Brooklyn Lawmakers on the Move Oct. 27, 2020

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Jeffries, Gillibrand Decry Confirmation of Barrett to Supreme Court

U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-Brooklyn, Queens) and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) led a chorus of Brooklyn electeds decrying yesterday U.S. Senate confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“The Republican-controlled Senate rushed to rubber-stamp President Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court while they have refused to lift a finger to address the worsening public health crisis and ongoing economic recession. 

“In the 164 days since House Democrats sent the Senate the Heroes Act to crush the coronavirus and extend meaningful relief to American families, over 135,000 souls have perished from this deadly virus. Some 20,000 of those deaths have occurred just in the recent weeks that Senate Republicans have spent fixated on this shameful confirmation process.

“This gross negligence alone serves as proof positive that for President Trump and Senate Majority Leader McConnell, cruelty is the point. And yet, their cynical plan for this Supreme Court vacancy is somehow even more sinister. As the president just enthusiastically confirmed, their goal is to overturn the Affordable Care Act and rip away health care for millions of Americans while we are in the middle of a public health crisis. 

This is the horrific backdrop for today’s confirmation vote, the latest salvo in the years-long Republican crusade to take away our health care. Americans will cast their final judgment about the GOP’s willful cruelty at the polls over the next eight days.”

Gillibrand said Barrett’s confirmation represents the efforts of the Republican Party to impose an ultra-conservative ideology on the American people, the majority of whom do not share their views.

“I voted against Judge Barrett’s nomination because her views on reproductive rights, health care, LGBTQ rights, immigrant rights, and civil rights are far out of the mainstream, and make her unfit to serve on the Supreme Court,” said Gillibrand.

But in addition to her unacceptable legal views, the duplicitous and hypocritical manner of this rushed confirmation process demonstrates a flagrant disregard for American democracy. Under Senator [Mitch] McConnell’s (R-KY) leadership, our judiciary has been politicized beyond recognition and it will distort our legal system for years to come,” she added.

Adams, Cornegy Call For Early Voting Modifications

Borough President Eric Adams
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams
City Councilman Robert Cornegy Jr

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and City Council Member Robert Cornegy (D-Bedford-Stuyvesant, Northern Crown Heights), yesterday called for modifications in early voting protocols after large turnouts among New Yorkers who showed up to vote early this weekend.

According to New York City Board of Elections (BOE) statistics, 193,915 New Yorkers participated in early voting over the weekend. Brooklyn had the highest turnout of any borough, with 61,315 people casting their ballots. With 7 days of early voting left, Adams wants to ensure that every voter who chooses to vote early, or on Election Day, is able to cast their ballot without facing delays or unnecessary obstacles.

“What we saw over the weekend as thousands of New Yorkers came out to cast their ballots in person was heartening in many ways. Enthusiasm was high among the people with whom I interacted. Given the unprecedented occasion, BOE should be commended for its efforts. But we can and must continue to improve. Too many voters faced obstacles to casting their ballot, including hours-long waits in line, confusion about how late they could come to cast their ballots, and mix-ups about polling site locations. We need to send a strong message in these next seven days, and on November 3rd, that New York will make its voice heard. I urge the BOE and the City to expeditiously adopt the steps we outlined so we can ensure this year’s elections have the highest turnouts possible,” said Adams.

“Election authorities need to work to ensure voters can cast their ballots in a timely fashion, to learn from the experience of this past weekend, and to adopt the protocols, policies, and modifications necessary so that we don’t see the obstacles voters faced recur. Early voting was established to make voting easier and to make participation in this crucial part of our democracy more accessible. That’s why we need to pay attention to the experiences voters are facing as they go to the polls. Election authorities need to ensure we don’t see long lines where voters would have to carve out half their day to go to the polls. Thanks to the BP, my colleagues, and everyone lifting their voice to say voters shouldn’t face these hurdles. We need early voting that truly allows for participation without the long lines and long waits too many voters have faced,” said Cornegy, Jr. 

Among the lawmaker’s suggestions to improve and streamline the early voting process for New Yorkers included:

  • Extend the hours that early voting sites are open to be uniform. The State should make funds available to ensure the BOE can do this properly.
  • Put up clearer signage indicating which sites are for early voting, including signage at normal Election Day polling sites directing those to the proper early voting sites.
  • Provide free rides for all poll workers for the remainder of the early voting period to ensure they can get to their respective poll sites easily. The City should engage in conversations with partners in public transit as well as in the for-hire vehicle industry.

Clarke Addresses Risk Factors in NYCHA Housing

Congresswoman Yvette Clarke

U.S. Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-East Flatbush, Central Brooklyn) yesterday blamed the Republican-led federal government and not the Democratic-led city after a court-ordered federal monitor found thousands of NYCHA residents continue to be exposed to lead poisoning.

Clarke said during a global pandemic and the resulting economic crisis, the federal government has a responsibility to help those in need.

“However, instead of passing necessary stimulus funding to slow the spread of the virus, financially stabilize families, and save state and local governments from economic ruin, Republicans have continued to drag their feet at the public’s expense. As a result, pre-existing government failures have only been compounded by thinning budgets forcing municipalities to cut even more corners. For too long our community has been decimated by crumbling infrastructure,” said Clarke. 

“The pervasive presence of toxins in our public housing and neglected infrastructure has disproportionately wreaked havoc on people of color who largely populate the system. Making matters worse, 77,000 children in NYCHA housing lack broadband access causing irreparable harm to their academic achievement and jeopardizing their futures. Put plainly, we need to have accountability and immediately provide government agencies with the resources they need to properly and effectively serve the public,” she said. 

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