"Benjamin said that the community isn't against renovations to its subway stations, but is against a process that limits community input. The state senator said Monday that he plans to introduce legislation that would require transit authorities to give local community board's 90 days notice for any plan that would shut down stations..."If we had community input and communication at least with six months in advance, we could have discussed some of these issues and said 'listen we really need an escalator, we really need an elevator' and we could have had a back and forth dialogue," Benjamin said."
After graduating from high school in New York City, Senator Benjamin sought the quality education that his parents knew he would need to succeed. At Harvard and Brown he learned the skills to run a successful small business in Harlem, build affordable housing, and contribute to President Obama’s 2008 campaign for president. Senator Benjamin wants every child to have the education opportunities he did, and to have the skills they need to live up to their potential in school.
  • To prepare Harlem’s students for the jobs of the future, Senator Benjamin introduced public school leadership to the technology leaders from Brown University.
  • Senator Benjamin supports fixing the unfair funding that disadvantages students in some public school districts.
  • Senator Benjamin is a cosponsor of the DREAM Act, which will help the children of immigrants obtain the education they deserve here in New York State.
  • Senator Benjamin successfully fought for the largest increase in public education spending in New York State, and for increased transparency in how that money is spent.
Before I was elected to the Senate, I was a leader at a local small business. This business, which was a certified M/WBE (Minority or Women Owned Business Enterprise) worked with the community to build the affordable housing they needed. Therefore, I know first hand how important it is that that local businesses are given the tools they need to survive and thrive. That way people can shop in their neighborhoods, work in their neighborhoods, and live well in their neighborhoods.
  • Senator Benjamin partners with organizations like Harlem Park To Park to ensure that businesses like Whole Foods hire local workers and sell local products.
  • Senator Benjamin supports MWBEs and has partnered with NYC Small Business Services to help small businesses get government contracts.  
  • Senator Benjamin is the sponsor of a bill to ensure that the state contracts with M/WBEs.
  • Senator Benjamin helped ensure there was an extension of Article 15-A in the State Budget.
Shortly after I was elected, I visited Rikers Island. There I met people from the community I represent—young men and women being punished for their poverty and their mental health as much as for their crimes. Many of these New Yorkers are detained because they lack the resources to pay their bail. They are not more of a threat and their crimes are not more serious–the only difference between those detained and those set free is their economic status and the color of their skin. 
Senator Benjamin supports a comprehensive legislative package to build a criminal justice system focused on actual justice, one that seeks to rehabilitate rather than erecting lifelong barriers to success.
  • Senator Benjamin is the sponsor of a bill to Close Rikers in three years, faster than the city plans to.
  • Senator Benjamin is the sponsor of a Discovery Reform bill.
  • Senator Benjamin is the sponsor of a bill to divest New York’s public pension funds from private prisons.
  • Senator Benjamin is a co-sponsor of a bill to end solitary confinement.
  • Senator Benjaminis co-sponsor of a bill which would have a special investigator probe police-involved death of unarmed civilians.
  • Senator Benjamin supports comprehensive bail, discovery, and speedy trial reform.
  • Senator Benjamin is a co-sponsor of legislation to restore voting rights to felons on parole.