MANH Lawmakers on the Move, July 20, 2020

Manhattan Lawmakers on the Move bannner

Velázquez Announces $1.3 Million for Local Head Start Program

Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez (Photo Credit:
Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez

Last Friday, U.S. Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-LES, Brooklyn, Queens) announced the allocation of new grant funding for early childhood education in her district.

The grant went to the Charities Neighborhood Services Head Start program, which provides low-income families with early childhood education resources. The program has served New York for over a century, sponsoring more than 160 programs for the City’s least privileged.

“Successful adults come from children who are supported by their family and community,” said Velázquez. “Part of preparing our children for a brighter future lies in giving their families the resources they need to thrive. Families need to know that they do not have to struggle alone. Through these centers, working families can rely on access to educational, nutritional, and emotional support as their children grow and develop.”

Espaillat Introduces Legislation to Compensate, Memorialize COVID-19 Victims

U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat (Photo credit: U.S. House Office of Photography)
U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat

Last Friday, U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-Manhattan, Bronx) introduced legislation to both compensate and pay respects to families impacted by COVID-19.

The COVID-19 Victims Compensation Act would create a fund to provide financial aid to COVID-19 survivors, and to families who lost their loved ones to the virus. Individuals and families would receive compensation for losses suffered due to medical expenses, unemployment and loss of business.

The COVID-19 National Memorial Act would create a commission to plan, design and build a COVID-19 victim memorial in the Bronx. Said memorial would also pay tribute to the medical workers who risked their lives when the pandemic was at its worst.

The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated the US economy, impacted every community across the nation, and wrought unprecedented financial, emotional and physical damage on individuals and families,” said Espaillat. “We are in the midst of an invisible war that has so far taken roughly 140,000 lives in the United States, far more than combined loss of American lives during the Vietnam War, the 9/11 attacks, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Congress must take action to alleviate the suffering of those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as properly commemorate the lives lost, to help our nation recover. I am calling on my congressional colleagues to join me in this effort to help our nation recover both spiritually and economically from this crisis.”

Maloney and NY-12 Challengers Ask BOE to Count Absentee Ballots Without Postmarks

U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (Photo credit:
U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney

Last Friday, U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens) and her three primary challengers; Suraj Patel, Lauren Ashcraft and Peter Harrison; issued a joint statement calling on the New York Board of Elections (BOE) to count absentee ballots without a postmark.

Due to the pandemic, an unprecedented number of New Yorkers submitted their ballots by mail this year. Unfortunately, a large percentage of absentee ballots were returned without a postmark, invalidating them under the law. The Board has already agreed to count non-postmarked ballots they received before the 24th; however, Maloney and her challengers insist that the Board should count all of them, period.

“Put bluntly: A missing postmark, over which voters had no control, should not disenfranchise those voters,” they said. “We stand together in asking Governor Cuomo to update his executive order to permit the Board of Elections to accept all absentee ballots received without a postmark.”

Williams Calls for Public Safety Reforms Amid Gun Violence Spike

New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams (Photo credit:
Public Advocate Jumaane Williams

Public Advocate Jumaane Williams (D) has put forth a number of proposals to both curb gun violence and address underlying issues.

Last Friday, he sent a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) and Commissioner Dermot Shea that summarized his proposals. Said proposals include having city agencies share CompStat data with anti-violence groups, and adopting an “Advance Peace” model to prevent violence via community engagement.

“I condemn all senseless violence,” wrote Williams. “We all must. Any instance of senseless violence is too many, whether inflicted as civilian on civilian, officer on civilian or civilian on officer. Like most New Yorkers, I am particularly concerned with the recent rise in shootings across our City.

“The violence affects us all, and it is all of our responsibility to play a role in responding to and preventing it. This is not an area in which the police department is the only solution, and it cannot be treated as such. I encourage the Administration to further increase collaboration with stakeholders, including Crisis Management System partners and other local groups, to reduce these incidents. The reality is that even more agencies and organizations can and should be involved in their own capacities. There are clear steps we can take as a city, proposals we can enact, that will address both gun violence and the longstanding systemic issues that create an environment for such violence.”

Read the full letter here.