QNS: What, in your opinion, are the top three most pressing issues in your district?
The pandemic has increased the burden many of us have carried for years. Even if rent costs are slightly lower, far more people are struggling to pay it. Owner occupied homes are targeted for taxing increases through value capture, and public housing is intentionally left to disrepair.
Workers and small businesses are being squeezed. Workers aren't getting fair payment, and we often have our rights denied. Small businesses have no breathing room and are one bad month away from being closed.
People are afraid of crime. Hard times give rise to crimes of poverty, and that environment often leads to even less police accountability.
QNS: What aspect of your background speaks best to your abilities as a City Council member?
I take positions supporting working people that others often won't. I can do this because I have a background of building support exclusively from people that want to fight to build a better NYC. It's why I have been able to:
-help challenge Joe Crowly with Ocasio 2018 with no issue.
-co-found Amazonians United NYC, our worker's org at Amazon, where we fight for our rights.
-advocate for an Elected Civilian Review Board to address systemic issues.
I have also spent time as a teaching artist all across NYC DOE schools and spent time as a program manager of an arts in education initiative.
QNS: What do you love most about your district?
It's my home. I moved around a lot growing up, only staying anywhere for a few years. My wife and I moved to the district a little over eight years ago. I have lived here longer than I have lived anywhere, and we plan to raise a family here if we don't get gentrified out first.
QNS: Which one of your opponents will you be ranking second on your ballot and why?
I really appreciate Hallie Kim and Lorenzo Brea joining my activist org. DSA. I recognize if we are going to change anything, all of us are essential. That being said, I believe my politics most closely line up with Emily Sharpe's. She organizes to build power for working people outside of government. That's what we need to take on challenges like climate change in our future.
QNS: What are two concrete steps that you would take to tackle access to affordable housing in your district?
We need an anti warehousing tax. For every homeless New Yorker, three apartments are sitting empty. This tax targets empty homes encouraging large landholders to lower the cost of rent to secure occupancy or sell. We have to target the point in which property becomes a commodity—this tax achieves that.
We need to invest in public housing. DHS spends two times the amount on hotels than we do on all public housing combined. Current incentives encourage homeless profiteering. Public subsidies should go towards public housing.