John Sabini

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John D. Sabini is the Chairman of the New York State Racing and Wagering Board, having served in this capacity since August 2008 when he was confirmed by the New York State Senate. Sabini had previously been a member of the New York State Senate, a Democrat first elected in 2002. He represented parts of Jackson Heights, Corona, East Elmhurst, Elmhurst and Woodside. He previously represented much of this area as a New York City Council Member for the years 1992-2001.

Early life[edit]

A lifelong resident of Jackson Heights, Sabini won election to the Community Advisory Board at Elmhurst Hospital at age 16. At 19, he was appointed to Community Board No. 3-Q, where he served until his election to the Council.

Sabini holds a degree from New York University's College of Business and Public Administration, now known as the Stern School, and attended its Graduate School of Public Administration, now known as the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.

Sabini served as District Administrator for Congressmen James H. Scheuer and Stephen J. Solarz. He also served as Director of the State Assembly's Subcommittee on Senior Citizen Facilities. Prior to his election to the City Council, Sabini was Vice President of the MWW Group, a public and government relations firm based in New Jersey.


When the newly configured 13th Senate District was unveiled in the Spring of 2002, Sabini became a candidate who amassed broad support within the Democratic Party. In 2004 and 2006 he became the Democratic nominee and was unanimously re-elected in the general election.

When joining the Senate, Sabini received several high-profile appointments unprecedented for a new member. He was appointed as the ranking member of the Elections Committee and was the Senate Democratic conferee on a conference committee designed to set up the state's framework to comply with the federal Help America Vote Act. Sabini was also appointed to the Rules Committee, the first freshman Democrat since 1937 to serve in that capacity.

In 2006, Sabini was appointed as Assistant Minority Leader for Intergovernmental Affairs. He serves as the liaison between the Senate Minority Conference and the Governor's office, the State Assembly, Congress and local governments. Sabini is simultaneously maintaining his ranking membership status on the Transportation and Racing, Gaming & Wagering Committees.

Sabini was also appointed to several high-profile panels in 2006. In February he served as the only New York State representative on a national transportation leadership summit at the White House. In April he served as the only New York City legislator on Governor Eliot Spitzer's special panel to determine the future of thoroughbred racing in New York and the operations of Belmont Park, Aqueduct Race Track and Saratoga Racecourse.

In his first term, he introduced the bill that established by law the Flight 587 Memorial Scholarship, honoring the victims of that flight that crashed on the way to the Dominican Republic. Recently, he introduced a bill — which also later passed into law — to prevent the scheduling of statewide exams during major religious holidays.

The crisis surrounding the Queens County Democratic Organization following the death of Donald Manes in 1986 was a defining moment in Sabini's career. Sabini was thrust into the position of County Chairman at the time when scrutiny from the media and federal investigators threatened the future of the party. His success in stepping in to clean up the party earned him glowing editorial support from The New York Times and Newsday.

On the City Council, Sabini held the post of Council representative to the City's Commission on Public Information and Communications, a panel seeking ways to improve interaction between New York City residents and city government and increased use of technology. He was appointed Chair of the Council's Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Siting and Maritime Uses and was chosen for membership on the Council's influential Land Use Committee and on the Subcommittee on Planning, Dispositions and Concessions. In his legislative duties, he introduced and co-sponsored many bills that have helped to improve the quality of life for New Yorkers, including the Aggressive Panhandling bill and the Landmark Notification Law, which requires the commercial tenants doing business in historic districts be informed about their responsibilities under the city's landmarks law.

Drunk Driving incident[edit]

On November 6, 2007 Albany police pulled Sabini over; Sabini subsequently failed a Field-sobriety test. He also declined to take a Breathalyzer.

Sabini pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of driving while ability impaired, concluding a case that began in September when he was pulled over. He paid a $300 fine and agreed to enroll in anti-DWI classes. His driver's license was suspended for six months.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Susan Alter
New York City Council, 25th District
Succeeded by
Helen Sears
New York State Senate
Preceded by
Daniel Hevesi
New York State Senate, 13th District
Succeeded by
Hiram Monserrate