Queens Lawmakers On The Move Dec. 2, 2019

Queens County City Council News

Meng Lauds Dems For Selecting Asian American To Moderate Pres Debate

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Bayside, Flushing, Forest Hills, Fresh Meadows, Glendale, Kew Gardens, Maspeth, Middle Village, Rego Park), Chair of ASPIRE PAC – the political arm of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Members of Congress – last week hailed the decision to include an Asian American as one of the moderators for the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) sixth Presidential primary debate in December.

The selection of Amna Nawaz of PBS NewsHour comes after Meng and members of ASPIRE PAC called on DNC Chairman Tom Perez to ensure that at least one of the DNC-sponsored presidential debates features an AAPI moderator.

ASPIRE members made their request in a letter to Perez in August, a copy of which is attached. Nawaz will be one of four moderators for the debate.

“ASPIRE applauds Chairman Perez, PBS, and Politico for the selection of an AAPI moderator for next month’s primary debate in Los Angeles,” said Meng. “We thank them for being responsive to our request and for understanding the importance of having an Asian American represented among moderators on the debate stage.”

“AAPI voters will play a critical role in next year’s elections,” added Meng. “In 2020, there will be 11 million eligible AAPI voters which will account for five percent of the entire electorate, and they are poised to be the difference makers in key battleground states. It’s crucial that AAPI voices are heard in our nominating process, and including an AAPI moderator on-stage is a major step forward in reaching AAPI voters.”

In addition to serving as ASPIRE Chair, Meng is a DNC Vice Chair.

Addabbo Facilitates Private College & University Info Session To District 

State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr.

State Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach, Ozone Park, Woodhaven, Glendale, Middle Village, Maspeth and parts of South Ozone Park, Ridgewood, Woodside, The Rockaways) today is collaborating with the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities in New York (CICU) to bring to his district a College Information Session. 

CICU represents New York’s 100+ private, not-for-profit colleges and universities. The session will inform prospective college students about these institutions of high learning in New York, as well as how to apply to these schools and available financial aid options to attend these schools.

“Providing students and other members of the community who are interested in continuing their education with information on a wide variety of colleges and universities is vital in ensuring that these individuals have what they need to make a decision on which school can give them the best resources to succeed in life,” Addabbo, a member of the Senate Education Committee, said. 

“Since these are private colleges and institutions, it was my main goal when setting up this event to ensure that financial aid advisors would be on hand to give prospective students information on how they can cut down the cost of tuition at these schools. I would like to thank CICU for participating and spreading the word about their schools to students within my district, as well as MELS for once again opening their doors to an important community event,” he added.

The session is slated for 6-8 p.m., today, Dec. 2 at the Metropolitan Expeditionary Learning School (MELS), 91-30 Metropolitan Avenue in Forest Hills.

Addabbo will also be hosting a free College Information Session with CUNY to provide prospective students with admissions and financial aid information for their schools in 2020.

For more information about this event, contact Addabbo’s office at 718-738-1111.

Suozzi Introduces The Harlem Hellfighters Congressional Gold Medal Act

U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi

U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Little Neck, Whitestone, Glen Oaks, Floral Park, Long Island) last Friday introduced H.R. 5248, legislation to award a Congressional Gold Medal to the 369th Infantry Regiment, commonly known as the “Harlem Hellfighters,” in recognition of their bravery and outstanding service during World War I.

The Harlem Hellfighters were an African-American infantry unit in WWI who spent more time in combat than any other American unit. In 1918, the U.S. Army decided to assign the unit to the French Army for the duration of American participation in World War I because many white American soldiers refused to perform combat duty with African-Americans. The men were issued French weapons, helmets, belts, and pouches, although they continued to wear their U.S. uniforms. Despite their courage, sacrifice, and dedication to their country, they returned home to face racism and segregation from their fellow countrymen.

The Congressional Gold Medal is an award bestowed by the United States Congress, to honor those, individually or as a group, “who have performed an achievement that has an impact on American history and culture that is likely to be recognized as a major achievement in the recipient’s field, long after the achievement.” 

“It is never too late to do the right thing. When the Hellfighters returned home from World War One, instead of being honored for their selfless service to our nation, they were met with discrimination and racism,” said Suozzi. “The bravery, dedication, and sacrifices of the Harlem Hellfighters, who served 191 days under near-constant enemy fire, impacted the outcome of the first World War and in turn, American history. The Harlem Hellfighters undeniably deserve our nation’s gratitude and awarding the unit the Congressional Gold Medal will be an important first step in righting this decades-old injustice.”

Constantinides, PA Williams Rally For End to Stipulated Fine Program

City Council Member Costa Constantinides

City Council Member Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria, East Elmhurst, parts of Long Island City, Woodside) and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams today will lead a rally for an end to the Stipulated Fine Program. 

This 15-year-old program has given delivery trucks a free pass to block bike lanes, fire hydrants, and handicapped parking spots for a discounted ticket rate, which can sometimes be as low as zero dollars.

More than 1 million packages are delivered throughout the city on an average day. The fact the rally is taking place on Cyber Monday is significant as more and more customers are opting to shop online this holiday season. 

The rally is slated for 11 a.m., today, Dec. 2 on the steps of City Hall in Lower Manhattan.