PRIORITES

FIGHTING FOR TENANTS AND NEIGHBORHOODS

Before I was elected, I built affordable housing in New York City because I recognized the affordable housing crisis that was disproportionately affecting residents of Harlem, East Harlem, and the Upper West Side. To keep our city affordable and sustainable we have to both build more affordable housing and keep people in their homes. With legislation and with advocacy, I'm fighting for our neighborhoods so that—if they change—the change is for us, not to us. 
Senator Benjamin supports a comprehensive package of legislation to fight gentrification and preserve affordable housing.
  • Senator Benjamin is the sponsor of a bill which would keep rent controlled apartments affordable by creating a parity between the increase of rent controlled and rent stabilized apartments.
  • Senator Benjamin is a co-sponsor of bills which would end vacancy decontrol, a process that takes rent stabilized apartments out of rent regulation.
  • Senator Benjamin is a co-sponsor of a bill which would prevent landlords from increasing a preferential rent to the maximum legal rent on renewal of a lease, which often leaves New Yorkers unable to afford their homes.
  • Senator Benjamin has formed a NYCHA tenant leadership task force, successfully fought for more funding for NYCHA from the state, ensured that NYCHA had “design-build” authority to make repairs, and demanded more oversight of the the lead paint inspection process.
Senator Benjamin is fighting to preserve the character of our neighborhoods.
  • Senator Benjamin introduced the Neighborhood Integrity Act to help fight the disrespectful rebranding of Harlem as SoHa.
  • Senator Benjamin introduced the Height Heritage Act, which is now law and helps attract state resources to historic Harlem.
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.
  • Successfully fought for the largest increase in public education spending in New York State, and for increased transparency in how that money is spent.
  • Supports fixing the unfair funding that disadvantages students in some public school districts.
  • Co-sponsor of the DREAM Act, which will help the children of immigrants obtain the education they deserve here in New York State.
  • To ensure community input, Senator Benjamin has Introduced a bill that would require a majority vote of local elected officials before the New York City Department of Education can act on a proposed closure or major change to a 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.
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 fulfills it’s duty to contract 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 to ensure an even playing field in the courtroom.
  • 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.
 
ENSURING QUALITY EDUCATION
 

EMPOWERING SMALL BUSINESSES

 
FIXING OUR BROKEN CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM
 

Benjamin for New York

PO Box 1089 | New York, NY 10030

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