, for the New York District, for three years.
Weprin’s organizational affiliations include or have included Northeast Queens Jewish Community Council, Queens Jewish Community Council, Transitional Services for NY, National Conference of Community & Justice, Respect for Law Alliance, National Committee for the Furtherance of Jewish Education, Greater Jamaica Development Corp., Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, American Jewish Congress, Holliswood Civic Association, Economic Education Foundation of the Securities Industry Association and the Brandeis Association.
Weprin lives with his wife Ronni in Holliswood. They are the proud parents of five children.
Kalman Yeger–44th Council District
The Jewish Voice endorses Kalman Yeger for re-election to the city council. Mr. Yeger has been a tireless champion for his constituents and has boldly advocated for their concerns in the city council.
Kalman Yeger (Democratic Party) is a member of the New York City Council, representing District 44. Yeger assumed office on January 1, 2018. Yeger’s current term ends on December 31, 2021.
Yeger (Democratic Party, Republican Party, Conservative Party) is running for re-election to the New York City Council to represent District 44. The Democratic, Republican, and Conservative Party primaries for this office on June 22, 2021, were canceled.
Yeger originally filed to challenge Chaim M. Deutsch for the District 48 seat on the city council in 2017. However, Councilman David G. Greenfield withdrew from the District 44 race after the filing deadline, and his campaign selected Yeger to replace him on the ballot.
Yeger earned an undergraduate degree from Touro College and a J.D. from New York Law School.
At the time of his 2017 run for city council, Yeger was a senior advisor and counsel to New York City Councilman David G. Greenfield (D) and the executive director and counsel for Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.’s (D) re-election campaign. His experience also includes service as a member of Community Board 14 and work as an advisor to Councilmen Alan Maisel (D), Lew Fidler (D), David Yassky (D), and Michael Nelson (D), New York Sen. Simcha Felder (D), Borough Presidents Melinda Katz (D), Eric Adams (D), and Fernando Ferrer (D).
Farah Louis–45th Council District
The Jewish Voice endorses Farah Louis for re-election to the city council. Ms. Louis is an exceptionally dedicated councilwoman who works to improve the quality of life for those in the district that she represents by initiating innovative legislation.
Farah N. Louis is a first-generation Brooklynite who was raised in an immigrant and pro-union household—an experience that later propelled her into advocacy, community organizing, and ultimately a career in public service.
After nearly six years of service as a staffer, Louis ran in the special election to fill the 45th Council District seat after it was vacated by former Council Member Jumaane D. Williams. She won the election with 42 percent of the votes following six contentious weeks of campaigning.
In 2019, Council Member Louis became the first woman to represent the 45th District which comprises Flatbush, East Flatbush, Midwood, Marine Park, Flatlands, and Kensington in Brooklyn, NY.
During her first year in office, Council Member Louis rolled out an ambitious agenda and spearheaded critical legislation to protect survivors of domestic violence; close the food insecurity gap; expand access to nonprofit services, education, reproductive rights, and healthcare.
Despite the setback of entering in the middle of a legislative session, Council Member Louis sought to secure a leadership role in the City Council. With an overwhelming vote, she became Co-Chair of the Women’s Caucus and Vice Co-Chair of the Black, Latino/a, and Asian Caucus. She is also a member of the committees on Civil Service and Labor; Economic Development; Education; Finance; Housing and Buildings; Youth Services; and the Justice System. In January 2021, she was appointed as Chair of the Committee on Mental Health, Disabilities, and Addictions.
Prior to joining the City Council, Louis worked as an administrator in healthcare at Mount Sinai Hospital and was an active 1199 member for eight years. Louis was also a seasoned publicist with fifteen years of experience and a journalist with several media outlets. In 2012, she founded Girls Leading Up (GLU), an organization seeking to transform girls and young women into emerging leaders through mentoring and hands-on experience. Her dedication to youth and women’s empowerment stems from life-changing experiences that she has used to enact positive change.
As a staunch believer in civic engagement, Louis has worked closely with elected officials, city agencies, nonprofit organizations, and small businesses to bridge the opportunity gap through education. Her parents emigrated from Haiti to Brooklyn where they overcame language barriers, discrimination, and other challenges while rebuilding their lives in Brooklyn as a middle-class family. Louis’ mother was a long-time healthcare professional and 1199 member while her father worked as a law enforcement professional and later a yellow cab driver. Their experience, determination, and service to the community would serve as a foundation for Louis’ work in social justice, immigrants’ and workers’ rights, gender equity, and women’s empowerment.
Council Member Louis is a proud graduate of the New York City public school system as an alumna of Midwood High School, located in the heart of Flatbush. She holds a master’s degree in Public Administration with a concentration in Strategic Communications from New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Long Island University.