How will NY10 candidates bring federal dollars home to the district and where would that money be spent?

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Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon (left), former U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman, Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou, City Councilmember Carlina Rivera, former Mayor Bill de Blasio and U.S. Rep. Mondaire Jones.
Photos courtesy of campaigns and candidates, illustration by Ethan Stark-Miller

One of the most anticipated contests in the upcoming Aug. 23 primary for congressional and state senate seats is the newly redrawn 10th Congressional District.

The new CD10 was conceived by a Steuben County judge appointed independent expert tasked with drawing new district lines following a chaotic redistricting process, where the state’s top court threw out gerrymandered maps drawn by the Democratic-controlled state legislature. It covers lower Manhattan neighborhoods like Chinatown and Tribeca as well as swaths of Brooklyn including the Brownstone Belt and Sunset Park. 

Even before the maps were finalized in late May, a who’s who of New York’s political class put themselves in the running for CD10, which opened up after U.S. Rep. Jerry Nadler – who currently represents much of the new district – decided to run in the 12th Congressional District against his long-time colleague U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D–Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn). 

Some of the 15 contenders for the open seat include ex-Mayor Bill de Blasio, U.S. Rep. Mondaire Jones (D–Rockland, Westchester Counties), Assemblymembers Yuh-Line Niou (D–Manhattan) and Jo Anne Simon (D–Brooklyn), City Councilmember Carlina Rivera (D–Manhattan),  former U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman, and Dan Goldman, lead counsel in the first impeachment of former President Donald Trump.

With six weeks to go in the race and endorsements and campaign cash steadily rolling in, PoliticsNY reached out to seven of the major candidates and asked them the following question:

How would you bring federal dollars home to the district and where would you prioritize spending that money?

Below are their answers edited for length and clarity.

Bill de Blasio: “I would focus relentlessly on making sure NYC, and the 10th District in particular, gets our fair share from the [President Joe] Biden infrastructure bill – the MTA especially.” 

Mondaire Jones: “Rep. Mondaire Jones is the only candidate in this race who has already brought billions in federal funding to New York City. As the freshman representative for House leadership, Rep. Jones played a pivotal role in securing House passage of both Build Back Better and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which included tens of billions of dollars in federal funding for NYCHA, public transit, climate resiliency, health care and more. This is in addition to the billions in New York City public school funding Rep. Jones helped secure in the American Rescue Plan, while members of the City Council voted to cut our school budgets.” – Jones’ spokesman Bill Neidhardt.

“He would go about it the same way he has previously brought billions to the district: Build on his personal relationships in Congress and his proven ability to break Washington’s gridlock to deliver billions to New York City, which no other candidate can say they have done.”

Yuh-Line Niou: “In my six years in the Assembly, I’ve driven billions of dollars of state money back into my district and into projects that have a real impact on my constituents’ lives, including more than $1B in capital improvements funds for public housing. I know how to work with my colleagues and my party’s leadership to get the job done so I can deliver for my community. I’ll bring this skillset to DC and work hard to secure funding for my district. 

One of my top priorities is investing in affordable housing. We are dealing with a housing crisis right now, New York in particular. The federal government has been divesting from public housing for decades, meanwhile, public housing in New York is in such poor condition that it is literally making people sick. I have fought for this in Albany and I’m ready to bring this fight to DC. Public housing needs to be fully funded. We have the ability to pass this life-saving legislation and ensure that everyone has a safe and affordable place to live.”

Jo Anne Simon: “Our communities need federal funding to build resiliency and stay inclusive. We need more affordable housing and we need environmental justice. Affordable housing is only affordable with the government subsidizing the development or else the market will continue to raise prices and push out our neighbors. Clean air and clean water are fundamental human rights, but they need investment. Housing, air, water, these are the basic needs that the government should be meeting. This is the infrastructure needed for a community to thrive and to survive.” 

Carlina Rivera: “I have a clear record of securing and distributing federal dollars for New York’s most urgent needs. I’ve passed the most legislation of any sitting council member and brought in over $1 billion dollars in federal investment to my district. As chair of the City Council’s Committee on Hospitals during the darkest days of the COVID-19 pandemic, I oversaw the city’s processes ensuring that the billions in citywide federal pandemic assistance were funding treatment and prevention, especially in our hardest hit communities. I have been endorsed by 1199SEIU, which represents New York CIty’s healthcare workers, because of my role in securing federal support and PPE for our frontline workers. Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez has endorsed me because of our years-long partnership securing federal funding for healthcare, climate, and housing needs in New York City, and I am honored that she trusts me to continue that advocacy as her colleague in Congress.”

Elizabeth Holtzman: “Funds to the district is to narrow a formulation. Funds that go to improving mass transit, clean our waters and air, improve health care, strengthen education and create jobs are vital to the people in the district whether the dollars physically find their way inside the boundaries of the district or not. Identifying important needs inside the district such as the Gowanus clean up and improvements to the large NYCHA housing projects would be at the top of [my] funding list. But in general more funds for affordable housing, mass transit, and schools would be on the list. With earmarks it might be possible to ensure that the funds go to the very specific programs that are targeted.”

Dan Goldman: “As lead counsel for Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, I developed strong relationships with lawmakers in both houses of Congress. The 10th District deserves a representative who has a proven track record of getting things done, and I will leverage those relationships to secure funding that addresses the issues that matter most to New Yorkers: affordable housing, healthcare and mental health, and the existential threat of climate change.”

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