Assemblymember Pamela Harris (Coney Island, Bay Ridge), who cut her teeth as a grassroots community activist, is countering the steady slew of attacks from well-oiled campaign challenger Kate Cucco with her core concern – helping constituents.
A case in point is at last week’s Southern Brooklyn Town Hall, Marie Navarro, a 28-year resident of the Gravesend Houses in Coney Island, who suffers from lung disease and other serious medical issues, approached Harris about loose floor tiles, poor paint jobs and a leaky radiator in her apartment.
“Assemblymember Harris called the agency to make sure my voice was heard,” Navarro said. “By Monday morning, a NYCHA Director was at my apartment assessing the damages. She even gave me her personal phone number so I can follow-up with her.”
Harris’ campaign also noted her recent visit to the home of Oleg and Marina Kharak, residents of the Coney Island Houses, who are non-ambulatory and in fragile health. She assessed leaks located throughout the couple’s apartment and immediately contacted NYCHA. Help is now on the way, with repairs expected to take place this week.
Harris’ home visits come on the heels of a walk-through she conducted last Tuesday with high-ranking NYCHA officials. Harris has been active throughout the summer, meeting with NYCHA residents on a regular basis to address their needs and concerns.
“Together with NYCHA, I remain committed to enhancing the lives of our senior residents to ensure they receive vital services to keep them healthy and safe,” Harris said.
Additionally, an independent source not involved in the 46th Assembly District race and very familiar with Albany noted that Harris, in her short Assembly tenure of being in just one legislative session, was directly involved in more legislation than her predecessor Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny was throughout his entire eight-year tenure in the state legislature.
Amongst the legislation that Harris was strongly involved in was A10201, a bill to facilitate state funding for Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities (NORCs). The district has one of the highest NORC concentrations in the state.
Currently, projects need to raise an amount equal to the state funding allocated in their contract. Under Harris’ bill, they would need to raise only 25 percent of that amount. Passed by the Assembly and Senate, Bill A10201 is expected to be signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo by August 19.
The source noted that Cucco was Brook-Krasny’s chief of staff, and her boyfriend Jonathan Yedin, who is running Cocco’s campaign, was Brook-Krasny’s chief of staff before Cucco landed the job.
Yedin also worked for The Advance Group, a political consultancy organization that was the subject of a FBI probe, and which paid a $25,000 fine less than a year ago for skirting city campaign finance laws.