Current State Senator Brian Benjamin is running for City Comptroller behind a platform focused on affordable housing and education, but his most pressing issue is police accountability.
“We are seeing the disadvantages of not having any real accountability,” said Benjamin. “I believe that honing in on the money and making sure that every dollar that goes to policing is necessary for our safety.”
Benjamin has been an outspoken advocate of bringing about police reform. He sponsored the “Eric Garner Anti-Chokehold Act” which prohibited the use of chokeholds by law enforcement and established the crime of aggravated strangulation as a Class-C felony. Benjamin also proposed a bill recently that would stop police officers who were fired for disciplinary reasons from being able to work in other jurisdictions in New York State.
“This is the moment where it needs to be addressed,” said Benjamin. “The implications of a bad police officer could be a life. In some cases the trauma even if you are able to live is life-long. I believe that the police should be held to a higher standard.”
Benjamin brings a diverse background along with his candidacy. He has worked in both the public and private sector and has government experience. Benjamin says this has all prepared him for the job of City Comptroller.
“I’m the only candidate with this experience,” said Benjamin. “The city deserves someone who actually has experience in investment management.”
But what really separates him as a candidate, however, is his lived experience of growing up as a child of immigrants.
“The two most essential things that led from me being a child of an immigrant to running for Comptroller is education and I didn’t have bad run-ins with the police. Stories like mine shouldn’t be a dime a dozen,” said Benjamin.
Benjamin spent three years working in investment banking at Morgan Stanley. He also served as Chair of Community Board 10 and the Land Use Committee. Benjamin is currently a member of the New York State Senate.
If Benjamin were to win, he hopes to collaborate with the new mayor to bring about improvements in education and affordable housing. The federal government has provided the city with funding to assist with COVID funding. Benjamin wants to use that funding to help kids get more counselors for the trauma they have faced in the past year.
“I want to make sure the budget is being spent wisely and actually bringing about deliverables particularly in communities of poverty,” said Benjamin.
As far as the economic crisis goes, bringing back Broadway and re-opening restaurants to bring back tourism is one way Benjamin says the issue could be tackled. Benjamin also wants to get New Yorkers vaccinated so that everyone is safe enough to get back to normal life.
“I look to be someone who can really be paying attention to the key data points in our city’s recovery,” said Benjamin.
Benjamin is confident that he is the best candidate for the job. He hopes to bring about more transparency to the office by making information to the public more accessible by improving the website and making it easy to receive info from his office.
“I believe the comptroller’s job is to provide transparency and accountability to city spending,” said Benjamin.