District Leaders & State Committee

District Leaders


J_Gardenhire_6039_sq2.jpegJonathan Gardenhire

Jonathan Gardenhire is the Male Democratic District Leader for Assembly District 65 Part B. He is an artist and art worker who was born and raised in Smith Houses in the Lower East Side. 

Jonathan recognizes that the most effective way to support his constituents is to build coalitions across our diverse district. With focus on representation, community preservation, and empowerment, he is a passionate supporter, and advocate in defense of public and affordable housing, community, and contemporary art across the city.

In 2010, while studying photography at Parsons School of Design Gardenhire served as the Vice President of the Alfred E. Smith Houses Resident Association - becoming the youngest person to ever serve on a NYCHA resident board. During his tenure, Gardenhire worked with residents across the city to fight former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s infamous infill plan and took NYCHA to court, and won, getting new authorization of capital repairs in Smith Houses. As District Leader, Jonathan has continued to fight for his most vulnerable neighbors and make sure that their voices are heard.

 

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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.

 

Paul-Newell.jpgPaul 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.

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Victoria Lee

Victoria Lee is the Female Democratic District Leader for Assembly District 65 Part D.

Victoria is a born and raised New Yorker with the tenacious spirit needed to make an impact for the city she loves. She grew up in Brooklyn, NY and made weekly Sunday visits to Manhattan's Chinatown for dinners in her late grandmother's apartment. Those weekly visits became her formative years because she fell in love with Chinatown, a neighborhood that has shaped her into the strong, proud Asian-American woman she is today. 

Victoria is the co-founder of Welcome to Chinatown, a grassroots nonprofit with the mission of community preservation through empowering small business owners and amplifying the voices of those most at risk. By creating an outlet for social good that bridges cultural and generational gaps, Welcome to Chinatown has championed change. The organization has secured over $2 million for Chinatown, launched a grant program to address the lack of funding access to POC and non-English speaking business owners, facilitated COVID-19 vaccine appointments for the senior population, provided hot meals to community pantries, and led awareness campaigns to divert more investments into the community.

Victoria is also an industry recognized corporate travel and meetings professional at a Fortune 500 company and the Co-Chair of their Asian Affinity Group. Her forward thinking, innovative approach has led her to previously serve as the Professional Convention Management Association’s Director of Programming and National Student University Chair, and Alpha Kappa Delta Phi Sorority’s Officer of Internal Affairs. All of these roles have allowed her to push for equity and inclusion in representation. It's her mission to carry that same passion to local politics to ensure she's an elected official for all voices.

Jeannine Kiely

Jeannine is the Female Democratic District Leader for Assembly District 66 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) and previously as the Chair of CB2's Schools & Education Committee. Jeannine also is 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 holds a BA from UCLA and an MBA from Columbia Business School. She previously worked on Wall Street providing financing and advisory services to not-for-profit healthcare companies and higher education institutions.

 

 

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Dennis Gault

Dennis is the Male Democratic District Leader for Assembly District 66 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 Assembly District 65. He is currently the Democratic Nominee for New York City Council District 1.

Previously, Chris was the New York State Director at Arena, a social welfare organization, which builds 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.

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Ben Yee

Ben is the Male Democratic State Committee Member for Assembly District 66. He is also the 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.