Criminal Justice Reform
The criminal justice system has been a drain on NYC for decades. “Broken windows” policing has done nothing but create more broken families. We can and must do better. I vow to push NYC to stop investing in the prison industrial complex.
As a new father, I believe that our children are one of our most important assets in the District. They are the future leaders and it is up to us to prepare them to take over the reigns of leadership after our time is over. It is therefore very important to engage our children in positive and progressive encounters at a very early age. We must put in place the resources that they need to grow into productive citizens. These resources include computers in schools and at home; safety in schools, protection from child abuse, and positive mentoring and role model programs that speak to their all-round development. We must also find alternative recreation activities that positively involve our youth in relationship building, peer respect, and other pastimes that foster a foundation for building productive citizens.
A failing school is a choice. We must have a school system that gives every student the tools to succeed. From Pre-K through high school, every child should have a clear path to success.
Furthermore, our higher education system must no longer be seen as a burden of debt for our children. We can, and must, eliminate the barriers that prevent New Yorkers from reaching their dreams while helping our City thrive.
In this regard, I fully support Governor Andrew Cuomo’s ‘EXCELSIOR PROGRAM’ that offers free tuition to qualified working families earning under $250,000 a year. This is the kind of thoughtful investment in our future I can support. Thousands of students in the district will now have the opportunity to go to college. Some will be the first in their family to do so. We must also continue to strengthen our Public Schools system, increase funding to hire more qualified teachers and institute more teacher training programs. The most important factors to improving education in my district are reducing class size and rewarding teachers with better salaries and benefits for work done that is linked to productivity and quality.
New York City seems to be in a perpetual housing crisis – we must end this cycle. We can build and secure housing for every New Yorker.
Any plan for housing must start and end with NYCHA. Over 600,000 residents call NYCHA home and they deserve our first priority.
There is no easy way to say it: New York City is short-changing our seniors.
Seniors are entitled to live out their years in peace and security. I am committed to bringing relief from the high cost of utilities and rent that many of our seniors living on fixed incomes must incur. It is my goal to expand access to jobs for seniors. I will also institute a “zero tolerance” for senior abuse. Seniors face special challenges relative to cost when it comes to medicines – prescription drugs costs are simply too high. I propose to work with pharmaceutical companies and our Federal and State representatives and to craft legislation at the City Council to help bring relief in this area.
There will be no stronger fighter for giving back and protecting our seniors than Cory. Together we can demand safe, healthy, and affordable housing for the men and women that have dedicated so much to our City and their families.
Our community faces some of the most serious and life-threatening health problems at present. From unacceptable high HIV/AIDS infection rates, cancer, asthma – especially juvenile asthma -, hypertension, diabetes and high infant mortality rates our community has some of the worst health disparities in the state. Now mental health is the number two health challenge behind runaway diabetes in the district. This is unacceptable.
It is for this reason that I will institute in my first 100 days in office a HEALTH EDUCATION AND LIVING PROGRAM (HELP) that will begin to address these problems throughout the community by providing education and other services. As a big supporter of the COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTER MOVEMENT, I will petition the Federal Government to bring at least one new center to my District. The advantage of these multi-purpose health facilities is that the patient is charged on a sliding fee scale or on his or her ability to pay and is pushed away because of an inability to pay. I believe that such centers, like Brownsville Multi-Service Family Health Center (BMS) will compliment existing large hospitals since their grassroots nature make them important capital community assets.
New York City is a city of immigrants. The 41st District is a miniature version of the city and is home, not only to a large number of immigrants but a varied ethnic mix as well. It is this ethnic diversity that gives the district its unique and distinct character. I recognize the contribution that immigrants have made to this city and nation. I support a comprehensive immigration reform that will enable qualified undocumented immigrants, without felony criminal records, to gain permanent residency status. I also favor a relaxation and reform of the harsh sections of the 1996 Immigration Laws and the Patriot Act 1 & II that unfairly discriminate and unjustly target legal immigrants as well as the undocumented. I also am opened an expansion of services to Green Card holders including wider participation in health programs funded by both State and Federal governments as well as the right to vote in local City elections. These immigrants work hard, are law abiding, and pay taxes. There is no reason why they should not enjoy the same benefits that other taxpayers enjoy.
I am a strong supporter of community economic empowerment and small and medium-sized business development. It is my intention to put in place a task force to study the small and medium business industry’s impact on the district and to find creative ways to not only encourage the creation of new businesses but how to enhance and strengthen existing ones. Local business improvement is a vital asset to creating entry-level jobs that help reduce unemployment – especially among our youth. I will work hard to find monies to help develop new entrepreneurs and offer financial help to community-based organizations to sponsor seminars on how to start new businesses. I will also be discussing small-business development with local commercial banks who I am confident can help, not only in supplying start-up financial capital but serve as guidance experts for new entrepreneurs.