I have had the privilege over the last 10 months of getting to talk to thousands of residents of Senate District 34 in the Bronx and Westchester County as I campaigned, first for the Democratic nomination for state senate, and now for the general election on Tuesday, Nov. 6.
This experience has been both tremendously inspiring and humbling — but it has also served as a powerful reminder of the good government can do for us all with the right people in the state senate.
As I speak to voters around the district, access to affordable housing is one of the most common concerns they bring up. Too many members of our community are unable to find housing they can afford, worry about being taken advantage of by landlords and real estate companies, live in fear of being evicted, or face homelessness.
That’s why, if I’m elected, I’m committed to fighting to strengthen the laws that protect renters, and to close loopholes that let dishonest landlords push people out of their homes so they can raise the rent.
I also heard too many people talk about the high cost of health care and about being forced to make impossible choices between paying for food or medicine. That’s why, if I’m elected, I won’t rest until we get the details right on a single-payer health care system that ensures all New Yorkers can have high-quality health care. And it must include long-term care so that our seniors can age with dignity and grace.
All parents want their children to have the opportunities that a good education provides. That’s why, if elected, I will work to see we fully fund our public schools. Every child in every ZIP code should receive a quality public school education that prepares them with the skills for the jobs of tomorrow.
Women want the right to make decisions about their bodies. So, if elected, I will make it a priority to finally modernize New York’s 50-year-old law by protecting a woman’s right to choose, and providing access to family planning. And to ensure that women are safe in the work place, I will work to ensure that New York actually has the best, most effective laws against sexual harassment.
Voting is essential to protecting our democracy and making sure every person has a chance to express their voice, so if elected, I will support reforms to make it simple and easy to vote by enacting early voting, vote-by-mail, and automatic voter registration. And then pass campaign finance reform so anyone can run for office, not just those with access to special interest cash.
If elected, I will work for criminal justice reform, including speedy trial reform, open discovery, and ending cash bail for all but the most serious offenses. And pass policies to protect immigrants from Trump’s cruel administration.
But it’s not enough to fix our current problems. We also have to build for the future.
If elected, I will promote policies to ensure that New York becomes a hub of innovation for the next wave of future industries, such as genomics, personalized medicine and artificial intelligence.
New York has suffered from the destructive storms now more common thanks to climate change. We can be a leader in developing post-carbon technologies. We can attract those industries by having an educated work force, excellent universities that offer free college tuition, affordable housing for employees, and by repairing our aging infrastructure — especially mass transit — and building the infrastructure of the future, including high-speed internet access for everyone.
I’ve learned that one person can’t accomplish these things alone. If elected, I will need a Democratic majority in the state senate to pass the laws we need. And I will need the continued support and energy of all of District 34 to rally behind the change we need. That why, if I’m elected, I guarantee you will continue to see me spending time with you, whether you agree with me, talking about what we need, and how to make it happen.
We need a government that is compassionate, that encourages us to listen, that makes room at the table for those we disagree with, and that works fervently to foster a deeper understanding of the pains our community is suffering, and the fears it holds.
My name is Alessandra Biaggi, and if you vote for me in the election on Tuesday, Nov. 6, that is exactly the state senator I will be.
The author is running for the state senate, representing the Democratic and Working Families parties. She faces Republican Richard A. Ribustello, Conservative Antonio Vitiello, and Independence Jeffrey Klein.