Micah Kellner

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Micah Kellner
PFLAG Awards Luncheon, February 2010
Member of the New York State Assembly
from the 76th district
In office
June 2007 – December 31, 2014
Preceded by Alexander Grannis
Succeeded by Sheldon Silver
Personal details
Born (1978-12-05) December 5, 1978 (age 39)[1]
Morristown, New Jersey, U.S.[1]
Political party Democratic
Residence New York, New York, U.S.
Alma mater New York University
Profession Politician, legislator

Micah Z. Kellner[2] (born December 5, 1978)[1] is an American politician from the state of New York. A Democrat, he was formerly a member of the New York State Assembly from the 76th district, which includes Manhattan's Upper East Side and Roosevelt Island.[3] Kellner was elected to the Assembly in 2007 and served until 2014, when he did not stand for reelection. In September 2013, he narrowly lost a primary election for the Democratic nomination for the New York City Council seat for the 5th District to attorney Ben Kallos. During his Assembly tenure, Kellner was admonished twice by then-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver based on findings that he had engaged in sexual harassment.

Early life and career[edit]

An advocate for the disabled, Kellner was born with cerebral palsy.[3] He attended the Pingry School, graduating in the class of 1997.[4] He graduated from New York University in 2001 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in film, television and radio. He worked as an aide to Senator Chuck Schumer, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney and City Comptroller William C. Thompson before being elected to the Assembly in 2007.[5]

New York State Assembly[edit]

Following the appointment of Assemblyman Alexander "Pete" Grannis as Commissioner of New York State's Department of Environment Conservation early in 2007, Kellner was selected as the Democratic nominee for the special election held to fill the vacancy. In that election, held on June 5, 2007, he received 64% of the vote, comfortably defeating his Republican opponent.[6]

During the 2013-14 term of the Legislature, Kellner became Chair of the Assembly Committee on Libraries and Education Technology.[7] On June 27, 2013, Kellner chaired a hearing on "The Sale of Public Library Buildings in New York City" at which Pulitzer-Prize-winning author Edmund Morris testified against the New York Public Library's controversial Central Library Plan.[8]

In August 2010, New York State's then-Governor, David Paterson, signed "Elle's Law," legislation introduced by Kellner that allows for the suspension of up to six months of the New York State driver's license of any driver inflicting serious physical injury on another person while committing a traffic violation. The law was named after Elle Vandenberghe, a three-year-old Upper East Side girl living in Kellner's district who was seriously injured after being struck by a motorist who was illegally backing through an intersection against a red light to find a parking space.[9]

He also sponsored Oreo's Law[when?] in the New York State Assembly, which required the release of a shelter animal to a rescue group upon request of the rescue group prior to euthanasia of the animal. The law is named in memory of Oreo, a dog who survived abuse at the hands of her former owner, recovered from her injuries, but was then euthanized by the ASPCA in New York City, despite the offer of a No Kill sanctuary to guarantee her lifetime care.[10]

City Council campaign and admonition for sexual harassment[edit]

In early 2013, Kellner announced his intentions to run for the New York City Council seat in District 5 being vacated by Jessica Lappin. Initially, he received significant support, being endorsed by most local elected officials. In late June, however, the New York Post reported that he had accepted a campaign contribution from a taxi manufacturer whose handicapped-accessible vehicle was being considered for adoption by New York's Taxi and Limousine Commission.[11]

On July 23, 2013, The New York Times reported that in 2009 Kellner had engaged in inappropriate Internet chat with a young female staffer. Kellner apologized in a statement to the Times, saying, "Over four years ago, for a few weeks while I was still single, I exchanged instant messages with a female member of my staff that were flirtatious. It was inappropriate. I was wrong and it was stupid. When I was told that my staffer felt the messages were unprofessional, I immediately stopped and regretted placing her in that position. I was sorry then and I am sorry now." The New York Daily News subsequently quoted an anonymous source identified only as a former Kellner staffer saying that Kellner had made life "horrible" for the other staffer after she had allegedly rebuffed his advances.[12]

Following the media reports, several elected officials withdrew their endorsement of Kellner in the City Council race, including Lappin, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, and two state senators.[13] The day after the allegations against Kellner were revealed, the National Organization for Women's NYC chapter endorsed one of his two opponents in the Democratic primary for City Council, Benjamin Kallos.[14] The state's ethics commission launched an investigation into sexual harassment allegations against Kellner.[15] 32BJ SEIU rescinded its support as well, and endorsed his rival, Benjamin Kallos,[16] who went on to defeat Kellner in the September 10, 2013 primary.[17] On December 31, 2013, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo stated that Kellner should deny the sexual harassment allegations or resign.[18]

In December 2013, following an investigation by the Assembly Ethics Committee, then-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver publicly admonished Kellner for taking actions that created a hostile work environment; Silver also stripped Kellner of a committee chairship and banned him from hiring interns.[19] In June 2014, "Speaker Sheldon Silver announced [that he was] closing both Kellner's district office and his Albany office [and] reducing his staff budget to zero after determining that the Manhattan legislator 'engaged in additional sexual harassment beyond the matters that were the subject of the 2013 investigation'. Silver also said Kellner hired an intern for his Manhattan office after specifically being told last year he could no longer do that."[20]

State Committee and District Leader[edit]

In 2014, two challengers announced they would run against Kellner's political club's state committee candidate. When their original candidate dropped out of a competitive Democratic primary, Kellner received his organization's endorsement. Kellner characterized the win as a favor to his club, and not as an attempt at a political comeback. Following his victory for the obscure position, Kellner insisted it was a myth that he was not popular anymore in his district.[21] Kellner won with nearly 57 percent of the votes in the three-way race.

In 2015, Kellner was re-nominated by his political club to run for re-election as District Leader, an unpaid position he had held since 2012. Adam Roberts ultimately won the race, garnering 53% of the votes to Kellner's 47%.[22]

Personal life[edit]

Kellner is openly bisexual[23] and was the first openly bisexual person elected to the New York State Assembly.[24][25] His 2007 Assembly campaign won the support of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, which provided financial and strategic assistance. In 2009 he received the Brenda Howard Award, which "recognizes an individual or organization whose work on behalf of the LGBT Community best exemplifies the vision, principles and community service of the late bisexual rights activist Brenda Howard, and who serves as a positive and visible role model for the Bisexual Community."[24] He was one of six openly LGBT members of the New York Legislature, alongside Assemblymembers Deborah Glick, Daniel O'Donnell, Matthew Titone and Harry Bronson, as well as Senator Brad Hoylman. His 2011 marriage to Marie Ternes, a former chief of staff to Anthony Weiner, ended after she filed for divorce in 2013.[26]

Election results[edit]

Micah Z. Kellner (DEM - WOR) ... 4,254
Gregory T. Camp (REP - IND) ... 2,273
Micah Z. Kellner (DEM - WOR) ... 36,682
Georgiana Viest (REP) ... 11,636
Micah Z. Kellner (DEM - WOR) ... 22,741
Michael K. Zumbluskus (REP) ... 7,998
Micah Z. Kellner (DEM - WOR) ... 34,040
Michael K. Zumbluskus (REP) ... 10,689
Ben Kallos ... 7,513
Micah Z. Kellner ... 6,420
Ed Hartzog ... 2,429
Ben Kallos (DEM) ... 34,040
David Paul Garland (REP - IND) ... 10,518
Micah Z. Kellner (WOR) ... 3,118
Micah Z. Kellner ... 2,740
Johnathan Piel ... 1,560
Kerl Seidenwurm ... 516
Adam Roberts ... 433
Micah Z. Kellner ... 383


  1. ^ a b c "State Assembly: Micah Z. Kellner (D-WFP), District 65". Capitol Info. Archived from the original on April 4, 2011. Retrieved April 13, 2011. 
  2. ^ "Assembly Member Micah Z. Kellner (NY)". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved April 13, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Hicks, Jonathan P. (June 6, 2007). "Comptroller's Aide Wins Upper East Side Assembly Seat". The New York Times. Retrieved May 12, 2010. 
  4. ^ "Class Notes: 1997, Micah Kellner" (PDF). The Pingry Review. Winter 2008. 
  5. ^ "Assembly District 65, Micah Engel Kellner: Biography". New York State Assembly. Retrieved April 13, 2011. 
  6. ^ Mahoney, Joe (June 6, 2007). "Dem notches win in Assembly special elex". New York Daily News. 
  7. ^ Committee Membership
  8. ^ Pogrebin, Robin (June 27, 2013). "Critics Prompt New Review of Library Plan". The New York Times. 
  9. ^ [1]
  10. ^ Sulzberger, A.G. (November 19, 2009). "Oreo, Abused Then Euthanized, Inspires Legislation". The New York Times. 
  11. ^ Report of allegations of sexual harassment against Kellner, New York Post, June 2013.
  12. ^ Coverage of Kellner sexual scandal, New York Times, July 23, 2013.
  13. ^ Daily News. New York http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/dailypolitics/2013/07/micah-kellners-city-council-bid-backing-crumbles-after-sexual-harassment-alleg.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  14. ^ New York Daily News political blogsite on Kellner scandals
  15. ^ "Investigation Launched Into Sexual Harassment Allegations Against Assemblyman Micah Kellner". NY1. Archived from the original on February 1, 2014. Retrieved August 8, 2013. 
  16. ^ Kellner loses endorsement by 32B-J
  17. ^ Kallos defeats Kellner, Huffington Post
  18. ^ Statement from Governor Andrew M. Cuomo
  19. ^ Vielkind, Jimmy (December 30, 2013). "Silver Scolds Kellner". Politico. Retrieved January 7, 2018. 
  20. ^ Bailey, Pat (June 11, 2014). "Sheldon Silver closing Micah Kellner's district offices". New York Post. Retrieved January 7, 2018. 
  21. ^ "'This Isn't Some Comeback': Micah Kellner Wins Another Election". Observer. Retrieved 2015-10-18. 
  22. ^ "Micah Kellner loses district leader post". cityandstateny.com. Retrieved 2015-10-18. 
  23. ^ "NY Assemblymember Kellner Given Brenda Howard Award". BiNet USA News and Updates. February 21, 2009. 
  24. ^ a b NY Assemblymember Kellner Given Brenda Howard Award February 21, 2009 BiNet USA News and Updates
  25. ^ Gustafson, Anna Queens PFLAG to honor three in February January 1, 2009 Astoria Times.
  26. ^ "Micah Kellner's Wife Files Divorce Papers". NY Daily News. Retrieved 2018-02-05. 
  27. ^ "Special Election Results, 65th Assembly District: June 5, 2007" (PDF). New York State Board of Elections. 2007. Retrieved April 13, 2011. 
  28. ^ "General Election Results, State Assembly: November 4, 2008" (PDF). New York State Board of Elections. December 4, 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on August 23, 2012. Retrieved April 13, 2011. 
  29. ^ "General Election Results, State Assembly: November 2, 2010" (PDF). New York State Board of Elections. December 13, 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 18, 2013. Retrieved April 13, 2011. 
  30. ^ "General Election Results, State Assembly: November 6, 2012" (PDF). New York State Board of Elections. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 25, 2013. 
  31. ^ "Statement and Return Report, Primary Election 2013, Democratic Party, Member of the City Council, 5th Council District" (PDF). New York City Board of Elections. 
  32. ^ "Statement and Return Report, General Election 2013, Member of the City Council, 5th Council District" (PDF). New York City Board of Elections. 
  33. ^ "Statement and Return Report, Primary Election 2014, Democratic Party, Democratic Male State Committee, 76th Assembly District" (PDF). New York City Board of Elections. 
  34. ^ "Statement and Return Report, Primary Election 2015, Democratic Party, Democratic Male District Leader, 76th Assembly District, Part B" (PDF). New York City Board of Elections. 

External links[edit]

New York Assembly
Preceded by
Alexander "Pete" Grannis
New York State Assembly
65th district

Succeeded by
Sheldon Silver
New York Assembly
Preceded by
Peter Rivera
New York State Assembly
76th district