WEST VILLAGE — Three New Yorkers hoping to succeed popular State Sen. Tom Duane faced the public in a lively debate Monday night that many spectators said swayed them toward backing former Community Board 2 Chair Brad Hoylman.
All three Democratic candidates for the 27th District seat — which represents Greenwich Village, Chelsea, Hell's Kitchen, the Upper West Side and parts of the East Village — shared priorities including campaign finance reform, the protection of LGBT rights and the protection of affordable housing.
But Hoylman said his 15-year track record with CB2, the Community Service Society and the Village Independent Democrats distinguished him from his opponents.
"My public record speaks for itself," he said, citing his biggest successes as helping secure the Foundling School and a future school at 75 Morton St., and the creation of a legal defense fund negotiated from the Rudin Family during the St. Vincent's Hospital redevelopment review process.
If elected, Hoylman said he would devote more funds to community education councils, strengthen rent rules, work to ban hydro-fracking in the state and get communities involved in re-development projects early on.
Hoylman also pointed out that he would take Duane's place as the only openly gay member of the state legislature.
In the debate moderated by Dick Dadey, the executive director of the government reform group the Citizens Union of the City of New York, and Paul Schindler, the editor-in-chief of Gay City News, Inlaw said she aimed to represent "the ordinary American," not the "financial elite."
"You will have a fair person going to Albany to fight for your agenda," she said, noting that she would fight to prevent landlords from displacing longtime tenants so they can raise rents.
Greco said he would create tax breaks to incentivize affordable housing, work to end hydro-fracking and bring a fresh perspective to the legislature.
Asked how he would live up to Duane's legacy, Greco said he would not try.
"I don't fill shoes, I wear my own," he said.
Inlaw, an Upper West Side resident, attacked Hoylman's prior employment as general counsel for the business community group the Partnership for New York City, which she said "protected big business."
"Unlike my opponent, I don't have any public interest group behind me," she said.
Hoylman said he was proud of victories for small business owners and mass transit users while he was employed there, but he distanced himself from the nonprofit.
"I didn't agree with them on every issue," he said. "I disagreed with them on living wage, paid sick [leave] and NYU."
Assembly Member Richard Gottfried said he thought Hoylman came out on top in the debate and seemed to understand the specifics of law-making.
"I came in with a choice to support Brad and I'm more convinced of that than ever," he said. "He was the only one with a solid record of working in the neighborhood."
For East Village resident Wayne Sunday, Hoylman's sexual orientation helped push him past the two candidates with similar platforms.
"He's openly gay and that's important to me, and he had detailed answers to all of the questions," he said.
The primary election for the seat will be held Thursday, Sept. 13.