Jobs & the Economy
While the national unemployment rate has decreased to 8.3%, in parts of our district the unemployment rate is as high at 18%. I firmly believe that the key to job creation is a stronger private sector. Almost half of all jobs in our community are provided by local businesses. State and city government must implement policies that help to stimulate local businesses and give them more access to billions of the dollars of state and city contracts.
It should also be acknowledged that at a time when employment is high cuts to public sector jobs only increases the number of unemployed New Yorkers. Public sector employees play a vital role in maintaining the quality of life in the Empire State; they should not be the scapegoats for the current budget deficits.
Education & Youth
I remain proud of the education I received from my New York City public schools, but the fact is our school system is failing to prepare many of our youth for higher education and the work force. Budget cuts are a threat to quality education and teacher retention. Budget cuts have also denied many high school aged youth the opportunity to participate in summer jobs and recreational programs. Our budgets should not be balanced at the expense of our children.
New York State has some of the finest institutions of higher learning in the world. Our private, SUNY & CUNY colleges attract students from around the world; yet the continued increase in the cost of tuition makes it difficult for middle and working class students to obtain a college degree. Both our leaders in Washington and Albany can take steps to make tuition more affordable and provide lower interest rates on student loans.
You can tell a lot about a society by how they treat the elderly. Our seniors are more than deserving of the benefits they’ve earned, we need to ensure that they are provided with the care and support needed to comfortably enjoy their golden years. That is why I’m in support of programs like Heat Energy Assistance Program (HEAP), Senior Citizens Rent Increase Exemption (SCRIE) and other programs that help seniors lower their cost of living. The building of a senior center in the 42nd Assembly district remains a top priority. I will lobby to keep it on the agenda of our elected officials.
We must also work towards the passage of the New York State Dream Act and the renewal of Temporary Protected Status (TPS). The New York State Dream Act opens the door to higher education for thousands of young immigrants whose parents brought them to this country as children. The renewal of TPS remains vital to the many Haitian residents in the district. I will work with our elected officials to ensure that both programs are a priority.
Our country was built by generations of hard working immigrants. As a first generation immigrant, my family and I know the many barriers and challenges immigrants face in their quest to reach the American Dream. I will continue to partner with elected officials to ensure the resources needed to achieve success are available to residents of our local community.
In the last 20 years, we have seen many consolidations and announcements of hospital closings in New York City. We’ve been told that these hospitals had failed. I argue that when funding for our hospitals is cut year after year, they have been made to fail. Unless there is a change in views, we will be left with fewer hospital beds, crowded emergency rooms, and longer routes to hospitals during life threatening emergencies.
In addition to providing care, in communities such as Flatbush, these hospitals represent thousands of jobs. These jobs that have helped many people purchase homes, send their children to college as well as start their own businesses. Our hospitals should not be viewed as liabilities but assets to the community.
Stop & Frisk
In 2011, about 700,000 people were stopped by the NYPD, questioned and frisked. The results of the stop and frisk are as follows: 85% of the individuals stopped were Black and Hispanic; and less than 6% of the total number of people stopped led to arrest. Why are a disproportionate number of Black and Latino residents of our city being targeted under a policy that clearly does not produce significant results? It’s time for City Hall to review its Stop & Frisk policy and its disproportionate effects on Black and Latino Residents.
Community Based Organizations/Non-Profits
Local Non-profits in the Flatbush, Midwood and Ditmas-Park areas provide a host of services that are very often community specific. These services include job training, health programs, Literacy, English as a Second Language, financial literacy, sports, music and a host of other services. In addition community based non-profits employ local residents and promote local businesses. New York City's nonprofit sector employs more than 500,000 people; this is roughly 14% of total local employment. More funding should be made available to sustain and expand these local institutions.