Knows us. Fights for us. ALL of us.

Council Member Mark Levine Endorses Paul Newell for Assembly

New York City Council Member Mark Levine has announced his endorsement of Paul Newell for Assembly in the 65th Assembly District this morning.

He joins the Downtown Independent Democrats, Coalition for a District Alternative (CoDA), the Stonewall Democrats, Zephyr Teachout, CWA Locals 1101 & 1180, and dozens of local and statewide progressive leaders in endorsing Paul Newell.

Council Member Mark Levine is a Democrat representing District 7 in Manhattan. He is a progressive leader on housing, education, economic justice, transportation, and environmentalism. As the Chair of the City Council’s Parks Committee, Levine has been a leader in expanding access to scarce open space.

Levine said, "Paul is one of those rare community advocates who walks the walk ten times out of ten. He's in electoral politics because he's of his community, not because it's his turn or because he's ambitious. In talking with my friends in Lower Manhattan, their recognition of his work is near-universal. I'm weighing in on this race because we share an agenda, but also because the people of every neighborhood in this City deserve an advocate-representative who knows them and who fights for all of them. I'm proud to serve my neighborhood in that capacity in my Council District, and for Lower Manhattan, that person is Paul Newell.”

Newell, a Democratic District Leader and Community Organizer in the Lower East Side said, “It is such an honor to be endorsed by my longtime friend and colleague in advocacy, Mark Levine. Mark is a leader through and through, on issues that matter to our district and citywide - housing, green space, education and more. Mark's district is a hybrid of beautifully diverse communities, like ours in Lower Manhattan, in which he has leveraged coalition- and community-building to advance a community-based agenda. He has done so effectively, inclusively and, rightfully, to broad acclaim. I admire him and his work, and it will be an honor to work with Mark to make this city a more open, progressive and effective place to be, as his partner in state government.”

Downtown Independent Democrats Endorse Paul Newell

June 1, 2016
CONTACT:    Josh Hyman, 518-495-1324,
See this release online at:

Downtown Independent Democrats Endorse Paul Newell for Assembly


Lower Manhattan's premier reform Democratic club resoundingly endorsed Paul Newell for State Assembly in the 65th Assembly District last night.

In the past 10 days, Newell has been endorsed by the Coalition for a District Alternative (CoDA), the Stonewall Democrats, and now the Downtown Independent Democrats.  They join Zephyr Teachout, Former Public Advocate Mark Green, Former Borough President Ruth Messinger, CWA Locals 1101 & 1180, and dozens of local and statewide progressive leaders in endorsing Paul Newell.

The club's endorsement was closely watched as to who will carry the reform mantle in the election to succeed Sheldon Silver.  Newell is seen as having the strongest reform credentials, having challenged Silver in 2008 and consistently advocating for cleaner government in Albany.  In that race, Newell was endorsed by the New York Times, the Daily News, and the New York Post.

Newell, a Democratic District Leader and Community Organizer in the Lower East Side said "The D.I.D. has been standing for community representation and ethical government for 45 years. I am proud to carry that banner in this election and will be prouder still to do so in Albany"

D.I.D. President Jeanne Wilcke said "D.I.D. members have seen Newell's long service to our neighborhood and his fearless advocacy for reform. The vote was not a rejection of any candidate, but a firm support for Paul Newell."

The Downtown Independent Democrats is Lower Manhattan’s largest progressive Democratic organization.  Founded in 1971, the club is committed to open, transparent reform procedure, supports progressive government and issues and helps elect honest and intelligent Democratic public officials.  The club's district covers one of the largest areas of any club in Manhattan.  Neighborhoods represented include Battery Park City, the Financial District, TriBeCa, SoHo, West SoHo, NoHo, the South Village, Washington Square Village, Silver Towers, parts of the Lower East Side and the East Village, as well as Governors, Ellis and Liberty Islands.




Paul Newell Kicks off State Assembly Campaign




Sunday, May 22nd, 2016

CONTACT:    Josh Hyman, 518-495-1324




Flanked by supporters from Chinatown, Grand Street, Loisida and elsewhere, Paul Newell, Democratic District Leader for the 65th Assembly District, announced his second run for State Assembly, focusing heavily on the opportunity Lower Manhattan now had to tell its own story and fight for its most urgent priorities. Newell famously challenged then-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver in 2008, coming in second place and scoring the endorsement of all three major New York City newspapers. Newell ran for Democratic District Leader the following year, winning 67% of the vote, and has served continuously as District Leader since.

Newell unveiled a populist and unifying theme to his campaign. He tied in his years of community advocacy in the face of hospital closures, rent deregulation, and Superstorm Sandy with the activist tradition of Downtown Manhattan. He was surrounded by supporters, many drawn from that activist community, and several spoke to his qualifications as the most earnest, thoughtful and hard- working candidate in a crowded field. They spoke of him as the clear choice for his long-standing and authentic advocacy, and his proven ability to get things done across the district.

Carolyn English, a 45-year resident of Paul’s building, the Masaryk Towers, said, “One day after Paul moved into our building, the Masaryk Towers, Superstorm Sandy hit. Paul and I wound up coordinating the emergency response for the community. He wasted no time, bringing hard work, humility and organizational skills to a community he'd barely come to know, but already adopted as his. It's no wonder to me that Paul has attracted a small army of friends and followers over the years. He represents exactly the kind of service- first, community-first ethos you want in a representative."

Alex Li, a 27-year-old immigrant and longtime Chinatown resident, originally from Fujian Province, China, said, “I’ve known Paul for over a decade now, initially as my supervisor when I interned at Ubuntu Education Fund, then as a candidate in 2008 and throughout our history as close friends. Paul has been a constant teacher, a supporter and an ally to me and I know he will bring the same open- mindedness, fairness and dedication with him to Albany so that he can continue to fight on behalf of this community. I am proud to call Paul Newell both a friend and a mentor, and I could not ask for a better person to represent me in Albany.”

Lower Manhattan tenant leader Joel Roodman expressed gratitude for Newell’s central role in the fight to prevent 421g units from being exempted from rent-control regulations: “Paul has worked tirelessly as an advocate for me and thousands of other tenants fighting for rent stabilized housing so desperately needed to continue to build a vibrant financial district.”

Newell himself focused on the great activist tradition of the district, emphasizing primarily housing, transportation, and support for the working and middle class. He said, “This district is an amazing place, with an amazing story that was first written before America existed and is now ours to pass on. We are not passive people in Lower Manhattan. It's not who we are. We stand up, we organize and we demand what we need - not by trading favors with the well-heeled and well-connected, but by standing up for our communities and our inherent dignity as people. When I ran for this office 2008, I did it, among other reasons, because so much of what we love about Lower Manhattan was threatened by displacement. When three men sit in a secret room and write laws for 20 million New Yorkers, you can guarantee it is not us making the decisions. The culture of corruption and failure in Albany must end. The costs of corruption are not a few million dollars in bribes, or someone’s son’s no-show job. The costs of corruption are higher rents, higher taxes, overcrowded classrooms, and crumbling subways.

“In this race, we see all sorts of machines and interests poking their fingers in, because this part of the world is valuable real estate, and powerful people want to control our story. But this story is ours. We're used to adversity. But what we'll never get used to or accept is that story being taken away from us. This is a neighborhood of the working and middle class, a place of opportunity, and so it will remain. Never give up, and this time next year, for the first time in decades, we will control our story and how it's told from Battery Park, all the way to Albany. And because we tell our story, it will go on, and be here again to tell when our children live and work in this great place we call home.” 




Masaryk Towers Resident Carolyn English Speaks at the Newell Campaign Kickoff

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Statement on the Reported Imminent Closure of Beth Israel Hospital




UPDATE May 14:  Executives at Mt. Sinai have responded that they have no intent of shutting down the Beth Israel campus.  I sincerely hope this is true.  In the meantime, it is vital that we hold them accountable to their mission.  The State Legislature and the Governor should inform Mt. Sinai that any changes to the Certificate of Need will be opposed.  Likewise, the City Council and Mayor should inform them that any deed or zoning changes at the site which endanger the health of New Yorkers will be blocked.



May 13, 2016

Contact: Paul Newell


While plans for closing Mt. Sinai Beth Israel have yet to be confirmed, it seems evident from reporting in The Villager and elsewhere that closure plans are well underway.  Lower Manhattan is a vibrant community; our own Assembly district has 150,000 men, women and children of all ages and backgrounds, who work hard to support their families and make their communities a great place.


For most of the Lower East Side and Chinatown, Mt. Sinai Beth Israel is the shortest ambulance ride away.  In such emergencies, the extra minutes in NYC traffic can mean life or death.  Furthermore, if Mt. Sinai Beth Israel hospital closes, we will be even more dependent on hospitals in Flood Zone 1.  The reality is that our community was among the hardest-hit by Superstorm Sandy.  We are the largest city in the US, and among the premier cities of the world.  For us to have so few flood-protected hospitals for the millions of residents and workers in central and Lower Manhattan, and only one remaining hospital (NY Presbyterian) serving Lower Manhattan, is not only outrageous, it's callous, short-sighted and extremely poor urban planning.


In 2010, I co-founded the Coalition for a New Village Hospital in response to the threatened closure of St. Vincent's Hospital.  We fought for years, but eventually that 161-year-old community's lifeline was cut.  In 2013, I fought with our neighbors against the closure of the Long Island College Hospital, and that hospital was closed as well.  Now it seems that they're ready to cut one of our final lifelines, which is not only an affront to hundreds of thousands, it's an abject threat.


Healthcare in a city of 8.5 million needs to be about resource allocation based on need, not on real estate prices or the corporate bottom line.  How would this area survive a disaster like September 11th with no local hospital?  Clearly, the people making the decisions aren't the same people who will be left without a hospital.


I want to take this moment to state my strong support for SEIU 1199 & the New York State Nurses' Association's efforts to prevent Certificate of Need regulations from being tampered with by corporations.  Decisions like removing hospital service literally impact who lives and who dies, and the proper way to make them is not by informing the staff and then putting a gag on them.  It's by involving the community that will be impacted, not to mention the workers of the hospital, in a collaborative needs assessment.


I call on the Board of Mt. Sinai to reconsider their decision immediately, and on the powers that be in New York City to make very clear that this decision is at best premature, and at worst incredibly dangerous.  I will be following this story as it develops, and reaching out to partners in healthcare advocacy and throughout our communities so we can make sure our needs for healthcare are addressed, regardless of the corporate bottom line.




Statement on the sentencing of Sheldon Silver


 May 3, 2016

Contact: Paul Newell


Statement from Paul Newell on the sentencing of Sheldon Silver


Today, the era of Sheldon Silver is over.  A federal judge sentenced Silver to serve 12 years in prison for fraud, extortion and money laundering.  While this is a sad day for Lower Manhattan and a sad day for New York, it also presents an opportunity for change.

Now the real work of ending Albany’s culture of corruption can begin.  Our goal should be not to purge a few bad actors, but to end it – for good. Political graft like that which Silver was convicted of is not just a personal failure; it impoverishes us all. The costs of corruption are higher rents, higher taxes, underfunded schools, and crumbling subways.

Fortunately, we have a rare opportunity for real change.  The convictions of Dean Skelos and Sheldon Silver mean that for the first time in a generation, we have a chance to build an Albany that listens to everyday New Yorkers.  In Lower Manhattan and across New York State, people are ready for a new kind of leadership.  Our neighborhoods need real infrastructure investment, stronger tenant protections, more and better schools, and an honest voice in Albany.

We will never get there with a politics dominated by big money and political bosses, be they Glenwood Management, Sheldon Silver, or Joe Crowley.  Lower Manhattan and the state of New York can and must do better than that.

And on September 13th, we will.  I am running for New York State Assembly to bring our neighborhoods’ voice to Albany – and to fight for an Albany that can hear us.



Paul Newell is a community organizer, tenant activist and lifelong resident of the Lower Manhattan.  A leading voice for ethics reform in Albany, Newell has been the elected Democratic District Leader for the 65th Assembly District since 2009.  In 2008, Newell ran a spirited challenger's campaign for the Assembly seat, winning the endorsements of The New York Times, The Daily News, the New York Post and many others.  More information on Paul Newell can be found at

Why Passover is my Favorite Holiday


Passover has always been my favorite holiday.  Not just because I love food, family, tradition, and wine.  But because I know of no other holiday that so explicitly celebrates the struggle for freedom and economic justice.  One of the reasons I am so proud to be Jewish, is our history of fighting injustice.  In Lower Manhattan, we know that story well.  Clara Lemlich, Lillian Wald, Meyer London, Margaret Sanger, Sidney Hillman, Bessie Abramowitz, Miriam Friedlander, and so many more. 

The Passover story is the origin of this strain of Jewish thought.  Our very identity as a people was forged in a revolt of the working class.  So even when we lose our way for 40-years or so (be it in the desert or in the Assembly), every year we repeat the story of standing up to oppression – complete with ritualized tears, mortar, and sympathy for our enemies.  It is a beautiful holiday and a beautiful tradition.  I am proud to be celebrating it.

So, gut yuntif, chag sameach, a zisn pesach, and a happy Passover to all who celebrate, and all who stand up for what is right.  The struggle continues.

Statement on the Special Election in the 65th AD

I congratulate Alice Cancel on her election to the New York State Assembly for the remaining months of Sheldon Silver’s term.  I hope that during her term in office, she will do her best to represent the interests of Lower Manhattan, not the political bosses who have driven the Special Election process from its inception.

Fortunately, on September 13th, the 65th Assembly District will be presented with a real choice.  I will be a candidate in that election - and look forward to asking for your vote.

Today we also saw “Boss” Joe Crowley and the Queens machine's politics of big money and personal attacks fail. Their candidate, Ms. Niou, outspent her opponent more than 50 to 1 - dumping hundreds of thousands of special interest dollars on vicious and misleading attack ads. Despite this, she was unable to overcome her lack of connection to Lower Manhattan.

In a flawed, interim election, Lower Manhattan chose a machine candidate from our neighborhood over a machine candidate from another borough.  On September 13th, we’ll have the chance to elect an Assembly Member who is independent of Joe Crowley, Sheldon Silver, or any other boss.

I have spent my career fighting for honest, progressive government for our neighborhoods and our state.  I look forward to asking for your support on September 13th.

Tomorrow, that campaign begins.  Please visit my website,, for more information.  Thank you.

Healthcare Deadline: January 31st

The deadline for most of us to apply for new health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (also known as “ObamaCare”) is Sunday, January 31st.  If you already have insurance through the ACA, Jan. 31st is also the deadline to switch plans this year.

This is not the last day anyone can sign-up for ObamaCare. It’s the last day for “open enrollment” this year.  If you have a qualifying “life event” that requires you to change your coverage you will be able to sign up later.

But for most of us, now is the time to act.  If you’re uninsured or want to change your plan in New York, sign up today at  If you’re not in NY, start your search at  You’ll be surprised at how affordable many of the plans are.  The vast majority of New Yorkers who apply are eligible for state-funded Medicaid plans or significant federal subsidies.  On the flip-side, many people will be subject to tax penalties if they remain uninsured.

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Season’s Greetings from Lower Manhattan

Wishing you and your family the happiest of holidays and a joyous, healthy and prosperous new year.

Next year will be an important one for the future of our neighborhoods, and I look forward to working and celebrating with you in 2016 and beyond.

Peace and Justice on Earth,



Photo by Lower East Side photographer, Vivienne Gucwa. Check out her work at



November 30, 2015
Contact: Paul Newell
347-351-7285 or


“This is a sad day for Lower Manhattan and a sad day for New York.  Today’s verdict proves it is up to us to reclaim our government.  No court will end Albany’s culture of corruption and cronyism.  If we, as voters and citizens, continue to accept a government that favors those who buy power and influence, then that will be the government we get. But, if we want a government that is fair, transparent, and works for all of us, we must reclaim it ourselves. We can and must do better. The time for us to act is now.”

Paul Newell is a community organizer, tenant activist, a lifelong resident of the Lower Manhattan, and a leading voice for ethics reform in Albany. Since 2009, Newell has been the elected Democratic District Leader for the 65th Assembly District.  (The district that was represented in the NYS Assembly by Sheldon Silver until his conviction on November 30, 2015.) In 2008, Newell ran a spirited challenger’s campaign for the Assembly seat, winning the endorsements of The New York Times, The Daily News, the New York Post and many others.



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