Monday, October 13, 2008

Janele Hyer-Spencer for the 60th Assembly District

The Pride Agenda is proud to endorse Janele Hyer-Spencer for re-election to the 60th Assembly District representing the East Shore of Staten Island and Bay Ridge in Brooklyn.

Hyer-Spencer is running for re-election this year after having won an open seat in 2006. She came to office with a professional background advocating for woman, children and victims of domestic violence. In the Assembly, she has been able to continue her work in this area by serving on the Judiciary Committee, the Aging Committee, the Children and Families Committee and the Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Committee.

Hyer-Spencer co-sponsored and provided an important vote in the Judiciary Committee for a new law that enables victims of domestic violence to seek orders of protection from non-family members and gives them the same access to Family Court as those who are married. This law covers domestic partners and individuals in dating relationships in our community, something the Pride Agenda has been working on since the early 1990’s. Shamefully, New York State has been far out of the mainstream on providing same-sex domestic partners with these protections. Before this bill became law, New York State was in the company of only two or three other states in the whole country – states like Louisiana and Mississippi -- in refusing to give same-sex domestic partners access to Family Court and orders of protection.

We thank Assemblymember Hyer-Spencer for helping build momentum in the State Legislature for finally updating New York’s antiquated approach to the way it treats victims of domestic violence.

Hyer-Spencer’s advocacy for families and children and those who are most vulnerable in New York has also extended to our families and our community in other important ways. She joined a large number of her colleagues in supporting the successful passage of a bill providing our families with access to marriage and the hundreds of protections it provides and the passage of a bill ending discrimination against transgender New Yorkers.

In her first term in office, Janele Hyer-Spencer has stood up for our community on important votes when it mattered. Given that she has an opponent in her first bid for re-election, represents an Assembly District formerly held by a Republican where Democrat voters tend to be more conservative, we give special thanks to her for working to make sure our families are included in the state’s safety net of protections -- in all areas of the law.

To read profiles of other important races we are highlighting for the NYS Legislature, go to our 2008 Election Center.

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