Who am I?
I grew up in a union household where both of my parents worked multiple jobs to support our family. My parents instilled in me the values of community service and political engagement, principles which taught me how to solve adversity with courage, fear with knowledge, and brinkmanship with community.
As a resident of Chelsea for the last decade, I have been deeply involved in local and national progressive causes. I served as Political Director and Press Secretary Marc Green during his Attorney General campaign and as National Finance Director of the Gay and Lesbian Leadership Council (GLLC) at the Democratic National Committee. I has also worked with the Retail Wholesale Department Store Workers Union (RWDSU) on successfully winning two hotly contested races for Republican held State Senate seats and in various roles at Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation eventually becoming the Director of Media Programs.
In 2005, I joined Community Board 4, where I quickly gained the respect and trust of local leaders for my tireless work ethic and ability to build consensus. I have volunteered countless hours in the community and have worked hard to make Community Board 4 more responsive, organized, and effective. During my tenure, I served as Co-Chair of the Chelsea Preservation and Planning and Quality of Life Committees and in various roles on the Executive Committee. In 2011, after 6 years of service on Community Board 4, I was elected Chairperson by my peers. I am currently New York City’s youngest Community Board Chairperson.
In recognition of my activism, leadership and exemplary commitment to our community, I have been appointed and elected to numerous boards and steering committees including the Hudson Yards Development Corporation, Javits Center Community Advisory Committee, Moynihan Station Community Advisory Committee, Hudson River Park Strategic Planning Task Force/Hudson River Park Neighborhood District Steering Committee, Ali Forney Center, Save Chelsea, Young Leadership Council for the New York City LGBT Center, and Democratic Leadership for the 21st Century. I have additionally served as a member of the LGBT NYPD Advisory Committee.
Why am I running?
In a progressive district, as an 8 year member of Community Board 4, the past 2 as its chair, I represent experience in this race. I have proven myself capable of working with the community, both residents and businesses, agencies and elected officials alike to best represent the interests of the West Side. I will bring that same vibrancy and commitment to all the communities of the 3rd Council district and fight to ensure the stellar representation of all neighborhoods and constituencies.
As the district has grown and changed, the residents of the 3rd Council District need a representative who has the history of activism and leadership and the commitment to both progressive values and constituent services that will lend the district the clarion voice it needs in the halls of government. From my years as an organizer to my chairing of Manhattan Community Board 4, I bring the skills, beliefs, and relationships to guide these communities in the coming years.
As our economy continues to show signs of improvement it is imperative that New York City continues to protect existing affordable housing and create new programs to stimulate the creation of additional affordable units throughout the city including the ownership of affordable cooperatives and condominiums. As Chairperson of Community Board 4, I have a proven track record of fighting to preserve and expand affordable housing in our neighborhoods. I know from personal experience that affordable housing is essential to keeping our neighborhoods diverse, vibrant, and livable. I grew up in affordable housing and know firsthand the role of government as watchdog for low-income families. During my tenure on Community Board 4, thousands of affordable units were created to ensure that seniors, working families, artists, and people with disabilities could continue to make their homes here. I will continue to fight for permanent affordable housing in our neighborhoods. I also believe that New York City should have oversight over its own rent regulation laws and support the repeal of vacancy decontrol.
Another top goal is ensuring access for all of NYC’s children to a fully-funded high-quality education from Pre-K through high school. Early childhood education, including literacy programs and universal Pre-K, is essential to healthy development and I am committed to strengthening and expanding these programs to prepare our next generations. I support the proposal by the Progressive Caucus for the creation of a Department of Early Childhood Development to unify and increase investment in city programs in order to expand capacity and access and provide more holistic services. As Community Board 4 Chair, I have fought alongside parent leaders and PTAs against the Department of Education’s contentious rezoning proposals. In 2009, Community Board 4 secured the inclusion of a new 750-seat public school at Hudson Yards. I will continue to advocate for increased funding for education, smaller class sizes, and more middle school seats on the West Side of Mahattan.
My DFA Values
As a progressive activist in New York City and as a member of Community Board 4 for the past eight years I have shown my commitment to our shared values of community, security, and liberty.
A community is only as strong as the welfare of its members, and on the West Side I have supported maintaining and strengthening core city services and social services in the city’s annual budget through the Community Board’s Statement of District Needs and also the annual Budget Consultations with OMB and City Agencies.
I led Community Board 4 to be the very first Community Board in New York City to come out in favor of the living wage bill that was initially proposed in the Council. The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Workers Union and the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1500 were early supporters to jointly endorse my candidacy because of my work on fighting on behalf of working New Yorkers and their families. I also support prevailing wages for development in New York City.
I have been an advocate for creating more permanent affordable housing in my time on Community Board 4. We were able to secure a commitment of 28% for affordable housing on the Western Rail Yards as part of the Hudson Yards rezoning which was adopted by the New York City Council.
I have been a leader in opposing the New York Police Department’s stop and frisk policy which breeds distrust and divides communities. I support the Civil Complaint Review Board having more oversight and prosecutorial authority. I have been able to work productively with local police precinct and community councils on making sure that police and the great community work together on public safety. I also support increased community policing through the use of foot patrols.
I have been a LGBT activist since I was 19 years old and have fought on nearly every LGBT issue that has arisen both locally and nationally. I was the lead organizer for a ten thousand person march after Proposition 8 passed and I serve on the Board of the Directors of the Ali Forney Center which provides shelter and supporter services to homeless LGBT youth in New York City.
I worked with other Community Board 4 members in creating policies on our board that put forth more transparency on the board. I support Participatory Budgeting as well as good government reforms that would give a greater voice to individual Council Members on the New York City Council, and the constituents they represent.
My Campaign is People Powered!
I am committed to running a grassroots campaign drawn from the communities I seek to represent and I am honored to have earned the endorsement of over 600 local leaders in addition to Assemblymember Dick Gottfried, RWDSU, UFCW Local 1500, Teamsters Joint Council 16, AFM Local 802 and 32BJ SEIU. Building on an extensive network of houseparties, building captains and elbow grease, I will work every day in all aspects of the district to listen, learn, and advocate.