On April 15, I was sworn in as your New York City councilman. That day, I took an oath to duly represent you and your interests, and be your voice in government.
This has been my task every day since — to ensure that you have a strong advocate, and lead us to a fair and equitable pandemic recovery that leaves no one behind. I am inspired every day in the fight to create a better New York City for our neighbors in the north Bronx, my wife Tamar, my twin boys Alex and Jesse, and my former students.
Not a moment has gone by where I have not been striving to protect and defend older adults, working families, students and people with disabilities. I have hit the ground running, and together we have accomplished so much in a few short months.
To the families struggling with food insecurity, I am here for you.
My office has run food distribution events throughout the district where we have provided food for hundreds of people. And in City Hall, we have passed legislation that reduces food insecurity.
To those who desire a better quality of life, I am here to listen and find solutions. I have held dozens of outdoor office hours across the entire district, speaking to you directly, and solving a wide array of constituent problems. To those affected by our housing crisis and homelessness, I am fighting for your right to a safe and comfortable home — whether through solving individual tenants’ problems, or sponsoring legislation that expands our affordable housing stock, expands right to counsel for tenants, and increases rental vouchers.
I have done the work to keep people housed.
And to our older adults, I was proud to be a forceful advocate in the reopening of our senior citizen centers safely and quickly, and am excited that our older adults can soon begin much of the programming that they have missed since the pandemic began.
For neighbors who want clean parks and streets, I have sponsored street and parks cleanups with community groups to beautify our neighborhood and foster a sense of community.
As your councilman, I am making your voice heard in City Hall as we craft a new budget that decides investments in our future. We need a budget that works for everyone and uplifts our most vulnerable neighbors. Too many are struggling from job loss and unpaid rent.
Too many of our small businesses have been devastated.
Those that survived are still reeling. We feel the effects of cuts to government services that affect our quality of life.
I will not support an austerity budget that further harms our community, reduces social services, or fails to fund crucial programs.
In the upcoming budget, I have already allocated funding for our schools, parks, mental health, and health care services in the north Bronx.
As we negotiate the budget, some of the funding I am fighting for includes smaller class sizes and more social workers in our schools, more litter baskets and sanitation services, and more parks enforcement officers to respond to noise and litter complaints while educating park-goers on how to enjoy and preserve outdoor space.
As chair of the veterans committee, I am fighting for services to ensure that our heroes receive proper mental health care and safe housing.
I have consistently fought for our community and our shared values, without regard to politics. I will continue to uplift a positive message on the future of our community, and ignore the attacks and lies that are all too common and distasteful in campaigns, to focus on what is most important: You.
The author represents the 11th city council district, and is a council candidate in the June 22 primary.