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.
Residence: Lifelong resident of Lower Manhattan; I raised both of my children on the Lower East Side.
Office: District Leader, 65th Assembly District, Part B
Current Occupation: Community Liaison, Educational Alliance
Why are you seeking this office?
I am seeking the position of District Leader because I strongly believe that our community deserves a stronger voice. Considering the rapid pace of gentrification and overdevelopment in many of our neighborhoods, the concerns of the community are currently not being received with nearly enough care or attentiveness. I plan to address this ongoing gentrification, where many lifelong residents are losing their housing due to overpricing or displacement, as well as tenant safety issues, overcrowding in schools, and access to transportation. As a lifelong resident of Lower Manhattan and prospective District Leader, I have and will continue to be a liaison between our community and our elected officials. Above all, I would like to bring back the diversity and inclusion that has enriched Lower Manhattan and the Lower East Side for generations.
What are your professional qualifications for this position?
From 2014 to 2017, I also served as the President of the Grand Street Guild Tenants Association, which represents over 600 tenants. Through the hard work of our Tenants Association, we were able to establish a community center for residents, introduce affordable Time Warner cable packages, and pressure the Guild’s management company, Wavecrest Management Team Ltd, to provide Section 8 housing for the next thirty years.
I have also fought for tenant safety and highlighted community issues with state and city elected officials. For instance, I worked with former New York State Senator Daniel Squadron to propose the Elevator Safety Act (S1945), which would set minimum education and training standards for all elevator mechanics and protect the elevator-riding public from potential accidents.
Top Legislative Priority: What is the first piece of legislation that you would advocate for if elected?:
With seniors making up a large part of our community, I will advocate for legislation that provides better, more robust senior health and mental care services. We must fight to ensure that our seniors have the resources necessary to lead healthy and peaceful lives.
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?
I believe that the most pressing issue faced by the Lower East Side residents is affordable housing. Considering the number of high rise buildings that are currently being developed in our neighborhoods, many of our residents–some of whom have lived on the LES their entire lives–are unable to keep up with rising rent prices and the Area Median Income. The fact that these new developments continue to be built against the wishes of community indicates that our elected officials are turning a deaf ear to their constituents. I want to change this relationship and make government not only accessible, but responsive to the needs of those it ought to represent.
Education: Touro College
Fernando Mateo, President of the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers
United Fujianese American Association
Fujian Association in USA Inc.
Grand Street Guild Tenants Association
County Committee Member
Voting Member, Community Board 3 (Parks, Recreation, Cultural Affairs, & Waterfront Committee)
Member, 7th Precinct Community Council