|Member of the New York State Senate
from the 31st district
|Preceded by||Eric Schneiderman|
|Member of the New York State Assembly
from the 72nd district
|Preceded by||John Murtaugh|
|Succeeded by||Guillermo Linares|
September 27, 1954 |
Santiago, Dominican Republic
|Political party||Democratic Party|
|Alma mater||Queens College|
Adriano Espaillat (born September 27, 1954) is a Dominican-American politician. He is a member of the New York State Senate and a former member of the New York State Assembly. He is currently a Ranking Member of the Senate Housing, Construction and Community Development Committee and Chair of the Senate Latino Caucus. Espaillat represents the neighborhoods of Marble Hill, Inwood, Washington Heights, Hamilton Heights, West Harlem, and the Upper West Side in Manhattan and the Bronx. Espaillat is a Democrat.
Early life, education, & career
He served as the Manhattan Court Services Coordinator for the NYC Criminal Justice Agency, a non-profit organization that provides indigent legal services and works to reduce unnecessary pretrial detention and post-sentence incarceration costs. As a state-certified conflict resolution mediator and volunteer with the Washington Heights Inwood Conflict Resolutions and Mediation Center, Espaillat helped resolve hundreds of conflicts.
He later worked as Director of the Washington Heights Victims Services Community Office, an organization offering counseling and other services to families of victims of homicides and other crimes. From 1994 to 1996, Espaillat served as the Director of Project Right Start, a national initiative funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to combat substance abuse by educating the parents of pre-school children.
Prior to his election to the New York State Assembly, Espaillat was an active voice on New York City Community Board 12, and President of the 34th Precinct Community Council, working to eradicate drugs and crime from Upper Manhattan and successfully advocating for the creation of a new police precinct. Espaillat also served on Governor Mario Cuomo's Dominican-American Advisory Board from 1991-1993.
New York State Assembly
Espaillat served in the New York State Assembly from 1996 – 2010. He was first elected after defeating 16-year incumbent John Brian Murtaugh in the 1995 Democratic Primary. Espaillat chaired the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic & Asian Legislative Caucus, and committees on small business and children & families.
In the Assembly, Espaillat was a vocal advocate for tenants, consumers, veterans, immigrants and local businesses. He passed laws encouraging the construction and preservation of affordable housing, giving low-income day care workers the right to organize and obtain health care, and sponsored measures to improve hospital translation services. He also established a higher education scholarship fund for relatives of the victims of American Airlines Flight 587, which crashed on November 12, 2001. Despite national Republican and conservative criticism, Espaillat strongly supported efforts in 2007 to allow undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses.
After a wave of assaults and murders against livery cab drivers in 2000 that left over 10 dead, Espaillat passed legislation strengthening penalties for violent crimes against livery drivers and enabled their families to receive New York State Crime Victims Board funding. Livery cabs work in less affluent neighborhoods of New York that typically lack access to yellow cabs.
Espaillat took legal action against power utility Con Edison after equipment failures led to a two-day blackout in Upper Manhattan in July 1999 that caused financial damage to restaurants, bodegas and other small businesses. Con Edison subsequently agreed to invest an additional $100 million in Upper Manhattan electrical infrastructure at no cost to ratepayers and was required to refund customers billed for expenses related to the blackout.
New York State Senate
Espaillat ran for Senate in 2010 after incumbent Democrat Eric Schneiderman announced his campaign for New York Attorney General. Espaillat received more than 50% of the vote in a four-way Democratic party. In 2012, Espaillat defeated then-Assemblyman Guillermo Linares 62% - 38% in the Democratic Primary.
In 2011, Espaillat led the fight to safeguard and strengthen rent regulation for over 1 million affordable housing apartments that was set to expire that year. While tenant protections had been weakened in the past, the agreement reached that year made it more difficult to convert affordable housing to market rate and created a new Tenant Protection Unit within the state's housing agency.
Espaillat also passed legislation increasing enforcement against businesses that sell alcohol to minors and authored the Notary Public Advertising Act, to crack down on unscrupulous public notaries who prey on vulnerable immigrants by offering fraudulent legal services. He voted in favor of marriage equality legislation in 2011.
Current Committee assignments
- Housing, Construction & Community Development (Ranking Member)
- Environmental Conservation
- Higher Education
2012 Congressional election
In 2012, Espaillat ran in the Democratic primary for New York’s 13th Congressional District, in a crowded field that included 42-year incumbent Charles Rangel.
Rangel narrowly beat Espaillat 44% - 42%, with a margin of victory of less than 1,000 votes. Espaillat placed first in the Bronx section of the district and parts of Upper Manhattan.
The election was marked by reports that Spanish-speaking voters were either turned away at the polls or forced to use affidavit ballots. The New York City Board of Elections was also sharply criticized for its poor handling of the election and subsequent legal proceedings.
2014 Congressional and State Senate elections
In 2014, Espaillat ran against incumbent Charlie Rangel again, losing for the second consecutive time. Following his loss to Rangel in the Democratic primary, Espaillat announced his re-election bid for his State Senate seat, facing former City Councilman Robert Jackson.
According to the New York Post, "Jackson pointed to Espaillat’s vote to repeal the commuter tax in 1999 — which has deprived the city of billions of dollars in revenues — as one major reason he should get the boot." Jackson went on to say that, "Espaillat had the second-worst attendance record in the entire Senate, and the person that has the worst was carted off in handcuffs.”
In the end, Espaillat won his bid for re-election to the Senate, winning by a very narrow margin.
- "Legislative Preview: Meet The New Members". The Capitol. Manhattan Media. January 6, 2011. Retrieved March 13, 2011.
- "Adriano Espaillat: Biography". New York State Senate. Retrieved March 13, 2011.
- "El poder politico de Nueva York tambien honró el dia de Duarte" (in Spanish). La Nación Dominicana. February 1, 2010. Retrieved February 6, 2010.
- "Assembly Task Force on New Americans". 2002 Report.
- Hakim, Danny (October 28, 2007). "Spitzer Tries New Tack on Immigrant Licenses". New York Times.
- Fountain, John (July 13, 2000). "Stricter Sentences for Livery-Cab Crimes". New York Times.
- Wald, Matthew (July 21, 2000). "Nuclear Agency Delays Reopening of Con Ed's Indian Point 2 Plant". New York Times.
- Perez-Pena, Richard (August 9, 2000). "Pataki Signs Bill Requiring Con Ed Rebate". New York Times.
- "Espaillat defeats Linares in State Senate primary". Columbia Spectator. September 14, 2012.
- Lombardi, Frank (April 14, 2011). "Freshman state Sen. Espaillat going to bat for more than 1M tenants from rent regulation changes". Daily News.
- McHugh, Brendan (July 6, 2011). "Smiling Dynamo recounts rookie year". Bronx Press Politics.
- Zanoni, Carla (June 8, 2011). "Latino Politicians Call on Albany to Pass Marriage Equality Legislation". DNAinfo.
- "Board of Elections Results".
- Chen, David (July 9, 2012). "Rangel’s Opponent Gives Up And Will Halt Court Challenge". New York Times.
- Gonzalez, Juan (July 6, 2012). "Troubling actions by Board of Elex members". Daily News.
|New York Assembly|
John Brian Murtaugh
|New York State Assembly, 72nd District
|New York State Senate|
|New York State Senate, 31st District