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OUR PLATFORM

My campaign's platform is built on a dedication to our community.

 

Many politicians promise to effect change if elected. I for one am not content to wait until I'm elected to make that change. 

I put my best foot forward, daily, to represent the hardworking and talented people that make our district great.

 

CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM

SMALL BUSINESS AND JOB CREATION

Small businesses have suffered tremendously throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and many have been priced or pushed out. Everytime we lose a local business we not only leave a vacant storefront behind - we lose jobs and a critical economic supporter of our community. Mom and pop stores are vital and make New York intrinsically New York. Supporting and protecting these local businesses is vital to our economic recovery and at the forefront of my policy.

 

As an advocate of both business growth and job development, I will be a fierce defender of our small businesses and will work to continue to reduce unemployment across New York State.

 

As Assembly Member I will:

  • Support restaurants still struggling due to necessary COVID restrictions by fighting for direct financial support to rehire staff and create tax incentives for businesses that were impacted by COVID-19

  • Provide rent assistance to small businesses to ensure they survive this pandemic and can remain open.

  • Work to ensure representation of local small businesses on Community Boards.

  • Make sure that locally-owned, minority, women, and LGBTQ+ owned businesses get their fair share of government contracts.

  • Advocate for the Commercial Vacancy Tax. We need to give small businesses a leg up and make rents more affordable. This tax on large landlords will disincentivize keeping their properties unoccupied, and help small businesses remain open.

  • Advocate for the Commercial Rent Tax Pause. Businesses in Manhattan south of 96th Street are subject to an unfair tax of almost 4% on the rent they pay. We should provide relief to Manhattan’s small and medium-sized businesses by waiving their Commercial Rent Tax obligations for the duration of the pandemic.

  • Support the labor movement’s efforts to organize workplaces and reach CBAs with employers

  • Strengthen career pipelines from school to well-paid jobs 

In working alongside our local, state, and federal legislators, I will continue to be an outspoken advocate for small business for our community. In supporting the creation of BIDs, advocating for public-private partnerships, and improving our small business grant application and dispersal process we can ensure that businesses across our district get the support they need. We must get creative with revenue streams and look at fair taxable opportunities to assure restaurants and other essential storefronts stay afloat.

 

HOUSING

As a long-time housing advocate, tenant association president, and native of Hell’s Kitchen, I know full well the issues facing the residents of our community. Adequate, available, and affordable housing are essential to keeping a district like ours livable and thriving. As a candidate for NYS Assembly in District 75, I am the only contender in this race with plans to actively pursue and support the restoration and development of housing in our neighborhood. 

 

As a member of Community Board 4, I have always made it a priority to push for housing that accommodates people of all income brackets. I’m incredibly proud of the work we do there, but it has been my time organizing neighbors to fight against the slumlords turning much-needed apartments into illegal hotels where I have found my passion. My intergovernmental work and advocacy for passing the bills that will stop special interests from taking over our very homes necessitates a strong understanding of policy and the industry. As your next assemblyperson, I will continue to make it my mission to fight for tenant rights and do everything in my power to increase protections for renters in our district.
 

My policies for better housing in District 75 are simple:

 

  • Restore the nearly 32,000 apartments being used as illegal hotels in New York City to the market at an affordable rate, with rent-stabilized protections. It’s time for landlords acting in bad faith during this statewide housing crisis to pay up.

 

  • Ban apartment warehousing and update our housing tracking systems. Keeping apartments empty while the market is down contributes to the illegal conversion of rental units and legitimizes inflated prices.

 

  • Stop landlords from illegally converting the floor plans of apartments where rent-stabilized and section 8 tenants live. Converting one-bedroom apartments to two- or three-bedrooms or increasing rent-stabilized fees to market value without a permit must have punitive consequences for the landlord and management company.

 

  • Pass the Good Cause Eviction Bill. Putting anti-eviction policy into law is critical to stabilizing housing in our community. Thousands of renters in New York City moved to apartments with discounted rates during the pandemic—we’ve seen residents being offered as many as three months rent free on signing. However, with those Covid lease deals expiring, there’s nothing to stop landlords who are leasing market-value apartments from increasing rent exponentially to unaffordable prices, indeed rents increased by 33% in NYC between January 2021 and January 2022, almost doubling the national average. This only contributes to evictions, gentrification, and renter discrimination. 

 

  • Make NYCHA fully funded by the state and federal governments. Permanent Affordability Commitment Together (PACT)-Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) is an initiative that allows public housing authorities like NYCHA to convert Section 9 public housing to Section 8 project-based vouchers, But this is not the solution. There are no state laws protecting the rights of these section 9 housing tenants affected by PACT-RAD. Agreements made with tenant leaders and private managers must be binding. Changes to that agreement must be negotiated. Ultimately NYCHA tenants should drive the change they wish to see at their housing complexes, not private management companies.
     

  • Build affordable housing for civil servants and working class New Yorkers. Tax exemptions like 421-a are given to real estate developers promising to build affordable residential buildings, but it has never done what it needed to do. Instead, our tax dollars have funded the development of private, unregulated luxury housing. Leaning on private-public partnerships to develop affordable housing is never the answer.


Create an equal distribution of housing development. Hell’s Kitchen and Chelsea are often targeted for zoning changes that provide bonuses and setbacks to the gain of no one but private developers. As your Assembly Member,

I will work to ensure that the suburbs take on their share of housing development by repealing exclusionary zoning.

 

ENVIRONMENT

I attended the High School for Environmental Studies and graduated in 2002. We have yet to address the problems I learned about as a child in the 1980s yet alone apply what was taught in environmental policy 20 years ago. The Earth is warming, oceans are rising, and the weather is more volatile than ever before. What happens halfway around the world affects New York City in ways that’s hard to fathom. Midtown Manhattan has some of the dirtiest air in all of New York City and there are ways to mitigate our local environmental issues immediately.

 

Sanitation

  • Pass legislation that expands the state funding of education resources and materials on recycling and composting

  • Fund the expansion of recycling sorting facilities throughout the state of New York

  • Continue to fund district needs in support of composting and electronic waste disposal

 

Green Energy

  • End Con-Edison’s monopoly on gas and electricity by committing to fund renewable energy infrastructure

    • Supporting the expansion of hydropower accessibility

    • Mandating the development of off-shore wind farms 

    • Increasing the funding for urban solar arrays

  • Invest in training former fossil energy employees to build and support green energy infrastructure

  • Increase tax incentives to HDFCs and homeowners to build solar infrastructure to reduce a building’s carbon footprint to net negative

 

Building Efficiency

  • As of right development projects must have a mandatory LEEDS Platinum minimum certification

  • Co-ops and Mitchell-Lamas must be provided free apartment and building energy auditing services and assessments in order to improve their carbon emissions

  • Ban the sale and installation of non-energy star appliances in rental apartments

 

HEALTHCARE

As New Yorkers, we are right to believe our state to be the greatest in the union. But we’re only as good as our weakest link. And in our case, this is healthcare. We rank 20th in the nation for access to health services, allowing point of care to fall away from great hospitals and accomplished primary care physicians and into the hands of anonymous urgent care clinics. Without continuity of care, it’s hard to adequately prescribe medicine and something as simple as food poisoning—or worse, a lethal bacterial infection—can go amiss. 

 

We must also work to separate employment from healthcare. As a former freelancer I’ve had to think strategically not just about what contract I take to help my career but whether the job will cover my medical expenses. So often they don’t. No one should have to ask themselves if an urgent medical situation could wait. I have had to do this time and again. I would never wish that on anyone. 

 

I also know that solving this problem does not come with a singular solution—what good is universal healthcare if we lack the institutional support and individual education to address what ails us?

 

We must:

  • Pass the New York Health Act

  • Expand the reach of our Health and Hospital system

  • And provide more scholarship incentives to CUNY and SUNY students to study medicine, healthcare management, and social work.

 

Senior care is also so often overlooked. As someone who cares for their grandmother, I have experienced and observed the gaps in government programs intended to support the aging population. Which is why we need to do the following:

 

  • Increase funding for informal caregiver training

  • Require the state to develop and provide elder abuse prevention training to senior service centers and contractors, in consultation with the Office of Children and Family Services.

  • And expand pharmaceutical insurance coverage for medicines in line with annual changes in treatment. 

 

Lastly, our lack of mental health support is nothing short of a humanitarian crisis. We see it in our streets, on our subways, over social media, and in conversations with friends: Everyday New Yorkers are suffering, often silently, without an adequate system to turn to for psychological and psychiatric support. What can we do about it?

 

  • Expand Medicaid coverage of long-term stays in residential health institutions

  • Increase funding for non-profit organizations whose goals are focused on providing affordable mental healthcare access

  • And increase resources for outpatient substance abuse treatment.

 

EDUCATION AND YOUTH RIGHTS

Growing up in a family of educators was fundamental to my understanding of public service. As a public school student in New York, I had first-hand insight into how our city works from an early age. To this day, some of my closest friends are former classmates—some friendships going back as early as the 1st grade. Those bonds, in this ever-changing world, have shaped who I am. 

 

So often the underrepresented in any community are those too young to have a voice, and—in New York City—this includes the underfunded schools that educate them and services that support them. It’s for this reason, the government must act mindfully of today’s youth and ensure that policy benefits our public school systems and the lives of young New Yorkers.

 

My policies surrounding education and the rights of our youngest population are as follows:

 

  • Get New York City’s public school system the funding it is owed. New York public schools are being short-changed hundreds of millions of dollars in funding every year. As we continue to hear stories of parent-teacher associations funding essential school resources, or teachers paying out of pocket for supplies, we must remember the debt owed to our children from Albany. Your tax dollars are being withheld from our children. As your Assembly Member, I will work with parents, educators, and our youngest citizens to have those funds released.

 

  • Keep class sizes small with better student-teacher ratios. Teachers and students deserve to work in an environment conducive to learning. Smaller class sizes and hiring more staff provide students with a greater range of access to their teachers and allows educators to provide the 1:1 assistance required for better learning.
     

  • Provide better mental health support for the youth. The Covid-19 pandemic has created a universal trauma for all of us, not least the youngest in our community. We cannot leave an entire generation of children suffering due to a lack of services in our school system. We need more mental health support in schools, including more guidance counselors. As the son of a guidance counselor here in Hell’s Kitchen, I know how important of a resource it is. Social and emotional learning is paramount and the state needs to incentivize CUNY and SUNY students studying social work to train for the profession. This will increase the ranks of trained social workers in public schools and therefore reduce caseloads for individual guidance counselors.
     

  • End austerity in Albany affecting our CUNY and SUNY system. I support students and adjunct professors in their call to restore the funding to our higher education systems, not only because it is right but because as a former CUNY student, I know how badly the infrastructure of these campuses need our help. 

 

  • Fund better afterschool programming for teens and tweens. With crime on the rise throughout New York, now more than ever we need community-driven, state-funded programs that serve our neighborhoods and our students—both those students who live in our district and those who travel into our district to receive their education. Robust extracurricular programming has proven effects on preventing youth incarceration. There's a student-to-prison pipeline happening in our city, and it’s disproportionately affecting Black and Latino students. This must end.
     

  • Better health services for families. In late 2020 as conversations of vaccination rollouts were being had across the country, I called for the prioritization of families with children who were immunocompromised or with special education requirements. Time and time again—in the pandemic and beyond—executive decisions are being made about family healthcare which exclude the rights of children and their parents. This needs to change, and a band aid solution is insufficient.
     

  • Put an end to bullying and protect at-risk youth. LGBTQA+ youth bullying must be addressed and youth services and outreach programs need to be made readily available in our schools, public housing, and youth employment organizations. I am proud of the senior LGBTQA+ housing that is coming online at Hartley House but we have to address aggressions and microaggressions towards the youngest members of the LGBTQA+ community now. 

 
 

SOCIAL EQUITY

I have seen the diversity of my district change and grow over the years to accommodate people from different backgrounds, including those who are part of the LGBTQW community. It is my mission to make sure that everyone feels safe in the streets of district 75, no matter your identity and background. It also means protecting youth, animals, and those reentering society.


We must:

 

  • Decriminalize sex work. Sex work is work. When it is criminalized, it increases the chances of people not coming forward if they experience abuse. This unfairly targets the queer community, especially those of color or who are transgender and non binary. 

  • Protect and help our homeless. 40% of homeless youth are queer, even though only 7% of youth identify as such. We need to ensure that they are being protected and receiving the support they need. This means providing shelters that properly identify and help place them according to the gender they align with, ensuring proper pronoun usage, and guaranteeing beds that house them away from adults for their safety. 

  • Require sex education that is inclusive of all gender and sexuality experiences and that spreads awareness of safe sex and sexual health, positive relationships, and self expression. This also means hiring nurses, social workers, and other professionals who are socially aware of the sensitivities and appropriate needs of queer youth. 

  • Ensure the federal government to allow students to continue to be able to apply for food stamps without a work requirement even after the pandemic ends. I wholeheartedly support the hunger free campus bill to supply adequate resources to colleges to support students through food pantries and applications to food stamps.

  • Support the governor’s plan to allow those who use food stamps to buy hot foods from local restaurants; especially those who are elderly, have children, or are disabled. This will not only ensure food security for the most vulnerable among us but will, additionally, provide financial support to our local restaurants.