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Bayside native launches campaign for Democratic nomination for Santos’ congressional seat

Aug. 21, 2023 By Ethan Marshall

Bayside native and former counsel to local leaders Steve Behar has launched his campaign for the Democratic nomination of the NY-03 Congressional seat. He is the latest candidate to throw his hat into the ring in an attempt to unseat the controversial incumbent Congressman George Santos.

Behar has an extensive history in politics and public service. He served as the campaign manager for James Sanders Jr. when he ran for state Senate back in 2012. After Sanders won the election, Behar served as his counsel from 2013-14.

Behar was also the campaign manager for Barry Grodenchik when he ran for New York City Council in 2015. After Grodenchik won, Behar served as his counsel before again serving as his campaign manager during Grodenchik’s successful reelection campaign in 2017.

Behar has also served three terms as a member of Queens Community Board 11.

Some of his other work within the community includes serving as general counsel and a member of the board of directors for the New American Voters Association and as a member of the board of trustees of the Bayside Historical Society since 2010.

According to Behar, his decision to run came after several people reached out both online and in person and urged him to do so. He also noted the importance for the people of NY-03 to have someone other than Santos representing them.

“The people of this district have no representation with George Santos in that seat,” Behar said. “The people of our district deserve to be represented in Congress. With [my background], I have a great understanding of the federal issues that faces the district and the country. Things like reproductive rights, sensible gun regulation, the economy and foreign policy. Those are all issues that I’m extremely familiar with and I think I would bring some leadership to Congress on those issues.”

Behar has four college degrees. He received his undergraduate degree in Economics and Political Science from the University at Albany. He got his MBA in Finance and Management from Tulane University. His JD law degree also came from Tulane University. His last degree is a Master’s in Law in Securities and Financial Regulation from Georgetown University Law School.

Long before he began working for campaigns, Behar got his start working as an attorney for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in Washington, D.C., as part of its Division of Corporation Finance. He then returned to New York City to work for the Wall Street law firm Milbank LLP. He later became corporate counsel for “Toys R Us,” acting as the head securities and international lawyer.

He eventually opened up a law practice of his own on Wall Street in 2004. During that time, he was a corporate attorney for small and medium-sized businesses. After this, he served two years as counsel for the New York State Senate under Sanders before serving six years as counsel for the New York City Council under Grodenchik.

Behar is also a former EMS first responder. He is also currently the first vice president of the Parent Teachers Association of P.S. 46. Additionally, he has served as an adjunct professor at SUNY Old Westbury, teaching Introduction to U.S. Politics.

Throughout his law career, Behar has provided pro bono legal services to numerous non-profit organizations and civic associations. His pro bono work includes establishing the Haitian American Political Action Committee of New York and the Muslim Political Action Committee.

“I believe that when it comes to the issues that are important to the people of District 3 and the country, I bring the knowledge and experience that our district and country needs,” Behar said. “I think I’m poised to show the district that I’m the best person for the job.”

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