Here’s What It Takes to Become the Next Senator From New York

Posted January 9, 2009 at 12:47pm

So, you want to be the next Senator from New York? Think it’s as easy as waiting for that phone call from Gov. David Paterson (D)? Then read the attached 24-page application form, which Roll Call has just obtained. Now that Paterson has sent the questionnaire to approximately a dozen people he’s considering for the appointment, getting to the Senate may not be that easy after all. According to media reports, the form has gone out to Caroline Kennedy, Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi (D), and Reps. Kirsten Gillibrand (D), Brian Higgins (D), Steve Israel (D), Carolyn Maloney (D) and Jerrold Nadler (D), among others. State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo (D) is also identified as a top contender for the post, but it’s not clear whether he’s been asked to fill out the questionnaire. You may not have been invited to apply to be Senator, but you can take the test anyway and see how you’d do. What’s most significant about the questionnaire is what isn’t in it — sex. Especially considering that Paterson inherited his office following a sex scandal surrounding his predecessor, former Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D), and then was forced to acknowledge his own marital infidelities on the day he took office. There are no questions about marital infidelity, sexual history, sexual orientation, or anything like that. But there’s still plenty of grist for the mill, so to speak. The form asks questions about the candidates’ marital status and whether they are paying for child support; whether any orders of protection have been issued on them; about their professional experience (including whether they’ve ever been hired as lobbyists); whether discrimination or sexual harassment charges have ever been brought against them; about business relationships and financial transactions; about civic association and club memberships (“to your knowledge, have you ever been a member of any organization that restricted admission on the basis of race, color, religion, age, sexual orientation, national origin, disability or marital status or has been alleged to have done so?”); about books and articles they have written and whether they have pages on Facebook or MySpace; about taxes and liens, parking tickets, criminal convictions and military service. Probably the most incendiary question is: “Have you ever been associated with any person, group or business venture that could be used to impugn or attack your character and qualifications for the United States Senate?” So check out the form. And dream, a little, about being a Senator.