North Brooklyn is facing a housing crisis of vast proportions. With market rates skyrocketing and our neighborhoods losing rent-stabilized units every year, thousands of people–including residents who have lived here for decades–are being displaced from their homes. Tenant harassment and racial discrimination in housing are rampant. Greenpoint and Williamsburg are still struggling with the effects of Bloomberg-era upzonings and the massive displacement they caused, while Bushwick is faced with the prospect of a massive upzoning that would destroy jobs, cause evictions and transform our community. With our rent laws expiring in 2019, New York is at a crossroads.
That’s why I’ve placed affordable housing at the center of my campaign. I will fight to:
- End the vacancy decontrol that incentivizes tenant harassment and eviction,
- End preferential rents and sharply limit MCI-induced rent increases, both of which abet gentrification
- Secure state financing for truly and deeply affordable housing–housing that’s affordable to the working-class residents of North Brooklyn, not just the rich.
- Fight the upzonings which hold our communities hostage to the forces of gentrification
- Expand the rent stabilization system to cover all New York apartments, so that no tenant is faced with the prospect of suddenly being evicted from their homes
Community Safety and Criminal Justice Reform
Crime rates have decreased all over North Brooklyn, but too many of our residents, especially people of color, still don’t feel safe in our communities. We fear being harassed or even attacked by the police, seeing our families torn apart by ICE, losing our loved ones to opioid addiction, and being evicted from our homes. After 50 years of broken-windows policing and mass incarceration, we know that police and prisons won’t keep us safe: only a strong community that welcomes and protects all of its members can do that. That’s why I’m proposing measures that will help every resident of Bushwick, Cypress Hills, Williamsburg, and Greenpoint feel secure:
- Invest in community-led conflict resolution programs and de-escalation training to settle disputes without resorting to violence
- Support youth programs to give our young people a constructive focus
- End cash bail and shut down Rikers Island
- Tough measures to ensure real police accountability and a final end to broken-windows policing
- Legalize marijuana and provide treatment for victims of the opioid crisis instead of criminalizing them
- Codifying the appointment of a special prosecutor in the Office of the State Attorney General to investigate cases related to the deaths of unarmed civilians caused by police officers in New York.
The United States is the wealthiest country in the world, yet we’re also the only country where millions of people lack access to quality healthcare because they can’t afford to pay. I believe that healthcare is a human right and that every person deserves access to the care they need at every stage of life. As your State Senator, I will fight for:
- Passage of the New York Health Act to ensure that every New Yorker has health insurance regardless of ability to pay
- Funding for long-term care so our seniors can stay healthy and be cared for in their homes and communities, and so that those who care for them can earn a living wage.
- Increasing access to mental health services so that every New Yorker can flourish, and so that people with psychiatric disabilities can be protected, instead of warehoused in homeless shelters and jails
- A healthcare system that covers every New Yorker, including undocumented immigrants
- Universal long-term care, enabling seniors to age in dignity and creating quality jobs for home care workers and domestic workers as demand for a rapidly growing care workforce increases
Our economy has made quality, affordable education more vital today than ever before, but our educational system hasn’t kept pace with our changing world. Our schools remain underfunded and all too racially segregated; meanwhile, hedge-fund billionaires are attempting to privatize and capitalize on our public education system. As the child of a working-class, immigrant family, I worked my way through high school and college; I know the enormous challenges facing students and families in our pursuit of quality education. As a State Senator, I will fight for:
- Free tuition for all at CUNY and SUNY, including covering the living expenses of students whose families can’t afford to support them
- More teachers in our public schools, and in turn smaller class sizes so that every student has the support they need to succeed
- Reforming Foundation Aid distribution to ensure that working-class, majority-minority school districts like ours get the millions in funding to which we’re legally entitled
- Expanding social services such as counseling in schools to support our children and end the school-to-prison pipeline
- Maintaining the charter cap, making sure our school system remains publicly governed and controlled by all of us.
With the approaching Supreme Court decision Janus v. AFSCME, the right of workers to organize is under attack all over the country. But as the recent teachers’ strikes in West Virginia and around the country show, workers know how to fight back. As a proud union member, I know how important it is that every worker have a voice on the job and an advocate in disagreements with their employer. As a State Senator, I will fight to:
- Extend the right to collective bargaining to all workers, including domestic workers and independent contractors.
- Fight corporations like Airbnb that threaten working-class housing and union jobs.
- Protect union jobs in the construction industry from abusive non-union contractors and developers.
- Repeal restrictive Taylor Law conditions that limit public sector unions’ ability to collectively bargain.
- Find ways the government can support organizing drives at major employers to raise union density in New York.
In the age of Trump, immigrants all over the country are under threat. ICE is bringing fear into our communities and tearing apart our families. But the problem is deeper than Trump: America’s immigration system is deeply flawed, disenfranchising whole communities. As a proud child of immigrants myself, I know how important it is to protect the rights of immigrants and ensure that everyone can fully participate in the life of New York State. As State Senator, I will fight for:
- Passage of the Liberty Act and a ban on ICE in our courtrooms to protect our communities from draconian immigration enforcement.
- Passage of the DREAM Act to ensure that every child in New York has access to a quality college education.
- Legislation to grant undocumented immigrants drivers’ licenses
New York’s transit system is in crisis, and with the impending L shutdown, North Brooklyn will bear the brunt. Like everyone who depends on the subway to get to work every day, I’ve seen delays increase even as fares rise every year. The damage done by years of mismanagement in Albany can’t be fixed overnight–but we need to start now. As State Senator I will fight to:
- Fully fund the MTA capital program so we can not only stabilize the system but expand service.
- Implement a fare freeze so working-class straphangers don’t have to pay more to get to work every year
- Ensure that every North Brooklyn resident has ready access to public transit during the months-long L train shutdown
- Make every subway stations accessible for elderly and disabled riders, so that all of us can get around