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Gabriel Oliver Koppell (born December 15, 1940) is an American politician.

Biography

Koppell was born on December 15, 1940, in New York City. His parents, refugees from Nazi Germany, moved to the Bronx when Oliver was two years old. Koppell attended Bronx elementary schools, the Bronx High School of Science, Harvard College and Harvard Law School, from which he graduated cum laude.[1] While at Harvard College, he founded Let's Go Travel Guides.

Koppell's first marriage ended in divorce. He is now married to Lorraine Coyle Koppell, an attorney who narrowly lost a race for the New York State Senate in 2000 to Guy Velella. He has three children, all of whom were raised in the Bronx and attended Bronx public schools, and five grandchildren.[1] Koppell is active in the Benjamin Franklin Reform Democratic Club. He has been a resident of Fieldston in the Bronx.[2]

New York State Assembly

On March 3, 1970, Koppell was elected as an Independent to the New York State Assembly, to fill the vacancy caused by the appointment of Benjamin Altman as New York City Commissioner of Rent and Housing Maintenance. Koppell was re-elected several times as a Democrat, and remained in the Assembly until 1993, sitting in the 178th, 179th, 180th, 181st, 182nd, 183rd, 184th, 185th, 186th, 187th, 188th, 189th and 190th New York State Legislatures

New York Attorney General

On December 16, 1993, Koppell was elected by the New York State Legislature to fill the unexpired term of New York Attorney General Robert Abrams.[3] As attorney general, Koppell successfully brought a lawsuit to allow drivers under the age of 25 to obtain rental cars in the State of New York. In 1994, Koppell sought a full term as attorney general, but lost to Judge Karen Burstein in the Democratic Primary. He finished second, ahead of Brooklyn District Attorney Charles "Joe" Hynes and prosecutor Eliot Spitzer. In 1998, he again sought the Democratic nomination for attorney general. He finished third in the primary, behind Spitzer, who won, and State Senator Catherine Abate. Koppell finished ahead of Charles Davis, a former staffer for former Governor Mario Cuomo.

New York City Council

He served as a member of the New York City Council from District 11 in the Borough of The Bronx, covering the neighborhoods of Riverdale, Kingsbridge, Woodlawn, Van Cortlandt Village, Norwood, and Bedford Park. He was elected to the Council in 2001, and defeated Ari Hoffnung by a 3 to 1 margin in 2005. On September 15, 2009, Koppell defeated challenger, Tony Perez Casino winning 65% of the vote. Due to term limits, Koppell left the City Council on December 31, 2013.

Prior to his term in the City Council, he had been a member of the New York State Assembly from 1970 to 1994. While in the Assembly, he served as Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, and passed the New York bottle bill. In 1981, Koppell ran for Bronx Borough President, but was defeated in the Democratic primary by the incumbent, Stanley Simon.

2014 State Senate Run

In 2014, Koppell ran a David vs. Goliath challenge against incumbent State Senator Jeffrey D. Klein in the Democratic Party primary, and was defeated on a 60 to 40 margin. Koppell ran on the basis of disbanding the IDC (a democratic group of senators who caucused with republicans), led by Klein.[4]

References

  1. ^ a b Official Biography
  2. ^ Jackson, Nancy Beth. "If You're Thinking of Living In/Fieldston; A Leafy Enclave in the Hills of the Bronx", The New York Times, February 17, 2002. Accessed May 3, 2008. "TODAY, residents include United Nations ambassadors from Benin and Guinea; Jennifer J. Raab, president of Hunter College and former head of the city's Landmarks Preservation Commission; and G. Oliver Koppell, the former New York attorney general newly elected to the City Council."
  3. ^ Koppell Named Interim Attorney General in the New york Times on December 17, 1993
  4. ^ "Koppell challenges Klein for senate seat," Riverdale Press. May 5, 2014 [1]