Is it something in the water? Riverdale has been home, at one time or another, to the last three Democratic state attorneys general, including Robert Abrams, Oliver Koppell and Eliot Spitzer, and our current state Senator, Eric Schneiderman, may soon add his name to that list.
He is running for attorney general as the Democratic pick, and he is racing to improve his name recognition outside his 31st state Senate District, a bailiwick that spans from Riverdale all the way to the Upper West Side. He asserts that he has learned lessons here that he would like to take with him should he defeat his Republican opponent Dan Donovan next month.
First elected to the state Senate in 1998, during his first term Mr. Schneiderman helped pass the pro-choice Clinic Access Bill, which made it illegal to follow and harass or threaten anybody within a 15-foot area around a reproductive health care facility, reducing the burden of proof needed to prosecute offenders.
“I can’t think of anything that would protect women’s health that he hasn’t been on the right side of,” said Marcia Allina, a Riverdale resident and an officer in the Benjamin Franklin Reform Democratic Club that endorsed Mr. Schneiderman. She is also on the board of Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood Advocates of New York has endorsed Mr. Schneiderman, too.
In 2007, he was appointed to the New York State Commission on Sentencing Reform and sponsored the senate version of legislation to amend what’s known as the Rockefeller Drug Laws that mandated long minimum prison sentences for nonviolent drug offenses and which were amended in 2009. The reforms changed those mandates, reduced sentences, increased penalties for drug kingpins and expanded alternatives to prison.
“He’s focused more on the big picture issues and he’s focused more on the nitty gritty stuff — the neighborhood issues,” said Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, who heads the Ben Franklin Club and is also running for re-election in the 81st Assembly District.