Tom Duane

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Tom Duane

Tom Duane served as a State Representative from New York 29th State Senatorial District. He serves on the board of the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs.

Early Years

Born in 1955 at the old French Hospital on 30th Street in Chelsea, Duane was raised in Queens, and is a lifelong New Yorker. He attended Lehigh University, where he earned a degree in Urban Studies and American Studies. A resident of Chelsea since 1976, Duane was elected to four terms as Male Democratic District Leader in the 64th Assembly District beginning in 1982. Duane also served for seven years on his local community board.[1]

DSA support

DSA's Democratic Left, Nov./Dec. 1991

In a hotly contested race in 1991 in Greenwich Village that divided many long-time allies in the progressive community, New York City Democratic Socialists of America picked Tom Duane, a progressive white gay man with a longhistory of community activism, over Liz Abzug, a progressive white lesbian.

DSA judged her lack of activism in the community to be her fatal flaw.[2]

Bassett, Kryzak, Gale fundraiser

On May 7 1994, the New York State Communist Party held a fundraising banquet to honor three Party activists Ted Bassett, Rose Kryzak and Mary Gale. Grace Bassett accepted the award on behalf of Ted Bassett. Almost 3,000 was contributed in honor of the three.

New York District chair John Bachtell MCd the event. Communist Party USA leader Gus Hall was keynote speaker while Maria Ramos introduced the honorees. Dorothy Burnham reminisced about her work with Bassett. Etta Glaser spoke of helping to organize the 1963 March on Washington with Ted Bassett.

Jarvis Tyner said that when Ted Bassett was educational director of the party's Harlem branch, they were recruiting 1,000 members a week.

Kryzak became a Party organizer in 1940. Esther Brall, who worked with Kryzak for years, recalled her work as chair of the New York Committee to Aid the Families of Smith Act Victims.

New York City councilman Tom Duane was there. He told the People's Weekly World - "I came to honor Mary Gale, to honor her activity in support of progressive causes. She's one of my role models. I'm proud to have earned her vote".[3]

"People's Weekly World $400,000 fund drive begins"

In the May 3, 1997 Saturday edition of the People's Weekly World (PWW), the CPUSA newspaper, an article appeared concerning a fundraising event known as the "Freedom Seder" (subcaption - "Freedom Seder in New York nets $1,000 for drive", John Batchell). Among its supporters were:

"Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY), Manhattan Borough President Ruth Messinger, and city council members Gilford Miller and Tom Duane sent greetings".

  • Tom Duane - NY City Council member

Paul Robeson celebration

On May 31 1998 the Peoples Weekly World held a Paul Robeson birth centennial celebration in New York, at the Henry Winston Auditorium.

Attendees included;

Tributes came from ;

  • Tom Duane authored a City Council proclamation praising Robeson's lifelong fight for a "world at peace, free of racism, inequality and for unity"...and his fight against the erosion of domestic freedom of expression and fanatical anti-communism....Paul Robeson has become a model and an inspiration to all of us..."
  • Richard Gottfried, presented a resolution from the New York State assembly honoring Robeson. Democrat David Paterson introduced the resolution in the State Senate. Republican John Marchi and Democrats Richard Gottfried and Roger Green, introduced it in the State Assembly.[4]


On May 31 1998 the Peoples Weekly World held a Paul Robeson birth centennial celebration in New York, at the Henry Winston Auditorium.

Speakers included Gus Hall, chairman of the Communist Party USA and Roger Green of the NY State Assembly.

Sponsors of the event included poet Amina Baraka, Grace T. Bassett, actress Vinie Burrows, former Peoples Voice editor Marvel Cooke, Councilmember Tom Duane, Attorney Rob Ellis, Assemblymember Roger Green, Gus Hall, Councilmember Bill Perkins, labor unionist Bobbie Rabinowitz, actor John Randolph, Pete Robinson, poet Sonia Sanchez, singer Pete Seeger, labor unionist Chris Silvera, PWW editor Tim Wheeler, New York City Coalition of Black Trade Unionists president Jim Webb and labor unionist Ira Williams.[5]

Communist Party award ceremony

On November 4, 1999 New York State Assemblyman Richard Gottfried presented State Assembly citations to four honorees, Iris Baez, founder and president of Community and Parents Against Police Violence, Ron Daniels, Executive Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, Elizabeth Hall, a member of the National Committee of the Communist Party USA and Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees, and Bobbie Rabinowitz, a founder of the New York City Labor Chorus at the Peoples Weekly World 75th anniversary celebrations at the Henry Winston Unity Auditorium in New York. Event co-chairs were Maria Ramos of the United Federation of Teachers and Carolyn Rummel, managing editor of the Peoples Weekly World. [6]

State Senator Tom Duane sent greetings to the event.[7]

2000 PWW award luncheon

On October 22, 2000 the Peoples Weekly World held its 4th annual celebration luncheon in New York, at the Henry Winston Auditorium.

Awardees were;[8]

Speakers included City Councilmembers Bill Perkins and Christine Quinn, Assemblymember Richard Gottfried, State Senator Tom Duane, Larry Moskowitz of the Communist Party USA and Working Families Party and Elena Mora for the Communist Party.

US Rep. Charles Rangel sent greetings and State Senator Eric Schneiderman sent a letter of commendation to the honorees.[9]

On Estelle Katz

When Estelle Katz, a member of both the Communist Party USA and the Chelsea Reform Democratic Club, died in November 2012, fellow club member Tom Duane said this of her;

“Estelle was inspiration to me,”... “She woke up every day believing the world could be a better place for everyone. I will miss her — and her determination, empathy and great sense of humor — tremendously."[10]

Working Families Party

In March 2000 Tom Duane attended the first Working Families Party convention in New York's Desmond Hotel Ballroom.[11]

"Progressive Democrat"

Communist Party USA members Elena Mora and Gabe Falsetta wrote a report for the People's World, of November 19 2004 "Many positives in N.Y. elections," commenting on the gains made by "progressive" candidates.[12]

The big gains were at the state level. State Senate seats were won by some progressive Democrats:
Tom Duane, David Paterson, Eric Schneiderman, and Liz Kruger, all of Manhattan, all retained their Senate seats. Brian McLaughlin, president of the New York City Central Labor Council, won a seat in the Assembly.

New York Legislature

Thomas K. Duane represents New York's 29th State Senatorial District, which includes the Upper West Side, Chelsea, Hell's Kitchen, Greenwich Village, and parts of the East Side, including the East Village, Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village, and Waterside Plaza. First elected to the State Senate in 1998, he became the Senate's first openly-gay and first openly HIV-positive member. Prior to his election to the State Senate, Duane served for seven years in the New York City Council. Duane is the Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Health. He is also member of the Senate Codes; Children and Families, Cultural Affairs, Tourism, Parks & Recreation; Finance; Mental Health and Rules committees. [13]


  1. [[1]]Official State Bio. Accessed 06/07/11
  3. PWW "A tribute to thee real life heroes" May 14, 1994, page 11
  4. PWW Hundreds honor Robeson's communist legacy, June 6, 1998, page 3
  5. PWW March 21, 1998, page 2
  6. PWW "PWW celebrates 75 years and honors activists"December 11, 1999 page 2
  7. PWW December 11, 1999 page 12
  8. PWW October 7, 2000, page 2
  9. PWW, NYC, November 4, 2000, page 2
  10., Life of Estelle Katz long on good causes, great friends Published: Wednesday, November 28, 2012
  11. PWW April 1, 2000, page 9
  12. PW, Many positives in N.Y. elections, by: Elena Mora and Gabe Falsetta November 19 2004
  13. [[2]]Official State Bio. Accessed 06/07/11