Manhattan lawmakers on the move


Maloney Applauds NYS Making 9/11 Community Eligible for COVID Vaccine

U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens) released a statement on Friday after Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) announced that starting on Feb. 15, New Yorkers with 9/11-related cancers and other diseases will be eligible to received the COVID-19 vaccine.

Maloney had previously called on the State to expand vaccine access to members of the World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP) on Jan. 13.

“9/11 responders and survivors, who have 9/11-related medical conditions that increase the risk for severe COVID-19, need and deserve access to the COVID-19 vaccine,” she said. “They live with these pre-existing conditions because they were exposed to the toxins in the air at and around Ground Zero after our government told them it was safe. After 9/11, our country made a promise to ‘Never Forget’ – this is how we put that promise into action.”

Nadler, Lofgren Commend Biden Admin for Efforts to Strengthen Refugee Program

U.S. Reps. Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan, Brooklyn) and Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) released a joint statement last Friday, commending President Joe Biden (D) for signing an Executive Order to reinstate and strengthen the U.S. refugee program.

The order, which Biden signed a day prior, raises the annual cap on refugee admissions to 125,000 for Fiscal Year 2022.

“The Trump Administration reduced refugee admissions to historic lows and decimated the refugee program,” said Nadler and Lofgren. “We are greatly encouraged to see that the Biden Administration is aligned with our recommendations and that they are beginning the process of rebuilding this historically bipartisan program and returning the United States to its leadership position on the world stage. As multiple crises continue to unfold around the world, we urge the President to immediately start the process to increase the refugee admissions goal for this fiscal year.”

Espaillat Shares Story of His Positive COVID Diagnosis

The NY Daily News published an op-ed last Saturday from U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-Manhattan, Bronx), entitled “Our COVID trial, and mine: A congressman on the vaccine and his positive diagnosis”.

Last December, Espaillat received the first dose of the Pfizer/BioTech COVID-19 vaccine. He still tested positive for COVID-19 a month later; however, the vaccine was able to strengthen his immune response to the infection, ultimately saving his life. In the op-ed, Espaillat calls the vaccine “just one piece of the larger puzzle” – a vital part of the battle against the pandemic, but not a silver bullet that will make the pandemic disappear overnight.

“Fauci made clear that even with vaccines slowly becoming more available, we must not become complacent, and we must continue to do all we can to protect the health and safety of those around us — by wearing a face mask in public settings, adhering to strict social distancing guidelines and washing our hands routinely,” he wrote. “Only by following these steps, in tandem with vaccination, do we have a fighting chance against COVID-19.”

Read the full article here.

Al Taylor Voices Support for “New Deal for CUNY”

Assemblymember Al Taylor (D-Harlem, Washington Heights) released a statement last Friday in support of new legislation to reform and revitalize the City University of New York (CUNY).

The CUNY New Deal, sponsored by State Senator Andrew Gournardes (D-Brooklyn) and Assemblymember Karines Reyes (D-Bronx), was written with three key goals in mind:

  • Increase the ratio of full-time professors to full-time students, in order to make class sizes smaller;
  • Make CUNY tuition free for all in-state undergrad students;
  • And allow the university to hire more academic advisors and mental health counselors.

“As a proud CUNY graduate, I fully support the new deal for CUNY,” said Taylor. “So many New Yorkers would not be where we are today without the opportunities CUNY afforded us. We must do everything we can to ensure future generations enjoy those same benefits. That means removing the economic barriers to education while guaranteeing CUNY has the necessary funding and resources to set our students and faculty up for lasting success.”

Chin Coordinates Lower Manhattan-Wide Distribution of Food to Community Pantry

Today, Councilmember Margaret Chin (D-Battery Park City, Chinatown) will be announcing the expansion of food pantry networks in Lower Manhattan.

At the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, Chin began coordinating with UA3 to address food insecurity in her district. The coordination culminated in the creation of the Community First Food Pantry, which operates out of an empty storefront on Grand Street. To date, Community First has moved over 9,000 gallons of milk and over 2,000,000 pounds of produce to families in District 1.

The expansion announcement will take place today at 12 a.m. at 384 Grant St.

This story first appeared on our sister publication newyorkcountypolitics.com.