“In her herstoric speech yesterday from the Assembly Chamber as New York State`s first female Governor, Governor Kathy Hochul outlined a clear progressive vision for protecting our most vulnerable citizens, continued economic development, combating COVID-19, greater infrastructure investment and an overall plan for moving our state forward.

In preparation for the many difficult weeks and months ahead, it is up to our state and local governments to develop plans to keep our borough, city and state moving in the right direction. Today, Governor Hochul did just that and as the new Bronx Borough President, I was most interested to hear about:

Keeping Our Streets Safe: Public safety is a significant issue in our borough. Residents should feel safe in their neighborhoods but unfortunately we know this is not the case for many New Yorkers. The proliferation of guns in communities of color has become an epidemic in our city and I am excited to hear that Governor Hochul will be investing funds into state and local policing gun safety efforts. The only way we can truly combat violence in our city is if we have state and local governments working together.

Healthcare: The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for us to invest money into our healthcare industry. Our essential workers have been on the frontlines keeping all of us safe and deserve to be fairly compensated for their work. Under Governor Hochul’s plan, she is investing $10 billion in the state’s healthcare sector, including more than $4 billion to support wages of healthcare workers. It is important that our essential workers know that we know only care and appreciate them, but that they also receive fair and equitable wages.

Reducing Recidivism: It is an unfortunate fact that many formerly incarcerated New Yorkers encounter barriers to accessing crucial services once they are released from prison. The Governor announced today a ‘Jail to Jobs’ program that seeks to reduce recidivism by giving formerly incarcerated New Yorkers access to education, resources, and job placement that will help them successfully re-enter into society. These programs are important and give many New Yorkers an opportunity at a second chance.

Digital Divide: Despite the growing need for technology and broadband access, many New Yorkers are still left without internet in their homes. It is unacceptable for anyone to not have internet access in the 21st century and I am proud that the Governor announced a plan to deliver affordable broadband to millions of New Yorkers. Having internet access in New York State should be a human right and this plan brings us closer to guaranteeing that for all New Yorkers.

Housing Equity: Access to affordable and quality housing is important now more than ever. New Yorkers should not be at risk of becoming financially destitute in order for them to pay their rent. As the quality of living increases, we need to ensure residents have the means to access affordable housing. Under Governor Hochul’s 5-year housing plan, she intends to create and preserve 100,000 affordable homes, and to construct additional housing throughout the state. In the City Council, we fought for housing equity and I intend to work with Governor Hochul and my other colleagues in government to combat our current housing crisis.

We have a lot of work ahead of us, but I look forward to partnering with Governor Hochul on a variety of projects and issues in my new role as Borough President, to ensure an equitable recovery for all New Yorkers. Blessings, prayers, and well wishes to Governor Hochul and my colleagues in government as they prepare for the year ahead.”