Malliotakis Officially Sworn Into House
U.S. Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (D-Southern Brooklyn, Staten Island) was officially sworn in on Sunday evening to represent Staten Island and Southwestern Brooklyn in the United States Congress.
“I’m excited and ready to work for the people of New York’s 11th Congressional District by fighting to accelerate vaccine distribution, open our economy and make our community safer,” said Malliotakis. “Sixty years ago, my parents took a great chance and came to this country in search of greater opportunity. They worked hard, sacrificed so much, and today they were able to watch their daughter become a Member of Congress. That’s the American Dream and opportunity I will work to preserve for future generations.
“I will work to advance policies that will keep our streets safe, protect our liberty and promote our free market economy. This congressional district belongs to the people of Staten Island and Southern Brooklyn, not a party or candidate. Rest assured that, every day, I will do my best to represent you and our shared values in the U.S. House of Representatives,” she added.
Adams on Trump Relaxing Nutritional Standards for Schools
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams released testimony he submitted to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) on a recent proposal, known as “meal flexibilities,” which experts believe would increase access to one percent chocolate milk in schools, cut whole-grain serving requirements in half, and give nutrition directors more time to meet weakened sodium reduction targets.
The proposed rule change comes in the final days of the Trump administration as President-elect Joe Biden prepares to be inaugurated later this month. Adams framed his testimony as a “resolution” for 2021 to promote healthy eating in schools across the city, state, and country as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to ravage the nation.
“A new year means a renewed sense of purpose, and a promise to improve upon ourselves and our communities. Yet, the USDA’s recent proposal would devalue the quality of food served to those nutritionally insecure children and adults and negatively impact their health at a time when we can least afford it,” said Adams. “We have seen the devastating impacts of COVID-19 on communities suffering from high rates of diet-related illnesses such as diabetes, obesity, and hypertension. Nutrition is a critical tool in our toolbox to fight this pandemic and improve the overall health of our borough and city. We can neither afford nor abide the human cost of nutritionally flexible school food.”
Felder to Health Commissioners: Seniors Need Vaccines!
State Sen. Simcha Felder (D-Boro Park, Midwood) is awaiting a response to a letter he sent on Wednesday urging NYS Health Commissioner Zucker to prioritize the inclusion of all seniors amongst the first people to receive the vaccine.
“Seniors have been isolated from family, friends and community for almost a year and counting. Their suffering has devastating repercussions,” said Felder. “Finally, we have a better way to protect people and any failure to get COVID-19 vaccines to our seniors quickly is criminal negligence!”
“Thousands of Seniors are stuck at home frustrated by news that all sorts of political and bureaucratic nonsense is keeping hundreds of thousands of COVID-19 vaccines sitting on the shelves,” said Felder. “If anyone really wants to get this process rolling, I have an easy solution. Stop wasting precious time and make those vaccines available immediately to Seniors who are literally dying for them!”
Cymbrowitz Concerned About Brighton Beach Homeless Shelter Plan
Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz (D-Sheepshead Bay, Manhattan Beach, Brighton Beach) has written to Mayor de Blasio to share his concerns about the homeless shelter for 170 single men planned for 100 Neptune Avenue in Brighton Beach.
Chief among these concerns is the city’s desire to build a congregate shelter rather than seek permanent housing for the homeless.
“In the weeks and months ahead, I urge you to listen to the concerns of community stakeholders in examining the feasibility of this congregate shelter proposal. It appears to be a crisis-driven response — one that has not worked well in the past and bears no indication of working well in the future. Our city’s homeless deserve better, and recent history has demonstrated that permanent, supportive housing offers the best chance of reducing our homelessness epidemic.
Cymbrowitz said as Chair of the Assembly’s Housing Committee, he has worked with the de Blasio administration and across the State to allocate millions of dollars to preserve and create thousands of permanent supportive units for the homeless and those at risk of homelessness.
“While congregate shelters like the one planned for Brighton Beach only exacerbate the homelessness crisis by habitually sending people from the streets to shelters and then back to the streets again, permanent supportive housing has proven effective in taking people off the streets and keeping them stably housed,” he said.
Jeffries Announces Yousafzai Scholarship Act Almost Signed
U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-Brooklyn, Queens) and U.S. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced that H.R. 4508, the Malala Yousafzai Scholarship Act, is on the way to the President to be signed into law.
Jeffries introduced the bill in 2019 to promote access to higher education for girls in Pakistan by directing the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to issue at least half of its scholarships for higher education in Pakistan under the Merit and Needs-Based Scholarship Program to women.
“At home and abroad, women and girls face barriers to obtaining an education, hindering their ability to fulfill their God-given potential,” said Jeffries. “If we empower girls through education, they have the opportunity to uplift themselves, their families, neighborhoods and nations. I thank Senator Schumer for his assistance in passing this important legislation to help ensure every girl in the world can receive a quality education out of the Senate,” he said.