Get out and VOTE! by John Verive. /

Candidate Profiles For Tuesday’s Primary Election. Be An Informed Citizen And Vote!

Staten Islanders! Staten Islanders! Heed this call: Tuesday, June 22, 2021, you have the opportunity to cast your vote in local election primaries. We are having six local races this year. And, it’s the first test of ranked-choice voting, a very different sort of way of determining the winner, a measure passed in 2019. Under ranked choice voting, citizens must know more about all the candidates, as they not only select a winner, but rank the choices presented. CLICK HERE TO READ OUR ARTICLE On THE PROCESS FROM NOVEMBER OF 2019.

Both Democrats and Republicans can cast primary votes in the various races. The Democrats are fielding candidates for borough president of Staten Island in hopes of beating Leticia Remauro, the Conservative Party’s choice for our next borough president. James Molinaro, serving from 2002 to 2013, was a Conservative Party member.

Our current BP, James Oddo, is a Republican. Right-leaning Staten Islanders have seen their candidate win in this race more often than in other boroughs in recent years. Our Island’s last Democrat in office was Borough President Ralph J. Lamberti, serving from 1984 to 1989. The Republican primary does not have a nominee yet, even as Leticia Remauro once headed SI’s Republican Party.

City Council seats are also up for grabs. The New York City Council makes the laws for NYC. There are 51 members, drawn from the 51 council districts throughout the five borough. The City Council is a check against unbridled mayoral power. Members decide on key issues from education to land use, as well as anything else that affects the lives of New York City residents and businesses.

Islanders will be voting for a North Shore Democrat, a primary with many entrants. The Republican primary for Mid-Island City Council seat is another race with many choices for voters.

The Democratic District Leader for District 61 is also seeking a nominee. This position differs in some respects, as it’s unelected and both a male and female district leader will be chosen.


Candidates For The Borough President’s Seat In The Primary:

The following candidates are running for primary election for the Borough President of Staten Island. BP James Oddo is not running to due term limits.

Democrat:

Cesar Vargas

Lorraine Honor

Radhakrishna Mohan

Mark Murphy

Brandon Stradford

Republican:

Leticia Remauro

Vito Fossella

Jhong Kim

Steven Matteo


City Council Primary Candidates, District 49 and 50

Democratic Candidates For Primary Election, District 49:

Amoy Barnes

Abou Diakhate

Selina Grey

Kamillah Hanks

David Hernandez

John McBeth

Troy McGhie

Morounranti Ogunleye

Jason Price

Kelvin Richards

Patricia Rondinelli

Michael Schnall

District 50:

Sal Albanese

Republican Candidates For Primary Election, District 50:

David Carr

Jordan Hafizi

Marko Kepi

Sam Pirozzolo

George Wonica

Kathleen Sforza


Mayoral Primary Candidates

Republican Party Candidates:

Fernando Mateo   Founder of NYS Federation of Taxi Drivers

Curtis Sliwa    Founder of the Guardian Angels

Major Democrat Party Candidates On The Ballot:

Eric Adams    Brooklyn Borough President

Shaun Donovan      Former Director Of The Office of Management and Budget

Kathryn Garcia   Fmr Commissioner NYC DOS

Raymond McGuire   Fmr Citigroup Executive

Dianne Morales   Fmr Social Services non-profit CEO

Scott Stringer    NYC Comptroller

Maya Wiley   The New School Professor

Andrew Yang   Fmr Candidate For President of The United States

Other Candidates Qualifying on the Mayoral Ballot:

Art Chang   Founder of NYC Votes, fmr JP Morgan Chase Managing Director

Aaron Foldenauer   attorney

Paperboy Love Prince   Brooklyn Rapper

Joycelyn Taylor   CEO of TaylorMade Contracting

Isaac Wright Jr   lawyer


Candidates For City Council Who Have Provided A Candidate Profile To Staten Islander To Help Voters Decide

Jordan Hafizi, Candidate for City Council (R)

Jordan Hafizi For City Council. Image Credit - Jordan Hafizi Facebook

Jordan Hafizi For City Council. Image Credit – Jordan Hafizi Facebook

My name is Jordan Hafizi, and I am running for New York City’s 50th Council District, representing the mid-island. To get straight to the point, I am a born go-getter. I am someone with very high standards and bright visions, and I will fight till the very end to ensure that those visions become our reality once I am elected. As a born and raised Staten Island native, the well-being of my community holds a very special place in my heart. I have seen Staten Island slowly crumble around me as I have grown, and I am sick and tired of standing by and watching. I am not only calling for change, I will lead such a movement when elected. All of my life, I have desired a way I can represent the people and their needs, and at this point in my life addressing and fixing the damaging issues in my community has become my top priority. There are plenty of bad habits we are stuck in within our borough and political system, and it’s time for them to be finally broken. I hope to earn your vote come June 22nd.

‘How do you plan on improving upon the broken education system?

I plan on bringing trade schools back and CTE/vocational programs back to our schools for students who don’t want to go to college. Our traditional pathway to a career through college is not for every individual. I will ensure that all students coming out of high school have more options than just attending an undergraduate program. I will also implement “career ready” programs in high schools for certain fields that students, with the support of their families, decide to pursue.

How do you plan on supporting students with learning disabilities?

In-office, I will ensure that children with learning disabilities will get the assistance and equal education that they deserve, and will no longer be left behind. I will remove the isolation that has been put beyond such children, and include them in the support and education that all students are receiving. While doing this, also providing plenty of resources in support of these children to make their educational experience effective here in NYC.

What is your stance on mandatory vaccines?

I will fight against mandatory vaccinations and vaccine passports. While doing this, I will also help increase access to vaccines for anyone who does make the decision to get the shot. No human being should have such a major decision made for them such as this one, and I will ensure it remains that way. For those that do request a vaccine; I will provide various ways in which they can receive the vaccine with the highest convenience possible.

What is your stance on defunding the police?

It is upsetting that this is a question that even has to be addressed. I fully back and support the police and the New York Police Department. In-office I will push for increasing the funding of police departments all throughout New York. This will ensure that our brothers and sisters in black and blue have all the possible resources to help serve our beautiful communities.

How do you plan on taming the ever-rising pharmaceutical prices?

One major push I will make regarding this issue will be diligently advocating to provide low-cost/free EpiPens to all students with severe allergies who are under the age of 18. There is no logical reason that the families of children who were born into this world with life-threatening allergies should have to pay absurd prices for a device that controls the fate of their child’s lives. I will ensure EpiPens are more accessible and easier on the wallets of those who need them. If Narcan is provided for those who overdose on drugs, why can’t we provide EpiPens for our children?

How would you make the life of the elderly easier?

One major way I would address a serious burden on the mind of everyone, especially those of older age, would be addressing their health and well-being. I would increase various health and cancer screenings to those over the even young and vibrant age of forty years old. This will ensure our communities of those most at risk for certain conditions are being checked and treated as soon as possible. My number one priority is the people I will be serving, and this will help that cause.

How will you help make Staten Island, and more specifically the 50th district a more attractive place to live?

When I am elected, one major project I am excited to pursue regarding this question would be revitalizing and cleaning up the Franklin D. Roosevelt Boardwalk. I plan on adding vendors, more restaurants, and activities/games for all ages. While also adding lots of fun to our home island, this would also create hundreds of jobs and thousands of dollars in tax revenue!

How do you plan on aiding businesses that still have not fully recovered from the pandemic caused by COVID-19?

Arbitrary COVID restrictions hit businesses hard, and that is why I vow to propose a bill that cuts the salary of elected officials in NYC to whatever the maximum restaurant capacity is at the time. Why should our politicians be thriving while the rest of the city is dying?

What is your stance on the 2nd Amendment?

I am a strong believer and supporter of our country’s 2nd Amendment, much like I am for all of our amendments. I am a big believer in our constitution that our founding fathers beautifully articulated. I am a strong supporter of the right to bear arms, and all law abiding citizens deserve this right and it shouldn’t be infringed.

How would you address the everlasting traffic issue here on Staten Island, and especially within the 50th district?

Traffic is one of those things that can make a crappy day even worse, especially Staten Island traffic like the daily congestion on Hylan Blvd. One major point of attack on such a big issue would be opening things up more. I would propose that bus lanes on some of our major roads be extended to high occupancy vehicles. We should also look into the feasibility of allowing more right turns on red and smart light technology.


Sam Pirozzolo For City Council (R)

Sam Pirozzolo for City Council.  Image Credit - Sam Pirozzolo

Sam Pirozzolo for City Council. Image Credit – Sam Pirozzolo

Dirty tricks and politics – business as usual.

My name is Sam Pirozzolo and I know that voters are very concerned about issues that affect them every day. We have problems with crime; criminals are being let out of jail while we defund our police. Speed cameras are popping up like weeds. Our property taxes remain too high and unfair and people are fleeing our city in record numbers. So you would think that this City Council race would deal with these topics—but no.

Instead, David Carr and Marko Kepi are spending their final days attacking each other on personal and political issues and seem to have forgotten about voters.

That is what makes me different, I don’t play games. I want you to know that I believe we need to re-fund our police, restore qualified immunity, and repeal the diaphragm law. Only with increased policing can New York City become a safe place to live again.

I want to fight to lower our taxes and get rid of these speed cameras. NYC has been taxing the middle class with tons of speeding tickets and hidden fees. The Democrats have been funding failing programs for decades. It is as if common sense has left city government.

In my opinion, it all comes down to a quality public school education for every student. If we cannot provide our youth with the ability to get a job so they can provide for themselves and their families, it won’t make a difference if we have a $20 minimum wage or a living wage. People must learn to provide for themselves.

These are some of the issues we need to be talking about right now – but Carr and Kepi just don’t get it, and they should not get your vote either.

Please, stay away from the distractions and vote for me, Sam Pirozzolo, and we will make Staten Island a great place to live again.


Kathleen Sforza for City Council (R)

Kathleen Sforza For City Council. Image Credit - Kathleen Sforza

Kathleen Sforza, Running For City Council. Image Credit – Kathleen Sforza

BORN on Staten Island…LIVE on Staten Island…WORK on Staten Island & I LOVE Staten Island!

I am running for City Council, District 50, to Represent Staten Island!

My background as the owner of Town & Country Gifts and Crafts, Inc. for 25 years and my current position as Economic & Community Development Coordinator for Northfield Community LDC of Staten Island positions me well for problem-solving post-pandemic. I know how to create jobs, balance a budget, and forecast growth. These are important qualities for a candidate to possess, especially coming out of a post-pandemic economic crisis.

I am a determined hard worker who has the perseverance to see things through to completion. You can trust that I will always take on tough issues that face the district. I will fight for the needs of my constituents.

The government derives its power from the people. My constituents’ wants and needs will be my guide. Economic development for small businesses post-pandemic, police and public safety, education that focuses on trade schools, and community colleges, affordable housing for seniors, education of our youth, opportunities for the developmentally disabled and their families, as well as the quality-of-life issues of sanitation, will be my focus.

ISSUE #1 SMALL BUSINESS and ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

As the owner of Town & Country Gifts and Crafts for 25 years and in my current position as Economic and Community Development Coordinator at Northfield Community LDC I know the hardship that these small businesses have been facing this past year. In good times, business is tough in New York. High taxes and overregulation burden small businesses. Fining is the NYC way! Post-Covid many small businesses and especially restaurants and businesses that were forced to close or limit capacity will never recoup the losses that they have incurred. On January 22, 2021, I gave testimony on the Mayor’s Recovery Agenda to the Small Business Committee on Oversight. Innovative strategies will be needed. The public and private sectors will need to provide cash grant programs that go directly to small businesses to assist with rent and utilities.

ISSUE #2 POLICE AND PUBLIC SAFETY

I cannot imagine our borough or our city without a police presence. The mission of the New York City Police Department is to enhance the quality of life in New York City by working in partnership with the community to enforce the law, preserve peace, protect the people, reduce fear, and maintain order. The police are needed! In the past year, we have seen our police officers abused and demoralized. It is a known secret that crime statistics have been manipulated for the past 7 years. Nothing is a crime anymore! Yet the murder rate saw an increase! There is no way to hide a murder in the statistics. It is a crime that cannot be manipulated by statistics! Just look at the City of New York Policy Comp Stats for the week ending 12/27/2020. We can see a crime with our eyes. We do not need statistics. The daily news reports show shooting and killing every day. We need more police on the beat. People who know the neighborhood, who grew up in the neighborhood, should police the neighborhood.

ISSUE #3 EDUCATION

This pandemic has shown us that we now live in a digital-first world. Children today will not learn the same way as we learned.

We also know that education is an investment. In most cases, it will cost us money. It will most likely cause debt for an individual or family.

Educators on every level must be allowed to teach their students life skills that foster independence.

We also need to address the education and care for our developmentally disabled. College is often not an option. Their future requires guidance, support, and services. We need to look at options that turn their disability into ability. We all have basic needs, desires, and feelings. We all have the right to be treated with respect and dignity.

ISSUE #4 SANITATION and ILLEGAL DUMPING

Illegal dumping is on an uprise on Staten Island. Just look along any highway service road and you will see black contractor bags, televisions, electronics, mattresses, etc. dumped on the side of the road. I personally have called on the Veterans Road North several times. The amount of illegal dumping that takes place is disgraceful. We are seeing a rise in this due to the pandemic budget cuts. No pickup of electronics.

Dumping and littering are two crimes that are rarely enforced. In order for this problem to be solved, it will need the help of Staten Island residents. I am all for supporting civic groups who take the initiative to keep their neighborhoods clean.

ISSUE #5 SENIOR HOUSING/AFFORDABLE

Seniors are near and dear to my heart. My office is located at Parkside Senior Apartments and every day, pre-pandemic, I would speak with the people who live there. It saddens me that so many do not have enough money left at the end of the month. They have more month than money. We need more housing for seniors with a sliding scale (housing where the tenant pays rent based on their income).

ISSUE #6 TRANSPORTATION AND TRAFFIC

As the forgotten borough when it comes to transportation, we must make sure that our Verrazzano Narrows Bridge Resident Discount is not lost. We do not have a subway system that connects us to other boroughs, therefore, we need to rely on our automobiles. On December 20, 2020, I gave testimony at the MTA’s public hearing about proposed budget cuts among them the resident discount. On January 21, 2021, the Staten Island Advance reported that the MTA will keep the Staten Island Resident Discount for now. However, we must continue to lobby for this to become a permanent measure for Staten Islanders. Another problem is the constant increase in Express Bus Fares. We are the only borough without a subway system. Express bus fares need to be reduced. A roundtrip fare should be $5.50. The cost of a single bus fare and subway fare.

ISSUE #7 TAXES

We are being taxed to death! There are taxes on everything!

Real estate taxes are going through the roof. We cannot tax people to death. In the immortal words of Winston S. Churchill “We contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.”

What is the result of increased taxes? Those that can leave will leave, and little by little there will be fewer tax revenues.

ISSUE #8 PARKS

Our parks are important green spaces for our borough. They bring the beauty of nature as well as recreational benefits to all Staten Island residents. They are also a source of positive economic benefits. They enhance property values, increase municipal revenue, bring in homebuyers and workers, and attract retirees. However, they need to be maintained. Post-Covid-19, we will need to make sure that our parks are funded to maintain the positive benefits that they bring to our community.

ISSUE #9 FIRE DEPARTMENT

Staten Island’s population is increasing every year. Zoning changes on Staten Island’s North Shore will increase density. There will be a need for more firehouses to protect the people in the area.
ISSUE #10 ALL

Of course, there are a few other issues that Staten Islanders face. Issues such as infrastructure needs, roads, and zoning that if not kept in check will wreak havoc on Staten Island communities. I as NYC Council Member will always make the wants and needs of my constituency known to the appropriate agencies.

I want to see my hometown address its current challenges and build on its significant assets. I want to be a part of planning for the next generation who will call Staten Island their hometown.

Endorsed by the NYC Uniformed Firefighters Association (UFA) and the NYC Uniformed Fire Officers Association (UFOA).

 

Troy McGhie, Candidate for City Council (D)

Troy McGhie for City Council. Image Credit - Troy McGhie

Troy McGhie for City Council. Image Credit – Troy McGhie

I am Troy McGhie, and I am running to be your City Council Member, a City Council Member who will unite and uplift ALL North Shore neighborhoods.

Many of you know me.

I have spent my career educating young minds in the classrooms of Curtis High School and coaching our youth on courts across the Island.

I have listened to residents’ concerns and made sure their voices are heard at hundreds of Community Board and civic meetings.

I was born and raised on the North Shore and chose to build a life here because I love this community. I was married in Rosebank. My sons and I played in the same North Shore parks that you and your kids did.

I built a career as a public school educator in Stapleton and St. George and have worked to give back to the North Shore.

I’m not in this race as a political stepping stone, I’m not part of any machine.

I’m your neighbor, your friend, who’s been fighting to make the North Shore a better place long before I decided to run for office.

Top issues

Education. So that all young people are afforded the opportunity to reach their highest potential, I will work tirelessly to ensure every student not only has access to rigorous programs but also feels a sense of belonging within those settings. Beginning with our youngest learners, I intend to focus resources on initiatives that will address the needs of the whole child and foster self-actualization.

All young people deserve the ability to learn in a safe and nurturing environment. I am committed to seeing that all schools have a positive learning atmosphere so that students feel welcomed, safe and supported. Working with education leadership, I will promote common-sense alternatives to suspensions that are in line with programs such as restorative circles, Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) and Therapeutic Crisis Interventions for Schools (TCIS) de-escalation practices.

Ensuring that students remain engaged in the learning process while having them take ownership of their actions is key to improving the climate and culture of our schools. The time is now to prepare our young people for the many career opportunities that will become available over the next few decades. As an educator, I know first-hand the importance of teaching for the future. As your Councilman, I will work with local education, community and business leaders to develop and support initiatives that prepare students for 21st century careers and focus funding on efforts that give youth the opportunity to balance in-school learning with programs that build skills and create internship opportunities.

Health care. Reducing health disparities and improving access to high-quality healthcare for my community is a focal point of my campaign. For far too long, the North Shore of Staten Island has been neglected when it comes to the availability of quality health care. Portions of the North Shore are miles away from the nearest hospital and have few medical resources in their neighborhood. As the COVID-19 pandemic has made clear, many residents are poorly connected to a medical provider and are challenged by cultural and language barriers. As your Councilman, I will fight for long-deserved funding and resources that give patients the care that they need, how, when and where they need it.

Unaddressed mental health issues are a current and constant challenge for many North Shore residents. Now, more than ever, our community needs to tackle the problem of inadequate mental health services. As your Councilman, I will fight for the funding and resources necessary to strengthen our behavioral health infrastructure and work with stakeholders to link constituents to these resources, ensuring adequate mental health care for all North Shore residents.

Recognizing the current challenges of budgetary constraints, it is of the utmost importance that our community resources are fully recognized and utilized. Campaigns designed to bring awareness about health and wellness initiatives will ensure community members can take full advantage of what is being offered in their neighborhoods. I will support programs and organizations which look to raise funding and ensure that systems are integrated so that all health and wellness programs are strategically utilized in an effort to build a healthier North Shore.

Public safety. I would work to boost police-community relations, and that would include my attending Community Council meetings on a quarterly basis, and encouraging constituents to attend regularly as well to ensure constant two-way communication. Community-based solutions such as the City Council-funded True2Life program have proven to be valuable tools that produce real results; these programs should be strengthened, and best practices from these programs from around the city should be shared and implemented. I also support increased funding for youth programs, including educational programs and job-training programs

Police reform. We should not be forced to choose between enforcement of the law and an NYPD that is accountable and respects civil rights — we can have both. We first need to increase diversity on the police force so that police are representative of the communities they serve. We need to place a renewed emphasis on community policing, where police are seen as part of the community. The Department must recommit to transparency and accountability. We, as a community, have a right to know who we have policing us and, if necessary, that they will be held accountable for their actions should circumstances call for it. I support removing police from some non-criminal calls and placing them in a support role to trained social workers/mental health professionals, where appropriate. I understand the importance of the police and want to put them in the best possible position to succeed while taking them out of non-criminal situations that would be better handled by trained social workers/mental health professionals.

Housing. I support the construction of new affordable housing units so that New Yorkers can continue to live in the neighborhoods they have called home. For those who feel squeezed out, all tenants deserve access to housing court, with someone to advocate on their behalf in holding landlords to the law. And for those living in substandard conditions, this is not acceptable. I have too many reports of unsafe and unhealthy conditions at public and private housing units, and I won’t let landlords continue to get away with it.

Downtown development. North Shore residents want and deserve a careful balance of economic development, new housing and neighborhood preservation, along with schools and green spaces. I will only support the finishing of the NY Wheel if the new developer adheres to all the points agreed to by the original developer — park and playground, revitalized esplanade, community benefits, etc. If this developer walks away, we need a community conversation, and my vote will be for athletic and recreation complex, and green space. In addition, our new Cromwell Center needs to be sped up. Skyscrapers in Manhattan rise faster than the design of this one center. Finally, all new development needs to come with infrastructure. Infrastructure has to come first; building second.

Transportation. I have a four-point, practical plan for the North Shore:

Rapid transit on the North Shore. For decades, we have been promised a reactivation of the North Shore right of way, connecting St. George to Mariners Harbor. While many of us would like to see light rail, the MTA has said that the only feasible option is bus rapid transit. Bus rapid transit must work like a train on wheels, as it does in other parts of the world, with fully separate lanes so that the trains-on-wheels unimpeded by automobile traffic, and platform boarding with wide sliding doors, just like a subway. As Council Member, I will ensure that our rapid transit moves as swiftly as a train.

New ferry connections. We are a city of islands, and yet we only have one ferry connection to one other borough, and one new ferry connection coming this summer. These connections are important and efficient, but they fail to recognize growing population and employment centers. Brooklyn students studying at the College of Staten Island, or North Shore residents working in downtown Brooklyn must either make a time-consuming connection in Manhattan or, more likely, they opt to travel by car, adding to our immense BQE and Verrazzano Bridge traffic. The infrastructure is already in place for ferry connections to Brooklyn; we just need an administration willing to invest in the boats. The next step in this ferry expansion needs to be a ferry from the western part of the North Shore — either Port Richmond or Mariners Harbor — to Manhattan. Residents in this part of the district deserve equal access to the economic opportunities of Manhattan.

Bus service to New Jersey. Manhattan and Brooklyn aren’t the only job centers in our region. Jersey City, Newark and Elizabeth are also potential centers of employment for Staten Islanders and yet, without a car, they are out of reach to our North Shore residents. We must bridge the bureaucratic hurdles that keep us from having bus service across the Goethals Bridge to Elizabeth and Newarkl. As Council Member, I will get everyone in one room and work out these hurdles and make this happen.

An accessible bike share network. On a more micro level, we need bike share — including electronic-assist bikes for our hills — to encourage Staten Islanders to leave cars behind for smaller trips. The Jump and Lime pilot program was enormously successful, and I am frustrated that the city has still not been able to bring us a bike share program while it continues to extend Citi bike across other parts of the city. As we work to expand bike infrastructure, we must also ensure safe spaces for pedestrians and cyclists. No one should fear for their safety because they make a choice for a greener, healthier form of transportation.

Property tax reform. As a homeowner in New Brighton for 27 years, I know firsthand that we have a broken property tax system that discriminates against homeowners in less affluent areas. When the owner of a modest house in Rosebank, West Brighton or Mariners Harbor pays more in property taxes than the owner of a newly purchased multimillion dollar Park Slope row house, we have serious inequities whose remedies are long overdue. Our current system is regressive, with Staten Islanders shouldering a heavy burden. I have read the city’s Property Tax Reform Commission’s ten recommendations, and I see the commissioners have prioritized simplicity, transparency and equity. These are key to any future reform. More importantly, the yet-to-be determined “circuit breaker” for low-income homeowners is crucial to remedying this regressive system. These recommendations are significant moves in the right direction.

Green space. As the pandemic taught us, access to parks and keeping our parks clean is a necessity for the health, safety and well-being of all. Funding for our parks must be a budget priority, and the city must also have the capacity to work with residents willing to adopt and take care of their local parks. I would work closely with our borough Parks team and local residents to identify capital needs and then work with partners in government to meet those funding needs. Working together, we can leverage funding for maximum benefit.

Constituent services. Although we are a diverse and complex collection of neighborhoods, North Shore residents have many things in common. We all want our trash picked up on time, our potholes fixed, our sidewalks level and our snow removed in a timely fashion. Whether you are from Mariners Harbor, West Brighton, Rosebank or any community in between, I will ensure that your voice is heard. My work as a Community Liaison with the City Council has given me a unique understanding about the importance of these quality of life issues. I will make sure that when my office is called your concerns are acknowledged and that problems are addressed. And I will go beyond that: My team and I will meet you where you are — whether it’s on social media or at community events — to ensure you have access to city government. Feedback and follow-up are important to me and I will make sure that my constituents know that. For me, the commitment to provide constituent services is more than a campaign promise, it will be at the heart of my Council service.

Follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @McGhie4Council, or visit McGhieForCityCouncil.com

🗳 Vote Troy McGhie as your first choice on Primary Day, June 22, for City Council District 49.

Thanks,

Team McGhie


Victor Kelvin Richards, Candidate for City Council (D)

Kelvin Richards, Running for City Council. Image Credit - Kelvin Richards

Kelvin Richards, Running for City Council. Image Credit – Kelvin Richards

Tell me about yourself.

My name is Kelvin Richards and I’m a public defender who has dedicated my life to fighting for justice and standing up for those without a voice on the North Shore. Now, I’m ready to bring my experience to the Council to fight for an equitable recovery from this pandemic and build a stronger, safer, more just future here for my children and all our kids.

My journey began when I was just ten years old, fleeing the Liberian Civil War with my family to live in a refugee camp – where we spent the next five years. The horrors of the war that I witnessed, and the compassionate work of the U.N. volunteers set me on the path to public service. I came to the U.S. as an asylum seeker and moved to Staten Island, where I experienced systemic racism for the first time as I was unconstitutionally stopped and frisked more than 20 times.

I have served as the Staten Island Liberian Community’s (SILCA) youngest Vice President, the General Counsel for the African Community Association of Staten Island (ACASI), and a committee co-chair for New York State Bar Association’s Task Force for Racial Injustice and Police Reform. I’ve been active in my community, leading the fight for safer streets and improvements to local parks. My wife and I are raising our two young children in New Brighton. To learn more please visit my website at RichardsforCouncil.com and continue reading below for my policy priorities.

Why are you running for City Council?

Our communities here on the North Shore have been underserved and overlooked for far too long. I’m running for City Council to fight to ensure that all North Shore residents have equal access to truly affordable housing, high quality healthcare, a world-class education, and good-paying jobs. On top of fighting for relief for our small businesses and working families, I will fight to address the underlying disparities that COVID-19 has uncovered, from economic inequality to the digital divide to unequal healthcare access. First and foremost, we need safe streets and communities. As a public defender, I understand our criminal justice system better than anyone, and I will make sure our neighborhoods and families stay safe.

What are your top issues?

Community Safety & Protecting our Youth

As a public defender, I work in our criminal justice system every day, so I know what works and
what doesn’t. It’s not enough to say we have a problem with rising crime in our neighborhoods, we need real, commonsense solutions. On the Council, I’ll fight to make sure my kids, and all our children, have safe communities and great opportunities. I’ll work to increase funding for violence interruption programs, increase gun buyback programs, expand the Summer Youth Employment Program, implement free afterschool for all students, expand apprenticeship, vocational and tech programs, and host gun buybacks to get guns off our streets.

Improve our Quality of Life

As the North Shore develops and grows, we need to tackle the transportation problems that come with it, including increased traffic. On the Council, I will fight to improve and invest in our public transportation infrastructure and fight for safer streets.
During this pandemic, we’ve also seen just how important our parks and open spaces are in our quality of life — it’s time to invest in our communities and improve our parks and playgrounds.

A Fair Economic Recovery

High property taxes, rising crime, and a lack of good jobs are holding the North Shore back. I’m ready to fight for our fair share from City Hall and enact an economic recovery that puts our families first. I’ll fight for universal low-cost childcare so working families can get back to work; lower property taxes for homeowners; community-based development that creates new, good-paying jobs; and economic assistance for our small businesses to hire workers and get back on their feet.

Access to Quality, Affordable Housing

Even before Covid, there was a lack of quality, affordable housing. And now, North Shore residents face a looming eviction and foreclosure crisis when the moratorium ends. Increasing access to quality, affordable housing will be one of my top priorities. I’ll fight to create housing that is truly affordable for North Shore residents, including more 2- and 3-bedroom units for our families; provide permanent; affordable housing for the homeless with wraparound services; increase funding for repairs at NYCHA and all public housing developments; work with the DA prosecute bad landlords who harass tenants; and expand the Right to Counsel so more tenants have lawyers in housing court.

Invest in our Schools

As a product of public schools, I understand the importance of supporting and investing in the future of our students. We need to fight for an equitable education system, recruit and support our teachers, and address the digital divide. I will work tirelessly to fully fund our public schools and the CUNY system so that our teachers, students, and families have all the resources and support they need to succeed. I will also work to expand free after school and early childcare programs and support mentorship programs for all our
students.

Any endorsements?

I’m proud to be endorsed by the United Auto Workers Region 9A, the Amsterdam News – one of the most influential Black-owned newspapers in the nation – Voters for Animal Rights, and a number two endorsement from Assemblymember Charles Fall

Additional Candidate Profiles to be updated as they are received.


 

Avatar

This is the shared editors' account for the Staten Islander news organization. To locate the account of a particular editor, please search using their screen name.

7 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

code