This candidate statement is part of The Lo-Down’s 2017 Voter Guide. To view the main page and to learn about other candidates on the ballot in New York City’s Sept. 12 Democratic Primary, please click here.
Alice Cancel (incumbent}
Residence: South Bridge Towers/Lower East Side. Previously: Knickerbocker Village, South Bronx, Puerto Rico.
Office: Female District Leader, 65th Assembly District, Part B
Current Occupation: Temporarily retired
Why are you seeking this office?
My community is my family. I’ve raised my children in our community and now my grandchildren. I have a well-known reputation as a housing and education advocate. For many years I have successfully fought for tenant rights, winning numerous cases against landlords as well as NYCHA. The changes that are coming to our community energize my committment to protect and fight for my neighbors and friends.
This is a Democratic party position. I have been a Democrat all my life, even as a child going with my mother to Albany to fight for school aide. The Democratic party needs to evolve and change. It needs to step away from the developers and those who would destroy our beautiful and historic Lower East Side. I will be there for our community as I always have been.
What are your professional qualifications for this position?
Before becoming a district leader I was a community organizer. I founded the 5th Precinct youth council and worked closely with tenant associations leaders to empower our community. I organized community rallies to school district 1 board meetings to protest our failing schools. I was instrumental in electing the first Hispanic to school board 2, Gloria Martinez, and helped turn around our failing PS126 and make it the successful school it is today. I worked for State Senator Connor, for 15 years, one year for Councilman Gerson, and 5 years for the comptroller’s office as community liaison. I have extensive experience in NYC government and know how to make it work for my community. I served briefly as your Assembly member and I’ve seen first hand the dysfunction of Albany. I fought for change but I wasn’t part of the Albany clique.
Top Legislative Priority: What is the first piece of legislation that you would advocate for if elected?
I have fought alongside Council member Margarita Lopez and Rosie Mendez, for many years to provide funding for housing. Today, however, we are being inundated with LUXURY towers and over-development. Our already over stressed infrastructure is being pushed to the breaking point. Water treatment, transportation, traffic and schools are not being addressed by our government. Along with many community leaders and elected officials I am pushing for legislation to halt tower construction until these infrastructure issues are resolved.
In your opinion, what is the most pressing issue faced by the people who live on the Lower East Side? How would you deal with this issue as an elected official?
Our community is changing as do all communities, however we have no long term plan for the future of this historic and vibrant community. NYC Department of City Planning is mandated to present a plan for the future of our neighborhood. I am working with LESON and other community organizations to demand a plan for the future of our community to be approved by the residents.
Education: Benjamin Franklin Senior High School
Councilwoman Rosie Mendez
Democratic District Leader Paul Newell
Alfred E Smith Tenant Association President Aixa Torres
Grand Street Guild President Sandra Struthres
Lands End II Tenant Association President Tanya Castro
Affiliated Organizations: Lower East Side Democratic Club