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: Second Street and Avenue C; East Village for five years
Office: City Council District 2
Current Occupation: Former Vice President and Head of Public Affairs at MTV
Why are you seeking this office?
We’re living in challenging times, and we need proactive leaders like me with the experience, grit and fresh perspective that will make New York work for everyone. In January when President Obama delivered his farewell address in Chicago, I heard him speak and he said, “If you’re disappointed by your elected officials, grab a clipboard, get some signatures, and run for office yourself.” It was a call for anyone who fought so hard for progressive causes. I have the experience, the passion, and the subject matter expertise that I could provide and be a real asset to the city council and to my neighbors. I have national experience that will bring fresh perspective on how to pass legislation in the City Council and solve our District’s most pressing problems.
I am running for city council because like many of you, I believe the Democratic Party and more importantly, our city needs a new generation of progressive leadership. I believe that New York City has the opportunity to achieve bold progressive change that make us the greatest city in the world. From single payer healthcare, smart solutions that meet the growing need of affordable rents, good paying jobs that protect workers and grows the middle class, and a quality public education system that ensures our kids have every opportunity to live up to their potential.
We can accomplish these goals if we work together to reject the status quo and embrace a future as big and bright as our imagination allows. District 2, I believe our best days are ahead us.
What are your professional qualifications for this position?
I have dedicated my whole life to public service. As an aide in the White House, I advanced the President’s agenda on key issues from college affordability to immigration rights for children. I have seen firsthand how to pass hallmark legislation like the Affordable Care Act and how to enact real solutions that proves that government can and should be force for good in people’s lives. When I worked with the FCC to bring broadband access to schools across the United States, I brought 21st century tools and resources to public schools in New York City and District 2. And later I used my knowledge of the public sector to MTV as their VP of Public Affairs. At MTV, I used their large audience to promote progressive causes from transgender rights to combating campus sexual assault to immigrant rights.
Top Legislative Priority: What is the first piece of legislation that you would introduce if elected?
The first piece of legislation I would introduce is a small business and minority and women business rent stabilization bill. Small businesses should not be subjected to the arbitrary rent increases as large commercial tenants; it is punitive toward their business success. We need to protect our small businesses, particularly our minority and women owned small businesses, from unscrupulous landlords who raise rents on our hardworking mom and pop shop owners to make way for national chain stores. We need to bolster and celebrate the diversity and unique character of our small businesses and local economy.
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 the most pressing issue facing those who live on the Lower East Side is the lack of affordable housing. First, we need to protect the affordable housing we already have and ensure our eligible residents subscribe to the programs we have like SCRIE and DRIE.
Education: BA from Arizona State University
Arne Duncan, former US Secretary of Education
David Axelrod, former Senior Advisor to President Obama
Assemblyman Ron Kim
City Council candidate Alison Tan
Sing Sing Ave A
Derek Jeter’s Turn 2 Foundation
Creative Council of Emily’s List
Alliance for Youth Organizing
Run for Something
Financial Statement: Campaign Finance Board
Video Statement/NYC Votes