Brooklyn Lawmakers on the Move Feb. 5, 2021

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Gillibrand Wants Accessible Kosher and Halal Food

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) yesterday sent a letter to Acting Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Kevin Shea, inquiring how the USDA will make sure that federal feeding programs, like The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) and the Farmers to Families Food Box program, are equitable and accessible for those with culturally or religiously sensitive diets.

“Making sure that everyone has access to healthy food options in this pandemic is a matter of health and equity,” said Gillibrand. “As thousands of New Yorkers do their best to beat back the virus, it’s our job to make sure that families who rely on kosher and halal options aren’t left without healthy meals because of a problem that shouldn’t exist in the first place. Given the urgency of this issue, I look forward to hearing the USDA’s plan to work with Jewish and Muslim communities to ensure equity in the purchase and distribution of food through federal feeding programs in a timely manner.”

Gillibrand has previously joined members of the New York congressional delegation expressing concern to the USDA leadership under then-President Trump over its handling of the transition between vendors for Round Three of the Coronavirus Food Assistant Program’s (CFAP) Farmers to Families Food Box Program, which left local food pantries without vendors or guidance to procure food boxes.

James Delivers Millions to Fight Opioid Crisis

Attorney General of NY Letitia James
New York Attorney General Letitia James07

New York Attorney General Letitia James co-led a coalition of nearly every attorney general in the nation in delivering a court settlement of more than $573 million toward opioid treatment and abatement to stem the opioid crisis that has ravaged families across the country.

 An agreement and consent judgment with McKinsey & Company — one of the world’s largest consulting firms — filed today resolves investigations by the attorneys general into the company’s role in working for opioid companies, helping those companies promote their drugs, and profiting millions of dollars from the opioid epidemic. The funds from today’s agreement — more than $32 million of which will go to New York state — will be used towards abating the effects of excessive opioid use in the participating states. This is the first multistate opioid agreement to result in substantial payment to states to address the crisis.

“McKinsey’s cynical and calculated marketing tactics helped fuel the opioid crisis by helping Purdue Pharma target those doctors they knew would overprescribe opioids,” said James. “They knew where the money was coming from and zeroed in on it. Under the terms of today’s agreement, the company will finally end its illegal conduct, deliver more than half a billion dollars into communities across the nation, and will never be able to help perpetrate this type of fraud and deception again.

“While no amount of money will ever compensate for the pain of the hundreds of thousands dead, the millions addicted, and the countless families torn apart from opioid addiction, we can ensure that those responsible for the crisis help to fund prevention, education, and treatment programs to stop additional New Yorkers and Americans across the country from becoming addicted to opioids in the first place. This is just the beginning of our fight for justice for victims, and we will continue to do everything in our power to prevent the industry from hooking more patients and causing yet additional harm.”

Colton Stands Against Schoolyard into Park Plan 

Assembly Member William Colton

Assemblyman William Colton (D-Gravesend, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, Dyker Heights) yesterday announced that due to the snow, the motorcade scheduled for today against the city’s proposed conversion of the I.S.228, also known as David A. Boody, schoolyard into a public park is being rescheduled for Feb. 24.

“I believe that this project will create serious safety, health, and quality of life issues not only for the neighborhood but also for I.S. 228 which has been a shining star of quality education. The community must speak up and our voices must be heard. We need core people with cars to volunteer to be part of a community motorcade, protesting the city’s plan to convert the schoolyard at I.S.228 into a public park. We are asking people to support the community and the PTA of I.S. 228 by joining the motorcade on Friday, February 24, 2021, at 3 p.m.,” said Colton.

“We need as many people as possible to be a part of the MOTORCADE and let the NYC administration know that we are not going to allow public parks in our schoolyards. Anyone who is interested in taking part in this protest may join us at the above-mentioned location. The community will show its opposition to this illogical plan in a safe, socially distanced manner. Signs will be provided for each car. Have your children in your car to be part of this community motorcade to speak out for the community,” he added.

This motorcade is slated to take place at 3 p.m., Feb. 24 at West 4th Street between Avenue S and Avenue T.

Cymbrowitz Helps With Overwhelming Heat Bills

Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz

Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz (D-Sheepshead Bay, Manhattan Beach, Brighton Beach) is partnering with the Heartshare Neighborhood Heating Fund (NHF) to provide eligible HEAP recipients up to $200 in the form of a grant applied directly to their heating bill.

Starting Monday, February 8, Cymbrowitz’ office at 1800 Sheepshead Bay Road is once again an official NHF Heartshare enrollment site.

Applications can only be filled out at the office and Cymbrowitz’ staff is happy to assist constituents in his district in verifying eligibility and applying. Due to COVID restrictions, applications will be filled out by appointment only. Walk-ins will not be Permitted.

“This winter brought unseasonably cold weather and higher heating bills. It is a particularly difficult time for low-income residents who must struggle to cover their basic needs,” said Cymbrowitz. “I am pleased that the Neighborhood Heating Fund is available to lend a much-needed helping hand.”

To see if you are eligible, what documentation to bring and to schedule an appointment, call Cymbrowitz’ office at (718) 743-4078.