Queens Lawmakers on the Move May 7, 2020

Queens County City Council News

Ramos, Simotas Urges Legislature to Resume Session Remotely

State Sen. Jessica Ramos
Assemblymember Aravella Simotas

State Sen. Jessica Ramos (D-Corona, East Elmhurst, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights) and Assemblywomen Aravella Simotas (D-Astoria, parts of Long Island City) today are joining several other lawmakers and good government advocates in a virtual press conference calling on the legislature to resume session remotely to address the COVID-19 crisis. 

These lawmakers have been on the ground representing communities hit hardest by the pandemic. Ramos, for example, has been running a food pantry and distributing hot meals from her district office weekly. 

That on the ground experience must inform the democratic policy-making process of running the state with the legislature as a co-equal branch of government.

The Albany Times Union, the New York Times, the Buffalo News, and Daily Gazette have all published editorials urging New York lawmakers to step up and continue to legislate remotely post-budget.

The press conference is slated for 1 p.m., today May 7. To Join the Zoom Meeting


Meeting ID: 898 3018 6709, Password: 999957.

Meeks Leads Letter Calling for More Local Restaurant Financial Relief

U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks

U.S. Rep. Gregory W. Meeks (D- Jamaica, Laurelton, Rosedale, Cambria Heights, Saint Albans, Springfield Gardens, The Rockaways, JFK Airport) yesterday led a letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) requesting additional aid for small restaurants in future CARES Act relief packages.

The letter reads: “Recent data shows that ‘Accommodation and Food Services,’ a category broader than local restaurants, has only received 9.18% of the PPP funds. Though we undoubtedly understand that all sectors of the economy have been hit by this economic crisis, local restaurants have still borne a disproportionate amount of the suffering yet are not receiving their fair share of PPP funds. Going forward, we believe more must be done to protect these important economic (and cultural) institutions…”

Co-signers include a number of other U.S. Reps. from the New York and Queens delegation including Nydia M. Velázquez, Carolyn B. Maloney, Hakeem Jefferies, Grace Meng, Thomas R. Suozzi, Max Rose and Peter T. King.

Kim To Host PPE Givaway In Flushing

Assemblymember Ron Kim

Assemblymember Ron Kim (D-Whitestone, Flushing, College Point, Murray Hill) today will host distribution of personal protective equipment (PPE) to Bland Houses residents in Flushing.

His office is partnering with the 109th Precinct and using one of its auxiliary vans (which he had previously secured funding for) to distribute the PPE to under-served communities. He is also working with La Jornada, a non-profit food pantry operating within Bland Houses, and the Bland Residents Association.

The event is slated for 1 p.m., today, May 7 at the Bland Houses on Prince Street between Roosevelt and 40th Road in Flushing.

Sanders Hosts Conversation on Health, Justice & the Environment Post COVID-19

State Sen. James Sanders Jr.

State Sen. James Sanders Jr. (D-Rochdale Village, South Ozone Park) in partnership with fellow Southeast Queens lawmakers including State Sen. Leroy Comrie, Assembly Members Alicia Hyndman and Clyde Vanel, and City Council Member Adrienne Adams will be sponsoring a virtual community conversation to strategize on ways to reduce environment, health and justice disparities in Southeast Queens.

Among the panelists at the event will be Jacqui Patterson Senior Director, Environmental & Climate Justice Program at the NAACP and Judith Arroyo, the president of the United Federation of Public Nurses and Epidemiologists Local 436. Her local has over 1,000 active members who are on the front lines protecting the health of New York City’s 1.1 million school children and residents. 

“Women represent almost half the membership at DC 37 and we need more women to step into leadership roles,” said Arroyo, a registered nurse, who is a U.S. military veteran. “I believe in grassroots organizing—getting to know people and having conversations—to build stronger unions.” 

The event is slated for 3 p.m., Tuesday, May 12 on Facebook Live. To RSVP click HERE.

Alicia Keys Releases Public Service Announcement for NYC Census 2020 

GRAMMY Award-Winning Artist and global music icon Alicia Keys yesterday released a public service announcement as part of the NYC Census 2020 strategy to reach historically undercounted communities.

Keys emphasizes the importance of being counted in the census, especially in historically undercounted neighborhoods, as the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting all New Yorkers and having a disproportionate impact on Black and brown communities.

“Just like Alicia Keys sings in ‘Empire State of Mind,’ there’s nothing we can’t do in New York,” said NYC Census Director Julie Menin. “Alicia Keys embodies the spirit and determination of New Yorkers and we are so grateful to add her voice to our campaign. Now is not the time to be invisible – now is the time for every New Yorker to fill out the census and be counted.”

The census determines whether New York City receives its fair share of hundreds of billions distributed by the federal government every year for important programs and services. The census also leads to direct investments in New York City’s health care system. For example, census data determines allocations for funding for CHIP and hospitals. What’s more, it’s how public health officials get the foundational data that public health experts use to plan for and manage situations like COVID-19.

The census is available online and by phone this year: my2020census.gov and 1-844-330-2020. 

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