Lawmakers on the Move, Jan. 11, 2022

Adams Announces Ingrid Lewis-Martin as Chief Advisor to Mayor

Mayor Eric Adams

Mayor Eric Adams announced Chaplain Ingrid Lewis-Martin as chief advisor to the mayor, a role which will have her working in partnership with the first deputy mayor, chief of staff, and all direct reports to the mayor to support operations at City Hall and advance the administration’s strategic policies and priorities. 

Lewis-Martin most recently served as deputy Brooklyn borough president.

“We are building a team that knows how to ‘Get Stuff Done,’ and my chief advisor has a proven track record of getting stuff done for New Yorkers left behind by government for far too long,” said Adams. “This is a 24/7/365 administration, working around the clock to make this city a safer and greater place to raise healthy children and families, and leading a robust and equitable revival that lifts up every one of us.”

A proud daughter of Barbadian and Panamanian heritage, Lewis-Martin was born and raised in Brooklyn. Prior to her role as deputy Brooklyn borough president, she served for more than five years as then-State Senator Adams’ senior advisor and for seven years as his chief of staff.

“It is an honor to serve this city and continue working in partnership with Mayor Adams, who has been a great champion for New Yorkers,” said Lewis-Martin. “We will get stuff done in a truly historic way, reaching out to every corner of our communities and delivering common-sense leadership that will unlock government’s full potential.”

QBP Richards, Borough Cabinet to Hear Department of Building Presentation

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr., chair the Queens Borough Cabinet, today will hold a virtual meeting today featuring a presentation from the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) that will address various issues raised by Queens Community Boards.

This meeting will be conducted virtually with Borough Cabinet members participating via videoconference. 

The meeting is slated for 9:30 a.m., today, Jan. 11 and be live-streamed to the public on the Borough President’s website at www.queensbp.org.

Meng & Colleagues call for Biden to Expand Access to COVID Rapid Testing

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Queens) joined U.S. Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Ro Khanna (D-CA), along with U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)  and more than 40 members of the House and Senate in sending a letter to President Joe Biden on Sunday, calling on his administration to build on its current efforts to expand access to COVID-19 testing by substantially increasing the supply of rapid tests and removing financial and logistical barriers to access for the duration of the pandemic.

These measures would ensure the United States is mobilizing a more comprehensive public health response as the country enters a new phase of the pandemic, and that rapid testing – one of the most effective tools the federal government has at its disposal – is free, accessible, and convenient for all.

“The rapid spread of the Omicron variant over the past weeks suggests that Americans are in a dramatically more vulnerable position than we had anticipated being just last month. There is no time to waste, and widespread and affordable access to rapid tests will be an integral part of our country’s public health response to the Omicron variant and through the duration of the pandemic,” the lawmakers wrote in the letter.

Specifically, the letter calls for the administration to manufacture enough tests that every American could take at least one rapid test per week, make regular testing more convenient by meeting individuals where they already are, and make it easier for private health plan enrollees to be reimbursed for over-the-counter tests.

AOC Recognizes Congressional App Challenge Winner

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-Queens/Bronx) yesterday unveiled the winner of the Congressional App Challenge from New York’s 14th Congressional District: Packaged in One (PnO) by Rumaiz Ahmed, Maru Kaneko, and Rina Kaneko. 

PnO is a mobile app that serves as a multipurpose educational tool with a variety of resources, such as a dictionary, electronic flashcards, and a full scientific calculator. A video demonstration of the app is available here.

“Rumaiz, Maru, and Rina’s application was inventive, functional, and apt. They thoughtfully considered that not all learning tools are available to students as schools shifted to remote learning during the pandemic, addressing inequities outside of the classroom,” said the Office of Rep. Ocasio-Cortez. “We congratulate them and commend all the other applicants for participating in this challenge. The creativity and talent this next generation of young leaders has shown gives us much to look forward to.”

Every year, students from across the country participate in the Congressional App Challenge by creating a software application, or “app”, for mobile, tablet, or computer devices on a platform of their choice. Each Congressional office that participates in the Challenge selects a winner from their district. The Congressional App Challenge’s mission is to inspire, include, and innovate efforts around STEM, coding, and computer science education. Students interested in participating this year can visit the Congressional App Challenge’s website. Applications open in June.

Gianaris’ Legislation Banning Big Corporate Campaign Spending Passes Senate

Senator Michael Gianaris
Assembly Member Latrice Walker

Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris (D-Queens) announced yesterday the Senate passed his Democracy Preservation Act (S.1126-B), which would effectively ban campaign spending by major multinational corporations by a vote of 48-15. 

The law is modeled after similar ordinances in Seattle, Washington and St. Petersburg, Florida. 

“Unlimited corporate spending has a pernicious effect on our elections and my Democracy Preservation Act will make substantial inroads in fighting the undue influence of big corporations on our democracy,” said Gianaris. “Enactment of this bill would ensure that New York’s elections are decided by its people, not by big corporations.” 

The measure follows the Citizens United 2010 Supreme Court decision allowing corporations nearly free rein in spending on elections. Many of the largest corporations have substantial foreign ownership, through banks, capital firms, or individual investors. 

The Democracy Preservation Act prohibits companies with more than 1% stake owned by a single foreign national or more than 5% owned by foreign nationals cumulatively from making political contributions in New York’s state and local campaigns. It would additionally prohibit such an entity from funding independent expenditures or political action committees, as well. 

Assembly Member Latrice Walker (D-Brooklyn), who sponsors the legislation in the state assembly said the Citizens United decision wreaked havoc on the country’s democracy – including giving the unprecedented ability for foreign-owned corporations to influence elections. 

“We must give New Yorkers the democracy they deserve. I’m pleased to work with Senator Gianaris on this legislation and glad the Senate saw fit to pass it today – I’ll work hard ensuring the Assembly does the same this session,” Walker said.

Legislator Abrahams Invites Residents to Virtual Community Tax Grievance Workshops 

Nassau County Legislator Kevan M. Abrahams

Nassau County Legislator Kevan M. Abrahams (D – Freeport) is partnering with the Nassau County Assessment Review Commission (ARC) to host free virtual community tax grievance workshops to inform residents about how to challenge their property taxes online. 

During these virtual workshops, taxpayers who disagree with the assessed value of their property can submit via chat any questions to the representatives from ARC and learn how to navigate the online grievance process and dispute their assessment. Your questions will be answered after the presentations and/or the representatives will contact you directly.  

Residents who would like to participate in these virtual tax grievance workshops should visit https://www.nassaucountyny.gov/LD1. For additional information, please contact Legislator Abrahams’ office at 516-571-2455 or via email at [email protected] 

The next workshop is slated for between 12 noon- 2 p.m., Thursday, January 27. CLICK TO JOIN: https://www.nassaucountyny.gov/LD1  

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