District Leaders & State Committee

District Leaders


Paul Newell

Paul Newell is Male Democratic District Leader for Assembly District 65 Part C. A lifelong resident of Lower Manhattan, Paul is a community organizer and progressive Democrat, committed to working for affordable housing, quality schools, livable streets, and an honest government in Albany.

In 2009, Paul was elected District Leader for Lower Manhattan and the Lower East Side with 67% of the vote. Since then he has been re-elected three times, most recently in September 2015.

Long before being elected Democratic District Leader, Paul has been speaking out against corruption in Albany. In 2008, fed up with a culture of failure and corruption in our State Government, he launched a campaign for New York State Assembly. In the course of that campaign, he was endorsed by The New York Times, New York Daily News, New York Post, Americans for Democratic Action, BlogPAC, Gawker Media and more. The campaign was also the subject of an award-winning documentary by filmmaker Justin Sullivan, Excuse Me, Mr. Speaker….

As District Leader, Newell has led a six-year effort to extend rent regulation to thousands of “421-g” apartments, organizing tenants to win protections from rent increases and evictions. He has also been a leading voice for protecting and expanding rent regulations for the over two million New Yorkers who depend on them, and for increased capital funding for NYCHA.

Before the closure of St. Vincent’s Hospital – a devastating blow to Lower Manhattanites’ access to emergency and long-term health care – Newell founded the Coalition for a New Village Hospital. The Coalition led our community’s efforts – in the courts and in the streets – to demand a full-service hospital at the site; a fight that is still ongoing.  He later worked closely on the fight to keep LICH hospital in Cobble Hill, and continues that work today at Beth Israel in Manhattan.

In 2000, Newell joined Ubuntu Education Fund, then a fledgling non-profit based out of a broom closet in an elementary school. Newell helped build the organization into an internationally recognized leader in response to HIV and poverty. Ubuntu now reaches thousands of vulnerable children in New York and South Africa.

Prior to working at Ubuntu Education Fund, Newell, a Yiddish speaker, worked to preserve Yiddish language and culture as an archivist at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research.



Vittoria M. Fariello 

Vittoria is the Female Democratic District Leader for Assembly District 65 Part C. Vittoria is a native of Turin, Italy, and has also lived in France, Germany, Canada, and Egypt. She is an attorney, an experienced investigator and litigator, and currently a partner at Balestriere Fariello. Previously. she worked as an Investigative attorney in the New York City Buildings Special Investigation Unit (a joint initiative of the City’s Departments of Investigation and Buildings). There she worked with investigators and analysts to conduct a variety of investigations into professional misconduct and official corruption matters and litigated and tried cases based on those investigations.

Vittoria is also an associate of SUNSGLOW, the Study of the United Nations and Global Legal Order, a non-governmental organization which trains lawyers and judges in developing countries.

Vittoria was chosen to represent AD 65 on the Democratic County Rules Committee, which has been tasked to reassess the County Rules in the light of events many Committee members considered outside the spirit of the Democratic Party.

Jonathan Gardenhire

Jonathan is the Male Democratic District Leader for Assembly District 65 Part B.


Jeannine Kiely

Jeannine is the Female Democratic District Leader for the 66th Assembly District, Part B, which includes much of Greenwich Village, NoHo, SoHo and parts of northern Tribeca.

Jeannine currently serves as the Chair of Community Board 2 Manhattan (CB2) Schools & Education Committee. Jeannine is also President of Friends of Elizabeth Street Garden leading the effort to permanently save the garden as a NYC park, and she is on the board of Green Below 14, a non profit dedicated to improving parks, playgrounds and open spaces below 14th street.

Jeannine came to New York City from northern California in 1990 and after getting her MBA from Columbia worked for a dozen years on Wall Street providing financing and advisory services to not-for-profit healthcare companies and higher education institutions.



Dennis Gault

Dennis is the Male Democratic District Leader for the 66th Assembly District, Part B, which includes much of Greenwich Village, NoHo, SoHo and parts of northern Tribeca.

Dennis is a native New Yorker, parent, and NYC public school teacher. Dennis is also a union representative for the United Federation of Teachers.




State Committee Members


Chris_Marte_Head_ShotChristopher Marte

Christopher Marte is the male State Committee Member for NY Assembly District 65. He is the New York State Director at Arena, a social welfare organization, which is building communities that activate the next generation of civic leaders.

Before running for office, Chris worked for IBM's retirement fund as an investment analyst and trader. He also served on the young professional board of Defy Ventures, where he helped previously incarcerated individuals create businesses and encouraged them to become positive influencers in their communities. In addition, Chris coached and mentored the “Twin Dragons,” the M.S. 131 co-ed basketball team located in Chinatown.

Chris co-founded Neighbors United Below Canal, a local advocacy group against the mega jail on White Street and helped build two community gardens on NYCHA property. He is a member of the Downtown Independent Democrats, Save Our Seaport, LES United, among other organizations.

Christopher received a B.A. in International Politics from Long Island University Global College while studying in China, Japan, England, and Costa Rica.



Ben Yee

Ben is the Male Democratic State Committee Member for NY Assembly District 66 and Secretary of the NY County Democratic Party

Ben got his start in politics as a fundraiser and NY State Digital Director for Barack Obama in 2008. He later worked for the NY State Senate’s CIO’s office reforming Albany's technology infrastructure and good government think tank Reinvent Albany. 

Politically, Ben has served at every level of the Young Democrats, including VP of the Young Democrats of America.

After the 2016 Presidential Election, Ben developed the popular (Real) Politics 101 curriculum and co-founded You Matter Nation to focus on political training and electoral work.