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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.

 

WORKERS RIGHTS

Workers across District 59 are standing up and organizing into unions to demand fair pay, good benefits, and a safe work environment. Whether it’s Starbucks baristas or Trader Joe’s employees, every worker deserves protections against meddling, retaliation or bullying.

 

As State Senator, I will stiffen penalties against employers who take action against workers, require them to recognize successful unionization votes, and create apprenticeship pathways into traditional and emerging trades.

Create a Pathway to Apprenticeship

  • In response to the growing skilled labor shortage across the building industry, I would support Career and Technical Education programs in Senate District 59 schools. These programs give high school students hands-on lessons in trade fields yet have not always translated into long-term careers.

  • I will ensure these programs focus on high-demand sectors, like green energy installation, and work with New York’s labor unions to replenish a drying workforce pipeline. 

​Reinforce Protections Against Retaliation Against Union Workers

  • Despite New York’s historic role in the labor movement, corporations are finding new loopholes to punish workers who organize. Starbucks, for instance, has been accused of cutting hours for employees at recently unionized stores. I will stiffen penalties for companies that use loopholes to cut wages, hours, or benefits; set a deadline for companies to recognize a vote to unionize or enter forced arbitration; and work with the Department of Labor to create a New Union Task Force so employees can report instances of meddling, bullying, or retaliation. 

Promote Labor Recruiting in High Schools

  • Just as important, I will make sure labor unions have equal access to high school career fairs as colleges and military recruiters currently enjoy. Too often, students feel pressured to either opt for higher education – only to drop out with crushing student debt.

  • I will ensure District 59 students understand trades career isn’t a fallback, but a solid option that provides them with good pay and fair benefits. 

Support Workforce Development-Focused Community Organizations

  • I will deliver the resources community-based organizations need to develop tomorrow’s workforce. CBOs play a vital role in neighborhoods, filling a gap both government and the private sector have left open, yet often lack the support to deliver results.

  • I will use my budgetary power in the State Senate to ensure these groups have all the tools to help place District 59 residents in good-paying jobs.   

 

HOUSING

The housing crisis is turning into a catastrophe as the average rent in Manhattan is now $5,000 a month. The thin line of tenant protections continues to be chipped away at as middle-class families continue to be pushed out of their neighborhoods. I’m a lifelong rent-stabilized tenant who will fight to create more affordable housing at large scale for low- and middle-income families, veterans, and seniors. As State Senator, I will:

  • Close MCI Loopholes that Raise Rents: Major Capital Improvements (MCIs) allow landlords to raise tenants’ rent when making certain upgrades to a property. While the 2019 Housing Stability & Tenant Protection Act (HSTPA) significantly capped MCI increases, I would support legislation that removed them altogether. In tandem, he would explore a program akin to a PACE financing system offers landlords low- or no-interest loans to make buildings more energy efficient. Under this system, costs remain flat as owners are required to pay down their savings: if new lights save $1,000 per month in energy costs, that is their debt service. The recent expiration of the J-51 tax abatement, which nearly displaced countless Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village residents, underscores the need for a new system that allows for building upgrades that aren’t done off the backs of low- and middle-income renters. 

  • Abolish Preferential Rent: The HSTPA also took a major swing at ending the scam known as preferential rent. Landlords are no longer allowed to suddenly charge tenants the market rate for a preferential rent unit when it comes up for renewal. That means a renter’s affordability level is intact for however long they’re at the property. Vacant units can still be set to the market rate, however, meaning swaths of affordable apartments rents can skyrocket as people move or leave New York City. I would seek to close this loophole by permanently preserving these units as affordable.

  • Create New Units by Safely Legalizing ADUs: Accessory Dwelling Units are a vital tool to replenishing the housing stock. I support existing legislation to legalize these apartments, many of which currently exist without protections, to help quell the housing crisis. At the same time, he will support the existing bill proposed by State Senator Brian Kavanagh and Assembly Member Harvey Epstein to ensure these units are safe and up to code. This legislation is crucial after several New Yorkers died in flooded basement apartments when Hurricane Ida struck last summer.

  • End the Patchwork of Housing Incentives: The recent expiration of 421a, a problematic tax abatement many argued was essential to the construction of housing in recent decades, drives home the need for a new permanent housing system. Instead of a patchwork that also includes J-51 and other measures to offset the cost of land and materials, I will bring together a working group that develops a pro-tenant system to ensure truly affordable housing is built.

  • Fund the Construction of Specialized Housing: The housing crisis has and will continue to push more New Yorkers onto the streets and subways over New York City’s subpar homeless shelters. I will fight for funds into the construction of specialized housing for those experiencing homelessness, as well as seniors, veterans, and low-income families. He’ll also ensure that those funds are followed by money for wraparound services at these buildings, to guarantee tenants have the right access to resources based on their needs.

  • Convert Vacant Buildings into Affordable Housing: I will work with local stakeholders to accelerate the conversion of vacant office space into truly affordable housing. State funds, zoning changes, and other measures are necessary to making this a reality and fix two problems at once. A May survey found just 10% of Manhattan workers had returned to the office, leaving a swath of the built environment unused. I support tenant-driven solutions to make this conversion a reality and add units to the market.

  • Build a Skilled Labor Pipeline: Union labor has been pushed out of the residential construction market over the last 20 years, with some bad-actor developers now attempting to nudge it out of commercial projects as well. The result of these cost-cutting measures has led to glitzy luxury towers marred in lawsuits over shoddy construction work. I, building off my past proposals, will fight for projects that rely on tax breaks and subsidies to use union labor that ensures the job is done right the first time. To fill the need for those jobs, he’s proposed expanding trade education at the high school and college levels to replenish the dried-up workforce pipeline.  

 

NYCHA

Many District 59 residents live in public housing, where they have dealt with poor conditions and subpar services. As State Senator, I will hold NYCHA accountable for making timely repairs and capital improvements, reform the system for its long-term health, and give Tenants Associations more power. 

 

ENVIRONMENT

I’m proud to have worked on some of the most transformative climate legislation, but climate change doesn’t stop and neither can we. Washington isn’t acting, so it’s on New York State to lead on this issue.

 

I’m committed to closing the dirty power plants built in Black and Brown communities against their protests and replacing them with renewable energy. This is essential to both fulfilling our goals under the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act and creating good jobs in cutting edge sectors for residents of environmental justice communities.

Close Dirty Power Plants in Environmental Justice Neighborhoods

  • In response to the growing skilled labor shortage across the building industry, I would support Career and Technical Education programs in Senate District 59 schools. These programs give high school students hands-on lessons in trade fields yet have not always translated into long-term careers.

  • I will ensure these programs focus on high-demand sectors, like green energy installation, and work with New York’s labor unions to replenish a drying workforce pipeline. 

Empower Environmental Justice Communities

  • As old powerplants, wastewater treatment plants, and other polluting infrastructure closes in Black and Brown communities, we cannot allow these sites to become home to luxury high rises. I pledges to allow these communities, denied a voice when this infrastructure was sited, to decide how this land is used. To that end, he will work to create mechanisms for these communities to control the future of these vacated sites.

Invest in Resilient Infrastructure

  • Every corner of District 59’s landscape will significantly change as sea levels are expected to rise a foot by 2050. Public and affordable housing complexes are at the highest risk of long-term and permanent damage. I will only support science-driven resiliency plans that reflect community input.

  • As State Senator, I will only support budgets that put meaningful dollars into resilient infrastructure such as permeable asphalt, bioswales, and marsh rehabilitation to combat the rapid increase in violent storms. 

Ban New Natural Gas Hookups In
New York State

  • I will seek to revive last year’s botched effort to finally end the Empire State’s dependence on natural gas. This highly combustible fossil fuel has caused several fatal explosions in New York City, drives emissions across the state, and is potentially deadly in areas where it’s extracted. An outage can also leave New Yorkers without the ability to properly cook for months or even years – as is often the case in NYCHA buildings. I will also make sure the increase in electricity demand does not shift the burden to an already dirty power grid.

Ensure the Electric Grid is 100% Emissions Free by 2040

  • New York State made a historic commitment to a zero-emissions electric grid by 2040 under the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. I will use my oversight power to ensure the New York Power Authority and other state agencies live up to this promise by fostering truly renewable energy in New York.

Create a Just Transition for Workers

  • New York’s green future must usher in an era of opportunity. I will implement policies to guarantee workers – notably those in fossil fuel-related industries – can find new jobs in cutting-edge sectors to ensure no one is left behind.

 

EDUCATION AND YOUTH RIGHTS

As a public school graduate, I’m dedicated to giving them more resources — not taking them away. In addition to additional funding for STEM curriculum, improving our schools through green energy, and making capital investments, I also want to ensure the public school system has a lasting legacy once kids leave its doors. That’s why I want to expand career and technical education and promote trade recruitment in high school. Young adults need to know they have an opportunity into the middle class if they don’t think college is for them.

 

  • Give Parents and Teachers a Greater Voice in Mayoral Control: The recent push to renew Mayoral Control of New York City’s schools illustrated the limited voice of parents and teachers in the decision-making process. I will work with the entire school community the next time the policy comes up for a renewal to balance mayor’s outsized control of the education system. That could include putting more parent and teacher seats on the Panel for Education Policy and stronger oversight on the DOE’s budget.

  • Invest in Community Schools: I will help fund the continuation and expansion of United Community Schools. This 10-year-old initiative impacts some 20,000 students at 31 schools citywide. The program takes a holistic approach to working through the various challenges students face by tearing away any educational, emotional, and health barriers.

  • Increase Capital Funds for City Schools: Students deserve to learn in quality school buildings, which is why I will fight for increased state funding for capital improvements. He will work with City officials to close temporary classrooms and ensure schools are pollution free.

  • Expand Trade Education at SUNY: The third-generation Teamster will fight to preserve and expand funding to the State University of New York. Many union apprentices rely on the public system to get a higher education degree as they learn their trade, helping them compete in the labor market and enrich themselves in the process. 

 

PUBLIC SAFETY

New York’s increase in crime deserves a balanced approach to public safety. We must tackle the rise in robberies and burglaries in New York, while also addressing the root cause. As State Senator, I want to make sure law enforcement is working with mental health professionals to ensure we aren’t criminalizing people who need medical attention. We must simultaneously attack gun violence, which has the biggest negative impact in Black and Brown communities. My commitment as State Senator is to fund community-building initiatives that focus on youth intervention and de-escalation as well as workforce development programs.

  • Fund Violence Intervention Programs: I will support community-based organizations focused on de-escalation, because many disputes can be solved without calling the police.

  • Support At-Risk Youth: I will fund initiatives that provide programming and career training for young New Yorkers in danger of falling into a life of violence. 

  • Train Law Enforcement on Mental Health Needs: I will make sure police officers are properly trained to understand the various mental health needs or challenges individuals face, and when to call a trained professional. 

  • Stop the Flow of Guns: I will ensure New York State fully enforces recently passed legislation to fight gun violence, as well as continue to introduce new laws to crush the iron pipeline of illegal guns. 

  • Expand Career Training for Formerly Incarcerated New Yorkers: I will help expand career training for formerly incarcerated people to break out of the criminal justice cycle.

 
 

LGBTQAI+

I’m a proud ally of the LGBTQIA community, having fought alongside my friends and relatives for years. While working in the City Council, I organized pride events that recognized some of western Queens’ strongest advocates for LGBTQIA rights. I’m proud to now be co-endorsed by one of those honorees, the Lesbian & Gay Democratic Club of Queens. As the Supreme Court threatens to strip away more hard-fought rights, I’ll fight to protect LGBTQIA New Yorkers and expand access to healthcare, enact harsher penalties for those who commit hate crimes, and enshrine more civil rights into the State Constitution.

TRANSPORTATION

I’ve never gotten my license — let alone owned a car — and have always relied on subways and buses. The MTA is in need of serious reforms to ensure we’re delivering reliable service that moves our region. I’ll use my State Senate oversight powers to ensure the authority is transparent and listening to communities when it makes improvements. While I believe ferries are an essential tool in connecting District 59, having a two-fair system is a barrier for low-income residents. I plan to work with my City counterparts to create a single-fare system without raising costs.

  • Reform the Structure of the MTA Board: The structure of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority allows counties outside of New York City have inequitable sway over the system's budget and oversight. I will seek to reform the structure of the board to ensure New York City has the greatest say over its transit system. That could include allowing leaders of the City and State legislatures to appoint members to the board, so there is greater oversight on how the authority is run. 

  • Invest in Resilient Transit Infrastructure: With sea levels expected to rise at least a foot over the next 30 years, many of State Senate District 59's subway stations will continue to erode. I will only support capital funds to the MTA that prioritize making subway stations able to withstand the realities of climate change.

  • Expand Bus Infrastructure: Buses are vital links for communities the subway does not touch. Yet the current cityscape often makes it impossible for buses to travel quickly. I will work with City, State, and MTA officials to explore more busways or bus lanes in District 59.

  • Create a Single-Ride Ferry System: New York City's ferry system has provided new links between Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn, especially for residents of waterfront public housing. Yet this system is often underused in part because it requires a second fare from the bus or subway. Lower-income New Yorkers were also unable to access a discounted fare until a few weeks ago. I will push for a single-fare system to remove a major barrier for crossing the East River and expand ridership. 

  • Ensure a Just Implementation to Congestion Pricing: The upcoming implementation of congestion pricing will help reduce traffic in Manhattan's Central Business District. This will be a major win for an area that's seen more for-hire vehicles flood the streets, which has spilled more greenhouse gases into the air. Congestion pricing will put a toll on cars entering the Central Business District, the funds from which will be invested in the transit system. While this will be a boon for the subways, it could create an extra cost for a middle-class East Side resident who relies on a car for work or a disability. I will fight for these residents, so they aren’t priced out by an unintended barrier. As State Senator, I will explore options like those used in London – where residents living in the congestion zone get a 90% discount and those living with a disability can be fully exempt.