Hello, Reddit!

Andrew Gounardes here. I'm a Democrat running for State Senate in NY's District 22 in Brooklyn. I'm running to unseat Marty Golden, the scandal-laden, Trump-loving conservative who has represented the district since 2002. We're energized by the support we've received from the community for our grassroots, Brooklyn-centric platform and I'm psyched to answer your questions today.

To read my platforms on such issues as gun violence, net neutrality, healthcare as a right, pedestrian safety, affordable housing, fixing NYC's broken transit system, and more, visit http://www.AndrewGounardes.com

Also, last night we released our Women and Families platform in response to the President's SCOTUS pick. You can check out the full platform here

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Let's do this, Reddit.

Edit: It's 4pm and this AMA is supposed to end now, but I'm having a great time answering your questions. I'm going to stay for another half hour and then I have to head out to knock on doors and talk to voters.

2nd Edit: Thank you, Reddit. I enjoyed hearing from all of you. See you on September 13 for the primary and November 6 for the general election. Peace out!

3rd Edit: Andrew here. It’s now 7pm on Wednesday, July 11, the day after my AMA. I really enjoyed doing this yesterday, so I’m coming back tonight to answer new questions and ones that I missed. I’ll be doing this late tonight, so keep ‘em coming!

4th Edit: 7/11 around 11pm - Back as promised, answering more questions.

Comments: 470 • Responses: 57  • Date: 

keilwerth69 karma

Evil Republican here. Hope you're well.

I'm specifically interested in your stance on guns. Your website claims that "Gun violence is one of the leading causes of death in America.", however, the CDC would disagree with your claim.

As you're likely aware, between 30,000 and 40,000 people die in the US from guns every year. 70% of those deaths are suicide. Apart from your support of the "Red Flag Bill" mentioned on your website, what will you do to address the issue of suicide (gun related or not) in the US?

AndrewGounardes19 karma

Suicide is a mental health issue which we need to do a lot more to address. I have a healthcare plan that includes coverage for mental health. I'd like to see educators and leaders in schools do more about anti-bullying initiatives. And we need to do more to address issues of domestic violence and child abuse, as these survivors are more susceptible to mental health issues.

brooklynpinstripes66 karma

Do you support the legalization of marijuana?

AndrewGounardes61 karma

I support medical marijuana and decriminalization. I am agnostic on recreational use.

mowotlarx38 karma

Hey there! Bay Ridge resident here. Marty Golden has his name on a lot of things. He's a schmoozer and has that name recognition that might sway the more apathetic voters (who aren't aware of his scandal plagued office and poor traffic record). How do you think we can break through those Marty Golden gates? How do you think your campaign outreach plan is going so far (and how can we help?!)

AndrewGounardes30 karma

Well isn't this a great question!

You hit the nail right on the head. Marty is a known presence because he's been around for so long. But that's also part of the problem. He's spent the last 17 years up in Albany and he keeps on letting down the neighborhood. On issues like public education funding, pedestrian safety, mass transit, and affordable housing, he's either MIA or voted in a way that hurts the neighborhood! Don't even get me started on his 95% real estate tax abatment for a luxury apartment building on the UWS where the top penthouse sold for $115 million!!!

We're running a very grassroots campaign that focuses on knocking on doors, making phone calls, hosting house parties, and meeting voters one, two, or three at a time. We win this election by outworking Golden and showing the neighborhood all the ways he's let us down.

How can you help? I need volunteers and money! Even $25 helps go a long way (but $30 is better!!). Sign up to volunteer or donate at my website: www.andrewgounardes.com.

mehxinfinity28 karma

Hi Andrew! I recently moved to New York and get my insurance through the ACA. I'm not completely up to speed on the intricacies of the IDC, but if you're able to flip this seat (and the Democrats hold all the others), does this mean that the New York Health Act has a chance of passing?

AndrewGounardes24 karma

Yes. And I support it.

SufficientMine127 karma

Hi Andrew. I am a lifelong Bay Ridge resident and Democrat. Thanks for doing the AMA.

I want someone to beat Marty Golden this year, and I have been researching the Democratic candidates since I met Ross Barkan a few weeks ago. I like your policy platforms, but I want to ask a hard question: Why do you think you are the candidate to beat Marty Golden? I voted for you in 2012 but you lost by over 10,000 votes. What will you do differently this time around?

AndrewGounardes37 karma

Thank you for your vote and support.

When I ran last time, I was incredibly young - only 26! I learned a lot in that campaign, including that our neighborhood really values candidates who have a track record of accomplishing something that helps the community.

Since my last race, I've co-founded Bay Ridge Cares, which prepared 25,000 hot meals in 6 weeks for people affected by Superstorm Sandy, helped organize with B.R.A.K.E.S. to secure passage of the first speed camera pilot program by organizing demonstrations in front of Golden's office, and being active with the Riders Alliance campaign for improved R trains and bringing back the B37 bus. And not to mention spending 4.5 years as Counsel to the Brooklyn Borough President.

I have a record of service in the community that actually speaks to issues that our neighborhood is facing and that's why I'm a better candidate than I was 6 years ago.

_korbendallas_26 karma

It seems like the democrats are a bit fractured on policies and messaging. What would you like the party to rally behind?

AndrewGounardes48 karma

I'd like to see a return to an economic message that actually works for working class folks. Healthcare, housing, student loans - these are all economic issues that get lost every time we focus on Trump's latest outrage.

Would also love to see more done to help millenials (god I hate that term), who face 300% more student loan debt and are 1/2 as likely to own a home as their parents. If the hallmakr of the American Dream is going to be a college degree and home ownership, then we need to do more to help this generation get there.

wheelhouse2013 karma

I'm glad you care about this issue! Do you support tuition-free college as a solution?

AndrewGounardes28 karma

Yes. I'm also campaigning on a platform to make NY the first state in the nation to constitutionally guarantee free, quality public education from pre-K through college.

redditpilled9 karma

Can you explain who specifically would pay for free? I’m guessing that professors won’t show up for work without pay and the electricity won’t be provided for free.

Madaghmire10 karma

This is an important question. As a parent, I love the idea but where is the money coming from?

AndrewGounardes29 karma

NY has the 10th largest economy in the world, right behind Canada. We can afford this as long as we stop giving luxury tax breaks to developers under the guise of creating "affordable housing".

pmolmstr8 karma

Will this also include trade schools and other forms of training or is it just for traditional 4 year college plans

AndrewGounardes21 karma

Yes. The reality is that some form of post-secondary education is becoming essential to entering the workforce of the 21st century. Trade schools, community colleges, etc., everything should be included. But I stress, this is about public education - the state shouldn't pay for your tuition at NYU. It SHOULD pay for your tuition at CUNY or SUNY. Quality public education is the single best investment we can make in our next generation.

MrFlizToYou4 karma

Will that be available for middle class families or is it more of a welfare-state stance? Will it be available for the middle class or will the middle class just fund it?

AndrewGounardes18 karma

See above. We can afford this for everyone. We have the 10th largest economy in the world. Don't let people tell you we can't afford it. Let's make this a priority instead of giving away tax incentives for developers and faux economic development plans.

If we can run a public school system for 1.1 million students in NYC, we can offer quality public education for all of our next generation.

PFreeman008-3 karma

millenials (god I hate that term)

Then don't use it! I read an interesting column recently where the author was trying to make the argument that "millenial" should be be the new n-word. Essentially it's used these days primarily as a derogatory term for use younger people.

Not to mention it isn't really a good generational term, as the folks born in the earlier half of the generation (like myself) are quite different then the folks born in the later half.

Stick to the old terms. I'm Gen-Y...

AndrewGounardes2 karma

I agree that the term doesn't fully or adequately describe the older vs. younger halves of the generation. I used it quickly as a shorthand.

Ankheg201621 karma

Hi, non-American here with a question. Looking up your district online a random website says that your district's registered voters are 76% Democrat and 33% Republican. It also seems that the Republican incumbent has a controversial history at best, and that NY overall is heavy Democrat country.

With all that in mind it seems really odd that the district would vote in a Republican that wasn't moderate. If the district went red at all I would expect it to be to a more moderate candidate. How do you think that happened? Did Martin Golden have some sort of resonance with the community? Is he very charismatic?

SnottNormal20 karma

Marty Golden isn't especially charismatic, but loves cutting ribbons and shaking hands. All else aside, he makes himself "present" when there's a photo opp to be had.

(I live in the district, Marty's name is all over the place.)

AndrewGounardes20 karma

That's true. Someone else asked a similar question. We win by showing how Golden's record in Albany continually lets down the residents of this district. We have a problem with affordable rents AND rising property taxes - Golden as the most powerful Republican in NYC is best situated to help his constituents directly by giving NYC back control of its own rent laws, crack down on J51 fraud, and reform the property tax system. Instead? He authored a bill to give a 95% real estate tax abatement to a single luxury condo building on the UWS where the top penthouse sold for $115 million. Who is really fighting for up in Albany?

AndrewGounardes12 karma

For the longest time, Democrats did not challenge Marty Golden because they were afraid of him.


Ankheg201613 karma

Please clarify what you mean by afraid... and didn't you run against him in 2012?

AndrewGounardes25 karma

I did. And before me, Golden had one only one prior challenger in the preceding ten years. Democrats in southern Brooklyn were too timid to go against him all those years. I wasn't afraid to take on Golden as a 26 y.o. in 2012 and I'm not afraid to take him on again. And win this time.

suprmario18 karma

How many doors have you knocked on this week and how can you double that number?

AndrewGounardes48 karma

This week alone I've personally knocked on 318 doors, and its only 3pm on a Tuesday. Ask me again on Thursday and I'll have that number doubled.

Our campaign relies on volunteers to boost the number of doors we knock on. This week our volunteers have already knocked on 600 doors, and we need to keep that going with more volunteer support.

Baxterftw15 karma

How do you plan on tackling issues of gun violence in NY while allowing us law abiding gun owners to not be Infringed upon?

Especially considering outside of the 5 big cities in NY it's basically all farm land and woods

AndrewGounardes7 karma

I don't think that any of the proposals in my gun platform infringe on your right to own a gun. It only requires that you do so safely.

triple_tin_foil15 karma

Andrew, as a lifelong Bay Ridge resident I wanted to say THANK YOU for your support of the Reproductive Health Act, for your relentless work on traffic, bike and pedestrian safety (and specifically on speed cameras), for your solid and forceful opposition to the mayor's proposed specialized high school plan, and for every single part of your Preventing Gun Violence platform. These are the things that are important to me as a constituent, and I appreciate that they're important to you. So when is the primary again?

AndrewGounardes9 karma

Thank you! September 13th!

cant_help_myself14 karma

Cynthia Nixon claims Cuomo is complicit in the GOP control of the NY Senate. Do you agree? Why is the NY Senate in GOP control anyway?

AndrewGounardes12 karma

I agree the Governor had it within his power to end GOP control of the senate a lot sooner than he did. The senate is in GOP control because we don't do a good enough job to elect Democrats to Democratic seats. Or seats with majority-Democratic enrollment. (Cough, cough.)

Williamfoster630 karma

Why is the NY Senate in GOP control anyway?

Ask the (former) members of the IDC. Specifically, Felder.

AndrewGounardes6 karma

Even with the IDC back, we are still one vote short. We need to beat a Republican to take back the senate. I can't do fancy math, but I can add up to 32.

debate_irl13 karma

Bay Ridge resident here -- in an overwhelmingly liberal district, Marty Golden has been in power for many years. What have you changed from previous attempts to challenge him, and why would those make you the candidate to beat him?

AndrewGounardes20 karma

This is an overwhelmingly Democratic district, not an overwhelmingly liberal district. On Sunday I met a triple-prime Democrat - which means he votes in every general and primary election - who was more conservative than Trump.

Even aside from that, there are many Dems who vote for Golden because he puts on a good show in the district and they don't realize he's working against them up in Albany. We have to engage new voters and old voters alike. I've knocked on enough doors in this district over the past six years to know exactly where our electorate is.

toobs62312 karma

My question is in regards to the issues surrounding the cost of living in NYC and Long Island. While I am further east, as I understand it Bay Ridge is coming into a similar situation, as Williamsburg and Greenpoint have before it.

What are your thoughts on this? How can we provide an environment where people in there 20's and 30's are encouraged to stay and are able to make a decent living? I've found that the cost of housing in particular has made it difficult for many people around my age to do well for themselves even when they hold a well paying job.

From an article in Brick Underground:

The average sales price in Bay Ridge for the third quarter of 2017 was $725,823, according to appraiser Jonathan Miller of Miller Samuel. That’s up 10.1 percent from the same period last year, when the average price was $659,191, and up 28.9 percent from the same period in 2012, when the average price was $563,092.

As the trend continues and single family homes make their way well past $1M how do we, the providers of those families, continue providing decent lives for our children?

I believe this issue to be endemic to NYC and Long Island and yet few seem to want to address it.

Edit: I did just see this comment of yours and I'm glad to see that it is a subject you have considered. Any specifics you can provide would be appreciated.

AndrewGounardes23 karma

Excellent question. We face an affordable housing crisis across the entire city, and that doesn't just mean low-income housing, but housing for working and middle class families. A cop and teacher couple making high 5 figures need affordable housing as much as a building cleaner.

Setting aside the crisis with the rent stabilization program, which has been well-documented in many other places, let's focus on home-ownership.

I'd love to create a program to help first-time homebuyers save for their down payment by creating a savings plan similar to 529 college savings plans. Let's let people save for their first down payment tax free just like we let them save for college. I think it will help make it easier to set aside money and let people get their slice of the American Dream.

The_Monocle_Debacle10 karma

Do you have any concrete plans on how to get the kind of institutional and cultural change it would take for the police and the NYPD specifically to begin holding dangerous drivers accountable? Changing the laws is one thing but getting the police to enforce them is another matter entirely. It's hard to feel optimistic that the police would change quickly enough to save lives without an extra push considering how poorly they enforce many laws already on the books and the complete lack of attempts to hold most drivers who kill pedestrians or cyclists accountable at all.

AndrewGounardes15 karma

More speed cameras. More automatic enforcement. Getting a cop on every street is unrealistic and impractical. And let's crack down on placard abuse so people stop thinking they are above the law, including Marty Golden, who just two weeks ago was busted for parking in a bus lane and also have 14 speeding tickets in four years.

brooklynpinstripes9 karma

Do you think ICE should be allowed in courthouses?

AndrewGounardes12 karma

No. Next?

keilwerth17 karma

Do you believe that one of the responsibilities of the Federal government is to defend and protect the sovereignty of the United States?

AndrewGounardes9 karma


Wrpy9 karma

Your opinion on a democratic socialist uprooting Crowley?

AndrewGounardes36 karma

Omigod - run for the hills!

Just kidding. I think AOC's campaign win was very exciting and uplifting for anyone who is trying to unseat an entrenched incumbent who everyone thought was unbeatable. That's exactly what I'm trying to do in my race, too.

Across the board, its really exciting that women and people of color are running for office in record numbers.

And even though I don't consider myself a democratic socialist, I think a lot of her campaign platform matches with what I'm campaigning for as well, including free tuition at college and single-payer healthcare.

futureP0TUS8 karma

Once the primaries are over I'll be splitting my time between you and Max Rose. Looking forward to a blue Senate so I can see my work in the Assembly finally realized and passed into law. What's a piece of legislation you're surprised hasn't been introduced yet?

AndrewGounardes13 karma

NY leads the nation with the most expensive childcare costs. I'm surprised we haven't seen more to address this issue head-on. It impacts every single family in the state.

circusgeek8 karma

Hi Andrew, Bay Ridge resident here. I am excited to see you challenge the status quo in District 22. Especially regarding quality of life issues like pedestrian safety and transit. I feel like Marty Golden only works for the businesses in the area and tosses out a movie night in the park every once in a while to make it look like he's doing something. As someone who commutes daily to Manhattan for work, do you have any ideas to improve the express bus situation? I feel like with more people moving to south Brooklyn the X28 and X27 lines are filled to capacity. Thank you for doing what you do!

AndrewGounardes10 karma

Yes! Thank you! I love movies in the park as much as the next person, but we have real issues in the neighborhood that we need to address. I think the MTA needs to be more accountable to riders so we can get the service improvements that we need. That means giving riders a vote on the MTA board - right now we only have one non-voting representative.

LGM7187 karma

Why is that district so ridiculously gerrymandered? I grew up in Sheepshead Bay - why is one side of Emmons Ave covered, then a different district for a few blocks, and them back to D-22? What do Sheepshead Bay, Manhattan Beach, and parts of Brighton have in common with Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights? Crazy.

AndrewGounardes20 karma

Excellent point. Ask Marty Golden. He was responsible for gerrymandering his own district. That's why we need non-partisan redistricting reform. Nevertheless, I vow to represent every corner of this district fairly.

Where do you live now? Still in the district?

LGM7182 karma

Nope, I’m in North Brooklyn now, but my parents have lived in Bay Ridge now for over 15 years.

AndrewGounardes12 karma

Tell them about me! ;)

sambayrdg6 karma

What do you think of Golden's dozens of traffic tickets, many of which are in school zones.

AndrewGounardes14 karma

I think leaders should set a good example and no one is above the law. Not even big, bad Marty Golden.

plaguefish6 karma

In what ways does the process of running for office leave openings for corruption? Where have you personally drawn a line?

There are obviously a lot of things you really want to do as a legislator, but what is your pet project? What's the first thing you plan to set into motion, if elected?

AndrewGounardes15 karma

There's an influence of dark money that I would never let penetrate my campaign. That's why I want my first bill to be campaign finance reform. In my last campaign filing, 56% of my donations were $50 or less, and I had more in-district donors than eithre of my two opponents.

The_Cakeater6 karma

Bay Ridge resident here, a couple of questions if you don't mind answering.

  1. As a relatively recent college graduate with debt building now in post-graduate schooling, what's your idea for funding essentially free college? Will it actually help the larger problem of young people finding work within their anticipated fields? Isn't the greater problem the fact that the minimum wage has yet to catch up to inflation? (Several questions, I apologize)

  2. What do you see as real change for the MTA and how do we enact it? Is there a way to do it without shutting down lines for extended periods of time?

  3. Is there a solution you see possible for the exorbitant price of admission over the Verrazzano?

  4. If you had to on accomplish one thing after being elected, what would it be?

Thanks for your time, best of luck on the campaign trail

AndrewGounardes12 karma

I've already answered these in other comments, but here's the shorthand response:

-- NY can afford tuition free CUNY and SUNY for all students, regardless of full or part time status. We are 10th largest economy in the country. It's a question of priorities, not affordability.

-- MTA needs real accountability by giving riders in every borough a vote on the MTA board - right now we only have one non-voting representative.

-- Yes, see above. More accountability means more service and cost improvements for riders. Also, a commuter tax!

-- First bill I want to sponsor is campaign finance reform. Biggest goal is to enact constitutional amendment guaranteeing free quality public education from pre-K through college. Right now contitution only covers kindergarten through high school.

BklynCatShrink6 karma

Hi Andrew, what is your favorite restaurant in Bay Ridge and what dish do you typically order there?

AndrewGounardes15 karma

Oh boy - this is a dangerous one!

I grew up a Vesuvio's guy, and love their pasta primavera. And I so badly miss Longbow Pub, which had the best fish-n-chips on this side of the Atlantic Ocean.

I'm a big fan of Casa Calamari, Tanoreen, Yemen Cafe, Karam, Glow Thai, Lock Yard, Ho'Brah, Elia, and Cebu.

CursedCarolers6 karma

Do you think the gerrymandering of the district works against you or for you? Is it based on the demographics of voters? Given the opportunity to redraw it in 2022 do you think that is something you would take into account?

AndrewGounardes14 karma

Gerrymandering works against democracy. The only people who benefit from gerrymandering are entrenched incumbents. I support nonpartisan redistricting.

That said, this is a 2-1 Democratic district with continually changing demographics and I am confident that my campaign is the best situated to represent every corner of this district.

Breademic5 karma

If you are elected and had the time and resources, how would you fix the MTA subway system?

AndrewGounardes17 karma

1 solution - make the MTA more accountable by giving riders in each borough a voting seat on the MTA board. Right now we only have one non-voting representative, which is as good as spitting in the wind. See below in this thread for more on this idea.

elnuevonumerodos5 karma


The Janus decision was a huge blow to workers' rights and workplace democracy. I know our district has many union members living in it. What is your plan to continue to protect people's rights in the workplace, including the right to form a union? Is there anything more we can do at the state level to prevent outside groups from coming in to encourage public sector workers to leave their unions, and what can our legislature do proactively to prevent and protect against right to work legislation?

AndrewGounardes8 karma

Great great question. The Janus decision is just another example of how the Supreme Court is eviscerating the working class.

I think there a bunch of good ways we can fight back at the state level, for example like giving union workers a tax break for paying their union dues and protecting unions from the freeloader problem that will result from the Janus decision. It's going to be hard to limit outside groups from coming into our state and misleading workers, especially in the age of Citizens United, but I think this is a great opportunity for unions to show just how important they are by engaging on new organizing drives.

CursedCarolers5 karma

How would you distinguish yourself policy-wise from your primary opponent Ross Barkan?

AndrewGounardes8 karma

On the issues that matter most to residents in this district, I have a proven record of delivering results. For example, I've been organizing and fighting for pedestrian safety in our community for years. I co-founded Bay Ridge Cares which prepared 25,000 hot meals in 6 weeks for victims displaced by Superstorm Sandy and today is like the neighborhood "Red Cross." I've done pro bono legal work for several non-profits in the neighborhood, too.

It's not just knowing what the issues are - it's about being able to effectuate meaningful change.

BizarroJordan5 karma

Which groups, if any, have you been endorsed by or are working with to ensure a strong grassroots effort? (Justice Dems, New King Dems, DSA, etc.)

AndrewGounardes15 karma

Run for Something, Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats (leading reform Dem club in the borough), Bay Ridge Democrats, Brooklyn Young Democrats, Lamdba Independent Democrats, the Working Families Party, 32BJ, CWA, and the UAW.

poliscijunki5 karma

If Ross wins the primary, will you endorse him and canvass for him?

AndrewGounardes21 karma

Anything to defeat Marty Golden.

bklynturtles4 karma

Hi Andrew! Thanks for doing this. I created an account to ask you some questions about your campaign, since I am in your district and I'm watching the race!

  1. Your small businesses platform on your website says you want to bring startups to Southern Brooklyn by developing local co-working spaces. I'm thinking of companies like WeWork. My concern about bringing startups to the area is that it will cause displacement and gentrification in Southern Brooklyn. We've seen this happen in San Francisco and areas of NYC where tech companies open up offices, and the whole community changes with displacement of locals and new luxury buildings being built. How will you ensure the local residents, especially those of low-income backgrounds, will not be displaced, and local mom and pop shops won't be closing due to trendier restaurants and businesses opening? Or rather, could you elaborate more on this bullet point, and explain how and why you want to do this?

  2. I've noticed you're campaigning often in Bay Ridge and it seems like Bay Ridge has been your focus since your campaign launched. Will you be going out to other neighborhoods in the district soon? I'd love to say hi and chat with you in person!

  3. Have there been any debates yet between you and the incumbent?

  4. Seeing that our district is so diverse and encompasses a lot of different neighborhoods, how does your paid campaign team compare? (Not including volunteers or unpaid staff) Are they also natives to the district?

Thanks for doing this AMA! I'm hoping to see you in my neighborhood soon. Good luck!

AndrewGounardes9 karma

First, what neighborhood are you in!? I've been campaigning across the entire district all spring and summer long. Just last week I was in Marine Park, Gravesend, and Bensonhurst. Send me a note where you are and we'll arrange a time to meet up! And I participate in the New York Road Runner Open Run in Marine Park on Sundays!

Now to your questions - my platform for co-working spaces isn't about attracting new startups to southern Brooklyn to create displacement, but to provide a collaborative setting for the many freelancers and existing startups that are already in our neighborhood. We have lots of people who work at home, either as freelancers or on their next big idea - let's cultivate and nurture our home-grown talent and give it a place to thrive in the neighborhood. Even the NYTimes wrote about this issue just the other day and talked about how restaurants were opening during the day to provide co-working spaces as well as give themselves a financial boost.

Also, i want to support small businesses by lowering the sales tax on goods purchased from a small business. The reason why folks buy a book on Amazon instead of their local bookstore is because a) its often cheaper and b) its more convenient. We can't beat the convenience argument, but if we can make goods cheaper to buy in a small business, we should do it.

No word on debates yet. There will be, for sure.

My staff of three is made up of two women and a man, who is also a poc veteran. Two of our three staffers live in the district. My whole team, staff, volunteers, and interns will always reflect the full diversity of the neighborhood, including the many diverse communities that have been previously unrepresented in local politics.

brooklynpinstripes4 karma

Are you planning on campaigning for the IDC primary challengers, or do you abide by the IDC's "nonaggression" pact?

AndrewGounardes14 karma

I'm focusing on my race, which will flip control of the state senate regardless of what happens with the IDC.

Personally, I've donated to Jessica Ramos because I've been really inspired by the campaign she's running.

pussgurka3 karma

What are your ideas to reduce gun violence in NYC?

AndrewGounardes1 karma

Good question. It's been a big issue I've worked on for a long time. I'm a member of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence and Moms Demand Action has designated me as a "Gun Sense" candidate.

Here are the highlights of my gun platform:

Supporting the “Red Flag Bill,” which empowers educators, family members, and law enforcement officials to get a court-issued order of protection prohibiting individuals from purchasing, possessing or attempting to purchase or possess a gun if they are perceived to be likely to harm themselves or others.

Supporting Nicholas’s Law, which would help keep guns out of reach of children by requiring gun owners to safely lock and store their guns.

Supporting legislation prohibiting hate crime offenders from purchasing or owning firearms.

Closing the Out-of-State Gun Permit Background Check Loophole by requiring residents of other states applying for a New York gun licenses to sign a waiver allowing New York to access their mental health records.

Closing the "boyfriend loophole," to prohibit people with a restraining order, or convicted of stalking from owning or purchasing a firearm.

Supporting local law enforcement in cracking down on the purchasing and trafficking of illegal guns.

SnottNormal3 karma

Thanks for doing this! It sounds minor as the country kind of burns to the ground, but I appreciate the work you've been doing regarding traffic/pedestrian safety in the district. We're saddled with triple parkers, drag racers, and plain old bad drivers. Golden's personal bad traffic habits seem to ensure that none of this will ever be addressed, so it's been refreshing to see you tackling this from your campaign's get-go.

Has there been any push for the "Golden Rule" mentioned in your platform elsewhere? I hadn't seen mention of it before, and it feels like a good step towards dealing with our state's corruption issues.

AndrewGounardes11 karma

Great question. Thanks for the support on pedestrian safety.

We've been rolling out our platforms week by week, so not everything on the website has gotten its day in the sun just yet. But that doesn't mean that the issues are any less important. We're going to start pushing out more of these now that we are past the petitioning period and can focus on running a substantive, issue-based campaign.

Would love to hear your thoughts on other issues we should be addressing. Shoot me an email at [email protected] anytime.

cahaseler3 karma

What can be done at the State Senate level to combat atrocities organized from the top?

AndrewGounardes17 karma

States are now the last line of defense to protect against the horrific things happening in Washington. Case in point? We need to pass the Reproductive Health Act in NY because abortion is currently criminalized in NY due to an outdated statute, and if the Supreme Court overturns Roe, then women in our state will not have access to safe reproductive choices.

It's like Justice Brandeis once said - states are the laboratories of democracy. Except now states are the last bulwark of democratic governance.

monkeygo15932 karma

Andrew, I'm a big fan of yours and definitely voting for you in the primary. I also really like Eric Adams. Can you tell me more about what working there has meant to you? Hoping you win and that Eric runs for mayor!

AndrewGounardes5 karma

Thank you! The best thing I've learned from Eric is that government can be initimidating for many people who only experience it in a negative way. It's hard to believe that government can be a force for good when your only interactions with government come from evictions, lots of red tape, or a total lack of responsiveness for quality of life issues. Working on a borough-wide level really opened my eyes to the scale and scope of circumstances that people live with. For example, our community doesn't have any public housing, so it was eye-opening for me to see and hear firsthand from constituents who live in substandard public housing.

nullsucks2 karma

Will you caucus with the Democratic Party in the NY Senate, if when you win?

AndrewGounardes11 karma

Cough, cough "When I win."


rebelwithagoodcause2 karma

NY ranks #1 in most expensive childcare if elected what will you do to help working families?

AndrewGounardes6 karma

We can increase funding for childcare, expanding the child care subsidy program, and increasing tax credits to truly help working - and middle-class families afford the high cost of child care. Additionally we should increase wages for child care workers, as 60% of them earn wages that put them below the poverty threshold.

N1MBUS9052 karma

Do you stand with the views of the party lines you are running on? Specifically the Reform Party?

AndrewGounardes6 karma

Yes. Otherwise I wouldn't be running on those lines.

Here is the Reform Party's platform, directly from their website. Next to each plank I'll give you my view in bold.

That the Reform Party is controlled exclusively by its membership, its agenda set by them and its direction guided by them. This includes having the Reform Party being a model for intra-party democracy. Out members know what’s best.

That government at all levels (Washington D.C., Albany and City Hall) has become too dominated by special interests, lobbyists, big money and professional politicians and that citizens would be better served by more of an emphasis on citizen legislators. We’re anti lobbyist and pro people. AGREE

A more civically engaged and better informed citizenry is necessary for government and for NY’s political parties to function more effectively. We must make Civics education a priority! AGREE

The rights and interests of voters should trump the interests of political parties and party bosses. AGREE

New York’s ballot access laws are woefully inadequate and undemocratic. Let’s streamline the process to make it easier for regular people to run for office. AGREE

Elections and government in general should be administered in a non-partisan rather than bi-partisan manner. Let’s reform the Board of Elections, so that it’s no longer a patronage mill. AGREE

New York’s education system should be a student first agenda, with a curriculum primarily determined by parents, local educators and administrators, with an emphasis on higher standards and life skills, as opposed to a one size fits all approach like Common Core, focused exclusively on standardized testing. AGREE

New Yorkers should have the opportunity to vote on whether or not their elected officials should be subject to Term Limits. AGREE

To support voter choice and voter empowerment, we strongly support allowing people to make laws for themselves through “Initiative and Referendum”. AGREE

Public Authorities like the MTA, the Port Authority, the New York Racing Association, etc. need better oversight, less bureaucracy and greater public awareness into how they make decisions. AGREE

I think we can all agree that more transparency and accountability in government is a good thing.

ferb21 karma

How do you feel about UBI? On a similar thread how will you respond to increasing automation and driverless cars?

AndrewGounardes2 karma

Very curious to learn more about UBI. Intrigued by what I've learned so far but need to do further study.

Automation is in many ways, inevitable. My current thinking on how to address automation follows along the same lines as the Obama administration’s Council of Economic Advisors, which advocated for a mix of targeted government investments in R&D to maximize technological productivity and keep the United States at the forefront of innovation, robust education to make sure that our workforce is prepared for the jobs of the 21st and 22nd centuries, and a recommitment to enhancing social net programs that help workers get through “bridge periods” between job displacement and new employment.

Crosley80 karma

There have been a lot of issues with the NY MTA lately. Do you plan to work with Cuomo (or his replacement) to fix these issues, and if so, what does that plan consist of?

AndrewGounardes4 karma

Fixing the damn subways and buses are a big reason why I'm running.

We can talk about funding the MTA forever and ever, and there's a lot more to do there. But first and foremost for me is the total lack of accountability between the MTA and its customers/riders.

I have long advocated for giving riders in every borough a voting seat on the MTA board - currently we only have just one non-voting rider representative for the entire system. It won't solve every problem, but a little accountability goes a long way. We would have the ability to vote on budgets, set agency priorities, and actually deliver results for transit riders.

westernwatermelon0 karma

I'm a woman just entering the work force and I'm upset with the unequal pay women are getting compared to men. What will you do to help close the wage gap?

AndrewGounardes7 karma

Women in NY arn $0.89 to every $1 that men earn, which may not seem like that big of a deal but translates into $54 billion in lost income for women across the state every year.

I want to close that gap by requiring all public and large employers to include a salaray or projected salary range for all job postings. Because even if we ban asking for salary history, that does nothing to correct the structural inequities that already exist for women in the workplace.

The_Reddit_Jester0 karma

I want you to explain to me the benefits of free college tuition for everyone and free healthcare. Why should I pay higher taxes for people that might just abuse the system/lower the quality of these areas?

It's all admirable to strive for it, but I'm still not a fan of those platforms. Make it more affordable, sure, but to make it free isn't something I'm for.

AndrewGounardes2 karma

I think these are the single best investments we can make in our society. More than luxury tax breaks for real estate developers. More than questionable economic development incentives. We pay these costs whether through taxes or externalities. And we also reap the benefits of them. More students affording college means more graduates starting new businesses and creating more jobs. More people being able to access preventative medicine means healthier people which saves $ in the long run. Plus we do it already for Medicare.

awcla14-1 karma

So you are running on a platform of hate, discourse, and the simple idea of "I don't support trump so vote for me"?

AndrewGounardes4 karma

Nope. Read my website. I'm running on local issues that my district cares about. Thanks for stopping by.

Wheredoesthepepgo-1 karma

Hi there, I am conducting important research to see if people prefer pepperoni on pizza to be above the cheese or under the cheese? Also, if you could state your geographic location and your gender that would be appreciated.

AndrewGounardes3 karma

Over the cheese. Brooklyn. Male. Anything else?

ThrowawayBigApple-3 karma

This is beyond a failure of an AMA.

If your goal was to show voters that you cannot explain any of your policy points in detail, great job! You ONLY answered agreeable questions, don't you think that's a bad look?

AndrewGounardes2 karma

Clearly you aren't reading. I'm posting paragraphs of details on everything from guns to education to healthcare to affordable housing, etc.

What's your question?

Pfthrowawy109898654-3 karma

Do you believe that “fixing the NYC transit system” means cutting wages for workers, a la Cynthia Nixon?

AndrewGounardes7 karma

No. It means making the MTA more accountable to riders by not spending $350,000 replacing the signs on the VZ bridge and paying for better and more regular service.

Transport2641-9 karma

Did you find your platform under the topic section for Democrats for Dummies?

AndrewGounardes17 karma

Nice. Let us know when your next show is, we'd love to come and give you an audience.