Sometimes the good guy doesn’t win.
For those of you who don’t know, Steve Behar ran in the democratic primary for Assembly District 26. He didn’t win, but now Steve is having a more positive and influential effect on national and state policy making than many sitting incumbents.
What’s he been up to since an unsuccessful bid for State Assembly? Plenty, and he’s worth keeping your eye on.
Steve has been very active with the 99% movement at Zucotti park. He’s a member of The Alternative Banking Working Group, a committee that is part of Occupy Wall Street.
The ABWG is a voluntary organization. Its members are a very impressive group of Ivy League finance professors, attorneys, former investment bankers, and members from the financial press, even diplomats.
Steve and I agree that traditional media has a tendency to portray the 99% demonstrators as pot-smoking hippies. This is not accurate. It’s a stereotype and you’ll sound like a fool for proliferating it.
The group, which meets every week, is exploring options like encouraging people to transfer their money to other institutions whether mutually owned or for profit community banks and credit unions.
“We are creating new alternative financial institutions that better serve the community, and we are currently working on a regulatory regime that will be more stable to avoid future financial crisis,” said Behar.
I campaigned against Steve in the Democratic Primary for AD 26. We called him the one-man army. Little did I know that Steve is extremely knowledgeable and well spoken about public policy.
After getting to know him in the past few months (we went down to Occupy together a number of times and I’ve interviewed him for a few different outlets) I have come to realize in hindsight that Steve knew more about the issues than any other candidate. He is an expert policy professional and I regret that he is not representing us in the Assembly right now.
Behar is well qualified to advocate for increased transparency in government. He has earned a Bachelors degree in Economics and Political Science from Albany University, an MBA in Finance and Management from Tulane University, a J.D from Tulane and an LLM in Securities and Financial regulation from Georgetown University.
Steve has traveled the country with the New York Democratic Lawyers Council making sure that everyone gets a chance to vote and that there are no irregularities at the polls. Steve was the lead election protection lawyer for Hillary Clinton in northern New Hampshire, as well as Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s run for Congress in Dutchess County. Steve was also influential in the Howard Dean campaign of 2004.
During the 2011 election, Steve was an aide to Queens-born Nassau County Legislator Carrie Solages who ousted a 16-year incumbent. His expertise in ballot security operations came in handy when the Republican party handed lists of voters to poll workers at every poll site that were meant to be challenged.
“Republicans said that they sent mail to those names on the lists because that they didn’t believe they lived in the district anymore,” said Behar.
Was it coincidence that every voter on the list was a person of color? No one knows for sure.
I asked him, “That’s not normal procedure, is it Steve?” and he replied, “In Nassau County it is!”
For more information see GOP Thug Uses Nasty Intimidation Tactics In Nassau County Race.
Steve is not planning to run for office anytime soon. While his advocacy for good government is well known throughout national politics, Steve is a local voice with strong community roots in Bayside where he is also a member of Community Board 11, the place he calls home.