Not many people in their early twenties can say they’ve worked in government for nearly a decade already –– but City Council Candidate David Aronov can.
After starting his career in public service at 15 years old as a summer intern in City Councilmember Karen Koslowitz’s (D-Rego Park, Forest Hills, Kew Gardens, Richmond Hill) office, Aronov, now just barely 24 years old, is hoping to succeed his term limited former boss by running for District 29 in the 2021 New York City Council elections.
“I think my age doesn’t work against me. I think it actually helps me,” said Aronov. “I think people want younger people and they want fresh blood in politics.”
As a veteran of Koslowitz’s office, the former lead Queens organizer for NYC Census 2020, and a member of the district’s Bukharian Jewish community, Aronov believes he has the experience and the deep understanding of the district that he needs to be it’s representative on the city council.
“It’s the most local level of government. You need to be in touch with your community. You need to know what’s going on on the ground. You need to be involved,” he said. “I’ve been on the ground, I’ve been there when emergencies have popped up. I’ve met with different stakeholders and I’ve built relationships throughout the years.”
The son of Bukharian Jewish immigrants, a group of Russian speaking immigrants who came to the U.S. from the former Soviet Union in the late eighties and early nineties, Aronov will be the first from the community to hold elected office if he wins.
The race for the District 29 seat is a crowded one with twelve candidates so far having filed with the NYC Campaign Finance Board.
Aronov wants to help small businesses, he said, which are struggling now more than ever because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“They feel like they don’t have an advocate,” he said about small business owners in the area.
If elected, Aronov would push for more grants and loans for small businesses and would push the city to help them adapt to new tech platforms, he said. He would also advocate for fewer fines and more education to make it easier for small businesses to succeed in the current climate.
“Small businesses are the backbone of our city, the backbone of our city’s economy,” he said. “It’s getting increasingly difficult to maintain and operate small businesses, and let alone even open a new one.”
Aronov has multiple goals for the city’s public education system. He wants to increase the amount of STEM education options and provide more dual language programs, he said.
He also wants to expand the NYC Gifted and Talented Program, a program that he was accepted into when he was in elementary school but wasn’t able to participate in until fifth grade because of the lack of space.
He remembers walking into the classroom partway through the year in fifth grade and being the new kid in the class, he said, since many of the other students had been in the program together for years.
“In a way I was short changed,” he said. “I was eligible and I qualified, but there wasn’t enough space.”
The growing senior population needs more resources as well, he said. Senior services need to be fully funded so seniors can have somewhere to socialize and to get help with benefits.
The benefits process also needs to be reworked because having to recertify every one or two years is difficult for a senior, he said. He’s worked with constituents in the past who’ve lost their benefits because they forgot to recertify or missed the notification in the mail. Many seniors are living on a fixed income and their financial situation doesn’t vary from year to year making it unnecessary for them to have to get recertified so often, he said.
“We need to lessen the burden,”he said. “There needs to be some kind of leeway.”
He also proposed the municipalization of Access-a-Ride, a much needed yet much complained about mode of transportation in the city available to the elderly, and people with disabilities and health conditions.
“It’s also called ‘Stress-a-Ride,’” he said about the service which he said often shows up late or not at all, and sometimes drops passengers off at the wrong location.
Between the city council, New York City Department of Transportation and the Taxi and Limousine Commission, he believes Access-a-Ride can be fixed.
“We can work together to take it over,” he said.
The city’s residents are struggling right now, Aronov said. They are looking for help but not finding it, he said. If elected to the city council, that’s what he hopes to do –– help.
“Too many people feel burdened. They feel like, you know, nobody’s looking out for them. Their voice is not heard,” he said. “We need to make it easier for people in the city because that’s what local government is about.”