MANH Lawmakers on the Move, Nov. 24, 2020

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Stringer, Constantinides Write Op-Ed Calling for City Infrastructure Overhaul

NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer (Photo credit: Thomas Good, CC BY-SA 4.0)
NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer

City Comptroller Scott Stringer (D) and Councilmember Costa Constantinides (D-Queens) wrote an op-ed for Crain’s New York on the need to invest in sustainable capital projects to stimulate the economy and combat climate change.

Since March Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) has postponed nearly all capital projects to focus on combating the pandemic. But Stringer and Constantinides argued that, even as the pandemic continues to ravage our city, now is the perfect time to start investing in sustainable infrastructure.

“This isn’t a moment to fold on investments in sustainable infrastructure,” they wrote. “We need to double down. Interest rates are low, the labor is available, and the urgency to fight climate change is clear.

“COVID-19 laid bare the systemic disparities that run through our city – and revealed the human cost of environmental injustice and our past disinvestments in climate solutions. Poor air quality, higher rates of asthma, congestion, overcrowding and lack of green outdoor space left entire neighborhoods overexposed in the darkest days of the pandemic. And as hurricane after hurricane batter our shores, attempts to claw back funding for sustainable building retrofits and resiliency projects undermine frontline communities threatened by both rising seas and rising rates of COVID-transmission. We should seize this opportunity to put New Yorkers to work on the projects that will guarantee better air, safer shorelines, and a more sustainable future for our city.”


Cuomo Calls on Congress to Renew Federal Support Programs for Unemployed Americans

Governor Andrew Cuomo (Photo Credit: www.governor.ny.gov)
Governor Andrew Cuomo

Last Sunday, Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) called on Congressional leadership to renew and expand support programs for the unemployed amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

For months, the federal government has been funding programs to help Americans who have lost their job as a result of the pandemic. However, several of these programs are set to expire soon, and it couldn’t be happening at a worse time; infections, hospitalizations and deaths are higher than they’ve been in months, and millions of Americans are still unemployed.


“Unlike the federal government’s response to the virus itself, Congress moved decisively this spring to address the economic impacts of the pandemic — supplying Americans with federally-funded stimulus checks, supplemental unemployment benefits, and benefits for freelancers, the self-employed, and others who are not typically covered by traditional unemployment insurance,” wrote Cuomo.

“However, as we enter the holiday season — and as states once again enact stronger measures to stop the surge in cases, hospitalizations, and deaths — Washington’s inaction is putting millions of Americans’ financial security at risk.”


Espaillat to Host Veterans’ Roundtable

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

Today, U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-Manhattan, Bronx) will be hosting a virtual roundtable to honor veterans in his district.

The roundtable will provide information on the programs and services available to New York’s veterans, courtesy of Espaillat’s office. We will also be hearing from representatives of Headstrong, the Veterans Advocacy Project and the NYS Department of Veteran Affairs.

The event will take place today at 4 p.m. at facebook.com/RepEspaillat.


Hoylman Shares Story of Volunteering for Pfizer Vaccine Trial

State Senator Brad Hoylman (photo provided by Avi Small)
State Senator Brad Hoylman

State Senator Brad Hoylman (D-Chelsea, Midtown) recently wrote an op-ed for USA Today about being one of the first to test Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.

Last year, he sponsored a bill that prevents children from getting religious exemptions for the vaccinations required to attend school, causing no small amount of ire from the anti-vaccine crowd. By his account, he took the trial to show his commitment to science, and (hopefully) prove to his anti-vaxx detractors that vaccines are effective.

“Anti-vaxxers have heckled me in public, hurling anti-Semitic and homophobic slurs, and made threats against me on social media, including sharing a doctored image of my throat being slit,” said Hoylman. “Enrolling in the Pfizer trial was a personal way for me to show my enduring commitment to science in the face of this invective.

“The truth is that vaccines have been a victim of their own success. A generation ago, parents still remembered rampaging outbreaks of measles, mumps and even polio. But thanks to science, medicine, and American ingenuity — in short, thanks to vaccines — we were able to triumph over those childhood diseases. In recent years, anti-vaxxers have called attention to the rare side effects of vaccination, comfortably able to ignore their benefits because we’ve forgotten what they prevented. COVID vaccines, once they’re proven safe and effective, will remind us of how much vaccines matter.”

Read the full article here.

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