A new year means new resolutions, goals and goals for those who represent Bushwick voters. Last week, Bushwick Daily spoke to six local elected officials, as some settled into their new or renewed roles, to ask what their goals were for 2022. Overall, our leaders said housing , health and employment were absolute priorities.
While all officials identified Covid recovery as a health goal, other non-Covid health issues also came to the fore. Asher Freeman, chief of staff to Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso, named improving maternal mortality as Reynoso’s top priority. “The statistics are pretty staggering regarding black women dying in childbirth in Brooklyn.”
“Reynoso will work to form a maternal mortality task force and is committed to allocating a significant portion of its capital budget to equip all of our public hospitals with state-of-the-art maternity wards,” Freeman added.
Assembly member Erik Dilan, who represents Assembly District 54, echoed support for maternal care, and it aims to pass Assembly Bill A6889, which would require employers to grant paid sick leave to their employees following a miscarriage or stillbirth.
Sandy Nurse, Board Member, who represents District 37 City Council, also identified working to address Brooklyn’s unequal health care outcomes as a goal for 2022 service delivery.”
Beyond health care, Nurse stressed that working on climate change is a top priority: “We have longer-term goals around preparing our city for the climate crisis. This involves equitable upgrades to our infrastructure, our public works system, and our electricity and water networks.
That’s something State Senator Julia Salazar agrees with. She supports the Public Renewable Energy Construction Law, which would require the New York Power Authority to supply only renewable energy and electricity to customers.
Another big theme in officials’ plans for the new year revolves around housing. “We want to guarantee housing for all New Yorkers,” Nurse said. “That means meeting tenants’ needs and accessing legal advice and services, supporting basement conversions or trying to turn around the tax lien sale that hurts small landlords. We want to support the organizing effort to expand the cease and desist zone to all of Brooklyn.
Regarding the needs of tenants, Assembly member Maritza Davila, representing Assembly District 53, is “looking forward to helping pass eviction for a good cause to help protect our tenants and get more funds for emergency rent arrears.” Salazar agreed, noting that Good Cause Eviction Bill will help solve the housing crisis.
Several officials pointed to the passing of bills that would help in the reintegration of incarcerated people into society.
Davila said one of his goals in the Assembly was to push through “a comprehensive and structured reintegration program for formerly incarcerated people”.
A bill that could contribute to this effort is that of Dilan Assembly Bill A3285, which aims to “clean the slate” for “minors with no prior arrest or criminal record who are declared innocent or whose case is dismissed”.
Salazar noted that she supports “parole reform by enacting parole for elders and fair and timely parole.”
Looking ahead, all officials were optimistic about their upcoming plans at Bushwick. City Councilor Jennifer Gutiérrez, who represents District 34 City Council, added, “I am personally invested in making the communities of the 34th council district an even better place for future generations, like my daughter.”
However, the best solutions may not come from above. “We want, as much as possible, to create opportunities for our communities to come together and think about how we solve some of these issues,” Nurse said. “My theory is that the people closest to challenges, problems and crises are those who have some of the best ideas on how to overcome them.”
To that end, please contact the officials mentioned in this story at the following numbers to express your concerns, ideas or questions, so that we can help Bushwick together:
- Member of the State Assembly Maritza Davila: (718) 443-1205
- State Assemblyman Erik Dilan: (718) 386-4576
- Councilor Jennifer Gutiérrez: (718) 963-3141
- Councilor Sandy Nurse: (718) 642-8664
- Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso: (718) 802-3700
- State Senator Julia Salazar: (718) 573-1726.
Featured Image: Sandy Nurse. Taken by John McCarten/NYC Council Media Unit.
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