Representative, District 13 —U.S. House of RepresentativesNovember 8, 2016 —New York General Election
U.S. House of RepresentativesRepresentative, District 13
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About this office
- Enhance government transparency
- Reduce military spending
- Housing, jobs and education for New York's 13th Congressional District
Scott Fenstermaker is a 54-year-old criminal defense and tax litigation attorney based and residing in Manhattan. An honors graduate of both the United States Air Force Academy and Harvard Law School, Mr. Fenstermaker is decorated veteran of the United States Air Force, a graduate of the United States military’s prisoner of war training, holds a Master’s of Science Degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics from the the University of Washington, a Masters of Public Administration Degree from the University of Oklahoma, and an advanced law degree in Federal and State tax law from New York University Law School.
Mr. Fenstermaker’s interest in public service began with his decision to attend the United States Air Force Academy, where he graduated in the top two-percent of his class and was selected by the Academy’s administration to compete for a Rhodes Scholarship during his senior year. As an active duty Air Force officer, Mr. Fenstermaker worked ensuring the survivability of Air Force weapons systems in a nuclear warfare environment. While at the Air Force Academy and while on active duty, Mr. Fenstermaker honed his leadership skills, serving in a number of cadet leadership positions at the Academy and as a special assistant to the commander of a 3,000-person military logistics unit at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma.
Immediately after leaving the Air Force, Mr. Fenstermaker attended Harvard Law School, where he was in the class that was one year behind President Obama. Mr. Fenstermaker began his criminal defense career while a second year student at Harvard and tried his first trial as a third-year student, successfully defending his client from drug possession charges. With the assistance of Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., the current District Attorney of Manhattan, Mr. Fenstermaker secured a highly-coveted position as an assistant district attorney in the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, where Mr. Fenstermaker served for four years.
Mr. Fenstermaker represented detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba for six years. All of his Guantanamo Bay-based clients were held in Camp 7, the top secret detention facility for those prisoners formerly held in the CIA’s so-called “Black Site” prison system. His success in securing some of the most high-profile detainees held at Guantanamo Bay led to his suspension from practicing before the military commissions, the war crimes tribunals that the United States is attempting to prosecute at Guantanamo Bay. The military officer who was ostensibly responsible for Mr. Fenstermaker’s suspension was rewarded for his misconduct by receiving a seat on the Supreme Court of the State of Indiana, where he sits to this day.
With the help of the voters of New York’s 13th Congressional District, Mr. Fenstermaker hopes to continue his public service as a member of the New York delegation to the United States House of Representatives. He hopes to focus his efforts on economic development, housing, public transportation, national security, and transparency.
Below are the top contributors that gave money to support the candidate(s).
Transparent government is the hallmark of a democratic people. Without transparency, government becomes nothing more than a tool of special interests, career politicians, and those who benefit from the government at the People's expense.
- Immigration Reform: 11 million Americans are living in the shadows - we have a chance to transform their lives for the better and grow our economy by passing comprehensive immigration reform.
- Affordable Housing: We have a crisis in this city because the federal government has abandoned tenants and public housing.
- Gun Violence & Criminal Justice Reform: We need to fight the wasteful mass incarceration of non-violent offenders, promote alternatives to incarceration and get guns off of our streets.
State Senator Adriano Espaillat’s career in public service has been marked by historic accomplishments and an unwavering commitment to integrity, justice, and equal representation for all.
A trailblazing community activist, Senator Espaillat made history in 1996 when he became the first Dominican-American elected to a state legislature. Espaillat quickly distinguished himself as a reformer and progressive fighter who stood up for working families and small businesses.
Espaillat worked tirelessly to champion causes that directly helped communities across New York. Along the way he executed some remarkable legislative and policy accomplishments including the following highlights:
-Successful advocacy on behalf of over 2.5 million NYC tenants during the campaign to extend and strengthen rent regulations.
-Passage of law cracking down on the sale of dangerous alcoholic beverages to minors.
-Extension of the J-51 Housing Program, which protected tenant from unfair rent hikes.
-Passage of legislation supporting over 40,000 livery drivers by extending protections from violent crimes and inclusion of the drivers in the Workers’ Compensation benefits program.
-Legislation allowing 35,000 daycare providers to organize and collectively bargain, helping empower some of New York’s hardest working men and women and strengthening our middle-class.
Senator Espaillat was chosen by his colleagues to chair the Senate Puerto Rican/Latino Caucus. He is the top ranking Democrat on the Senate Housing Committee and also serves on the Environmental Conservation, Economic Development, Codes, Insurance, and Judiciary committees. Additionally, Governor Andrew Cuomo has selected Senator Espaillat as a member of his Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprise team where Senator Espaillat chairs the subcommittee on monitoring and compliance.
Prior to catapulting into the state capitol, Espaillat served his community on a grass-roots level.
-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. This pilot program was implemented in six cities throughout the country and in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
-From 1992 to 1994, Espaillat served as Director of the Washington Heights Victims Services Community Office. The organization offered bilingual support groups for battered women, and provided relief, compensation, counseling and therapeutic services to families of victims of homicides and other crimes. In 1991, Espaillat was chosen as a member of Governor Mario Cuomo's Dominican American Advisory Board, where he served for two years.
-From 1986 to 1991, Espaillat actively served on Community Planning Board 12 as a member of the Executive Board. Espaillat became a strong voice in the community by organizing tenants and advocating for their rights. He successfully petitioned for greater police services in the community. His tireless efforts resulted in increased foot patrol, block watches, the creation of the new 33rd Police Precinct and other successful crime prevention measures in Northern Manhattan. During the mid 1980’s, Espaillat was elected President of the 34th Precinct Community Council. Throughout the 80’s, he worked closely with the community and law enforcement agencies to help eradicate drugs and crime from Washington Heights and Inwood.
-In 1980, Espaillat joined the NYC Criminal Justice Agency, a non-profit agency contracted by the city of New York to provide pre-trial services to the New York Criminal Court system, where he worked as the Manhattan Court Services Coordinator for eight years. During the 1990’s, Espaillat helped resolve hundreds of conflicts among his constituents by volunteering his services as a state certified conflict resolution mediator for the Washington Heights Inwood Conflict Resolutions and Mediation Center.
Below are the top contributors that gave money to support the candidate(s).
Protecting the Character of our Neighborhoods
Adriano Espaillat's plan to address gentrification and the housing affordability crisis in Upper Manhattan and the Bronx.
Protecting the Character of our Neighborhoods
Senator Adriano Espaillat, Candidate for Congress, 13th District
As an elected official who represents parts of Harlem and the Bronx, Adriano Espaillat has witnessed first-hand the damaging impact that gentrification can have on the residents of traditional working class immigrant, minority and ethnic neighborhoods. As large American cities, like New York have become safer and more appealing places to raise families, many tenants, particularly members of immigrant and minority communities, can no longer afford to live in the neighborhoods that their families and neighbors have called home for decades.
Displacement occurs when an influx of capital and higher-income residents force out residents already living in a gentrifying neighborhood. This disproportionately impacts people of color. As of 2010, Harlem, perhaps the neighborhood most closely associated with African American culture and history, became a majority white neighborhood. In Fort Greene, the population of white residents increased 13% between 2000 and 2012 while the percentage of African American residents decreased 15% during that same period. In perhaps the most startling example, from 2000-2011 the population of white residents in Bedford-Stuyvesant increased 633% while the population of African American residents decreased from 40,000 to 34,000.
Causes of Displacement and Next Steps:
Today, New York City tenants, especially residents living in rent-stabilized units, are targeted by unscrupulous landlords who employ a menu of predatory tactics to push them out of their homes. From using over construction as a weapon to harass tenants out to allowing apartments to crumble into a state of disrepair to unfair and manipulative buyout offers, these actors and those who enable them, only exacerbate the worst consequences of displacement.
That’s why the status quo is untenable. State and local governments need to become more effective in the fight against the most damaging consequences caused by displacement and level the playing field by protecting tenants. New York City’s system of rent stabilization, which provides tenants with a statutory right to renew their lease at a specified increased rate, is an essential tool in combatting displacement. But neighborhoods with the largest stock of rent-regulated units are suffering from deregulation, which occurs more often in gentrifying neighborhoods. The City must be pro-active to preserve the existing stock of rent-regulated apartments in these neighborhoods and congress must be a partner.
Congress Must Act: Federal Gentrification Mitigation Zones
In order to address the vital issue of preserving neighborhoods in the face of such overwhelming forces, congress should establish federal gentrification mitigation zones supported by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). These neighborhoods would be identified based on their history as a working-class area, with a connection to immigrant or minority communities, where property values have increased at a certain percentage above the average for the rest of the city, and in which the pre-existing population shows signs of being displaced.
In these designated zones, the following rules should apply:
Right of first refusal for sale of residential buildings – In order to improve the likelihood that residents within the gentrification mitigation zones benefit from increasing property values, tenants of a particular residential building within the zone should have an automatic right of first refusal any time the building owner seeks to sell that building.
HUD assistance with cooperative formation and specialized HUD-backed loans – In order to ensure that residents are as capable as possible to exercise their right of first refusal, HUD would provide assistance and expertise with the formation of a housing cooperative composed of the tenants of the building, and assuming basic qualifications are met, provide federally backed mortgages to the cooperative to purchase the building from the owner.
Mandatory community impact statement – Any new residential development within a gentrification mitigation zone should include a community impact statement that specifically addresses how the development would impact vital factors within the neighborhood, including its effect on the existing affordable housing stock, schools, transportation, parks and neighborhood infrastructure.
Relocation assistance through transfer tax – Any conveyance of a residential building within a gentrification mitigation zone will be subject to a small tax (for example, between .5% and 1% of the building’s sale price) that would be allocated to provide relocation assistance for any displaced residents from that building or any other residential building within the zone.
Heightened community participation – One of the greatest concerns among residents in gentrifying neighborhoods is that they simply do not have a seat at the table as their neighborhood undergoes rapid change. Any new construction within a federal gentrification mitigation zone would be required to meet with representatives from all political subdivisions that represent the district where the building is, or will be located. In addition, developers of buildings with more than 10 units would be required to hold at least one public presentation and forum where they will share details of the plan and allow local residents to share their input.