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Quick Facts
Personal Details

Education

  • Bachelors, Criminology, Pennsylvania State University at University Park
  • JD, Howard University, 1998

Professional Experience

  • Bachelors, Criminology, Pennsylvania State University at University Park
  • JD, Howard University, 1998
  • Former Senior Advisor, Deputy Speaker of the New York State Assembly
  • Former Analyst and Oversight Investigator, New York City Council
  • Former Chief of Staff, New York State Assembly
  • Former Senior Consultant, New York State Assembly

Political Experience

  • Bachelors, Criminology, Pennsylvania State University at University Park
  • JD, Howard University, 1998
  • Former Senior Advisor, Deputy Speaker of the New York State Assembly
  • Former Analyst and Oversight Investigator, New York City Council
  • Former Chief of Staff, New York State Assembly
  • Former Senior Consultant, New York State Assembly
  • Assembly Member, New York State Assembly, 2013-present
  • Former District Leader, New York State Committeeman, 57th district
  • Candidate, New York State Assembly, District 57, 2018
  • New York State Delegate At-Large, Democratic National Convention, 2012

Former Committees/Caucuses

Former Member, Banks Committee, New York State Assembly

Member, Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic & Asian Legislative Caucus, New York State Assembly

Former External Relations Specialist, New York State Senate Democratic Minority Conference

Former Special Advisor, New York State Senate Democratic Minority Conference

Current Legislative Committees

Member, Agriculture Committee

Member, Codes Committee

Member, Correction Committee

Member, Education Committee

Member, Housing Committee

Member, Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force

Member, Veterans' Affairs Committee

Religious, Civic, and other Memberships

  • Bachelors, Criminology, Pennsylvania State University at University Park
  • JD, Howard University, 1998
  • Former Senior Advisor, Deputy Speaker of the New York State Assembly
  • Former Analyst and Oversight Investigator, New York City Council
  • Former Chief of Staff, New York State Assembly
  • Former Senior Consultant, New York State Assembly
  • Assembly Member, New York State Assembly, 2013-present
  • Former District Leader, New York State Committeeman, 57th district
  • Candidate, New York State Assembly, District 57, 2018
  • New York State Delegate At-Large, Democratic National Convention, 2012
  • Member, American State Legislators for Gun Violence Prevention (ASLGVP)
  • Member, Leaders Eradicating All Poverty (LEAP)
  • Member, State Legislators Against Illegal Guns (SLAIG)
Articles

Governor Cuomo Announces Mobile Markets Awards as Part of $1.4 Billion Vital Brooklyn Initiative

Nov. 13, 2019

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that nearly $250,000 was awarded to support three additional mobile farmers' markets and food pantries through the second round of the Mobile Markets Grant Program, which was launched last year as part of the Governor's $1.4 billion Vital Brooklyn initiative. The program funds mobile farmers' markets and food pantries that supply fresh produce and other quality foods, increasing food access and addressing chronic food insecurity for residents in Central Brooklyn communities. "Through the Vital Brooklyn initiative and the Mobile Markets Grant program, we have increased access to fresh produce and other quality foods for our Central Brooklyn residents," Governor Cuomo said. "Not only is this initiative ensuring that we reach underserved neighborhoods, we are also providing our farmers with new markets to sell their products and grow their businesses." Mobile food access units are an important means for reaching those most in need of fresh, healthy food. Establishing mobile markets is more flexible and less expensive than constructing and operating full-scale grocery stores or new food pantries. They serve multiple neighborhoods and better reach people with limited mobility. The following projects were awarded: -The Doe Fund- Good Food Works Mobile Market Expansion- $28,675 The Good Food Works Mobile Market will expand a unique mobile market model that includes healthy prepared meals in addition to groceries. Products will be SNAP-eligible, locally sourced and sold from a fleet of refrigerated, mobile vending carts in Central Brooklyn. Services will reach Brownsville, Bushwick and Bedford Stuyvesant. -Interfaith Medical Center- Central Brooklyn Farmacy Mobile Market- $118,599 The Central Brooklyn Farmacy Mobile Market will transport locally grown produce to be sold weekly at affordable prices in front of five Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) sites located in Central Brooklyn. Services will reach Brownsville, Bedford Stuyvesant, Crown Heights, Flatbush and East New York. Metropolitan New York Coordinating Council on Jewish Poverty- Mobile Pantry Project- $127,530The Mobile Pantry Project will increase access to healthy, fresh, locally sourced food for underserved residents of Central Brooklyn. Services will reach Crown Heights, Canarsie, East Flatbush and East New York. The second round of the Mobile Markets Grant program builds on the success of the awardees announced in the first round. In 2018, five organizations were collectively awarded approximately $500,000 in funding to expand on existing or implement new mobile market programs to serve Central Brooklyn neighborhoods. All organizations funded in the first round of the program are currently serving Central Brooklyn residents. Currently, eight of the ten community districts facing the highest rates of food insecurity in Brooklyn and the fastest growing rates of food insecurity in the city are in Central Brooklyn. Analysis has shown that low income residents in Brooklyn may travel three times farther to access groceries than higher income residents. Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, "Through the Governor's Vital Brooklyn initiative, we can make a significant impact on the Central Brooklyn community by ensuring its residents are able to easily purchase healthy foods at convenient locations year round." Senator Velmanette Montgomery said, "We are pleased to announce these Vital Brooklyn grants which will allow for the expansion of our mobile markets. This means that more high-quality fresh foods and prepared foods will be within reach for residents throughout Central Brooklyn. Proper nutrition is critical to our seniors' health, the school performance of our children and the quality of life for all of our residents. This program will make it easier for families in Central Brooklyn to access foods they need to put wholesome food on the table." Senator Kevin Parker said, "We are excited that these three mobile markets will be able to bring more fresh and nutritious foods to our families in Central Brooklyn. We know that nutrition is essential for learning and having access to more fresh ingredients and wholesome prepared meals will be a game changer for our community. Today we further ensure that we meet the basic needs of our children so they can focus on school to develop into the leaders that we know they can be." Sen. Roxanne Persaud said, "The meals we consume throughout the day sets the tone for how productive we are at work, school and other important endeavors. Greater access to healthy foods not only helps our community members get the nutrition they need to stay healthy, but assists them in keeping on track as they go about their daily lives. I commend Governor Cuomo for securing funding for another round of the Mobile Markets Grant Program, which helps local farmers thrive and our neighbors eat well." Senator Julia Salazar said, "We thank the Governor for funding this important initiative to make healthier food options available to families in our Brooklyn communities. Access to fresh produce and nutritious foods plays a valuable role in addressing public health concerns and making our communities more vibrant." Assembly Member Rodneyse Bichotte said, "The Mobile Markets is a great way to support access to healthy food. Creating healthy eating habits takes a while, but with increased access surrounding us, we stand a greater chance of maintaining those healthy habits. We need to break the cycle of consuming unhealthy processed foods so our next generation can develop and have access to good options." Assembly Member Maritza Davila, "Thank you, Governor Cuomo, for awarding nearly $250,000 for the support of three additional mobile farmers' markets and food pantries for the Central Brooklyn community. Programs such as the Vital Brooklyn Initiative, has been a leading role in ensuring that fitness and health remains the forefront for many underserved communities. Many of our residents suffer from health issues, such as diabetes, that are the result of a diet with inaccessibility to fresh and healthy foods. The support for our mobile farmers' markets and food pantries will benefit our residents greatly. It's the first step towards attaining a healthier lifestyle and will also keep our local businesses economically stabled." Assembly Member Erik Dilan, "The Vital Brooklyn Initiative continues to improve the lives of residents all across Brooklyn. With more funding for the Mobile Market's Grant Program, Governor Cuomo has created greater access to fresh produce at affordable prices in Central Brooklyn than ever before. I commend the Governor for prioritizing healthy living for every New Yorker." Assembly Member Mosley said, "Access to fresh produce and foods is becoming more difficult to obtain as we continue to lose our local markets. Thanks to the Vital Brooklyn Initiative and the Mobile Markets Grant program our seniors and children now have access to the nutrition that they need. We must do all that we can to support and maintain this program so that those most in need can continue to build a better and stronger Brooklyn. That is why I am proud to support the Governor's Vital Brooklyn Initiative and the Mobile Markets Grant program and look forward to expanding it even more." Assembly Member Nick Perry, "The Governor's Vital Brooklyn program has provided the Governor a great opportunity to champion a vital need of Brooklyn's most vulnerable communities. This second round of funding will sustain a critical program that is bringing healthy foods to the children and adults that need it most. The Mobile Markets program is a great success and I am glad to see it funded even further." Assembly Member Latrice Walker said, "I applaud the Governor for announcing the awardees for the second round of the Vital Brooklyn initiative's Mobile Markets Grants. I hope to see these three organizations work with local partners to provide quality, nutritious meals to our communities and schools. This is a step in the right direction to increase access to healthy food options and putting an end to food deserts in the Brownsville, East New York, and East Flatbush communities." Assembly Member Jaime Williams said, "Mobile Market farms provide tools and innovative solutions that allow the enjoyment and sustenance that comes from eating healthy fresh foods and enjoying nature's bounty. The need to have healthy fresh alternatives should not be a privilege but a right and thanks to the Governor's Vital Brooklyn Initiative; residents of Brooklyn can enjoy this bountiful assorted fresh foods and vegetables. Farming and agriculture are a cornerstone and backbone of New York State's economy. The introduction of new markets allows for our farming industry to once again begin to grow. The Governor's Vital Brooklyn Program and Mobile Market's Grant protects this most important industry and those invested in it such as our NY State Farmers." Assembly Member Tremaine Wright, "It has been a high priority for Gov. Cuomo, myself and several of my colleague in State government to increase access to fresh, nutritious foods for our residents in Central Brooklyn. I'm proud and pleased to announce the award of these funds, which will expand our mobile markets and improve the lives of many seniors, children and families. We know that everything from health to school performance can be affected by the quality and quantity of food that we eat. These mobile markets make a real difference by delivering meals and fresh products to help our residents, of all ages, enjoy improved health and enhanced quality of life." The Governor's Vital Brooklyn Initiative is a new holistic initiative that focuses on eight integrated areas of improvement, including healthy food. Vital Brooklyn serves the following Central Brooklyn neighborhoods: Bedford Stuyvesant, Brownsville, Bushwick, Canarsie, Crown Heights, Cypress Hills/Ocean Hill, East Flatbush, East New York, Prospect Heights, and Prospect Lefferts Gardens. Since the launch of Vital Brooklyn, New York State has invested nearly $2 million in new programs and initiatives to increase access to nutritious food in Central Brooklyn. These programs include the mobile markets program, food insecurity screening for seniors, youth run farmers' markets, community gardens, and a food distribution hub siting study.

Governor Cuomo Signs Legislation to Protect Veterans from Scammers and Unscrupulous Business Practices

Aug. 23, 2019

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed legislation (S.4807/A.6292) to protect veterans from scammers and unscrupulous businesses who attempt to sell unneeded financial products or services to veterans to earn a commission or fee. The Pension Poaching Prevention Act prohibits any entity from receiving compensation for helping veterans and their dependents prepare a claim for benefits services that the entity is not authorized to provide, except as allowed under the United States Department of Veterans Affairs standards. The bill will take effect 120 days after becoming law. "Our veterans bravely put their lives on the line to protect our country and our freedoms, and we owe it to them to help ensure they have the protections and resources they need to be financially stable in the future," Governor Cuomo said. "There are plenty of business that legitimately assist veterans and their families. However, there are far too many bad actors who prey upon the individuals who have valiantly served our state and our nation, causing irreparable financial harm. In enacting the strongest state legislation in the nation to protect our veterans and their families from these pension poaching schemes, we are sending a clear message to these unscrupulous entities that we will not allow them to abuse our service members and recognizing the sacrifice these brave men and women have made." Pension poaching is a growing scam nationwide involving unscrupulous financial planners, insurance agents or other entities who target elderly and disabled veterans. These unethical entities claim they are assisting veterans and their families obtain benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, but in fact they are often convincing veterans to reposition their assets to qualify for benefits they are not eligible for and which have specific and strict qualifications. The poachers then often sell the veteran's unneeded financial products or services to earn a commission or fee. These brokers typically fail to deliver on their promise of benefits, do not provide full information about other veterans' benefits and do not reveal the potentially adverse consequences of the financial transactions, such as loss of Medicaid eligibility. The Pension Poaching Prevention Act puts several provisions in place to protect veterans and their families. This legislation makes it illegal to receive compensation for assisting with the preparation of a claim and prohibits these entities from charging unreasonable fees for services and guaranteeing that an individual will receive a specific amount of veterans' benefits money, a dishonest tactic that pension poachers commonly employ. In addition, the legislation requires that entities offering these services inform veterans and their families that the New York State Division of Veterans' Services and their local Veterans Service Agencies can provide free services regarding Veterans' benefits. Senator David Carlucci said, "This legislation which I sponsored with Assemblyman Mosley will crackdown on the despicable crime of pension poaching by preventing scammers from profiting off a veteran's service. Veterans are heroes who have served our country selflessly to defend our freedoms. Now it's our turn to help protect them from scam artists who seek to steal their hard earned money. Thank you Governor Cuomo for signing this needed legislation into law." Assembly Member Walter T. Mosley said, "I am proud to have sponsored the strongest state legislation in the nation in an effort to protect our veterans and their families. As such, I commend the Governor for signing the Poaching Prevention Act. As the son and grandson of veterans, I have always felt a deep connection to our women and men who have and currently serve in our armed forces. Many fellow New Yorkers who made the great sacrifice of serving and putting our country before their friends, families, and personal safety. Just as they have done time and time again, it is time for us to ensure that they have the protections and resources they need to be financially secure. It is our turn to ensure that our great state will protect our veterans so they won't have to worry about their financial security being attacked." Division of Veterans' Service Director Jim McDonough said, "I applaud the signing of The Pension Poaching Prevention Act by Governor Cuomo, which provides some of strongest fiscal protections in the nation for Veterans and their families. Now, those that served and call New York home will know that their earned benefits will be protected from those who would take advantage of them." Governor Cuomo has been a champion in protecting the rights of the nearly 750,000 veterans living in New York State. Under his administration, New York has enacted the nation's largest fund for service-disabled veteran-owned businesses, certifying 621 businesses to date; partnered with the federal Department of Veteran Affairs to reduce the backlog of benefit claims; launched the Justice for Heroes Initiative to fund legal clinics at law schools that provide assistance to veterans; provided funding for nonprofits that provide peer-to-peer help for veterans and their families; and waived the application fee for veterans taking Civil Service exams.

Governor Cuomo Announces Transformational Projects for Downtown Brooklyn as Part of $10 Million Downtown Revitalization Initiative Award

Aug. 1, 2019

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced six transformational projects for Downtown Brooklyn as part of the $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative award. The strategic investments in Downtown Brooklyn will build upon the area's role as one of the most dynamic, rapidly evolving areas of New York City, a symbol of urban resurgence, and a vital business, residential, cultural, civic, and transportation center. The investments are part of the Governor's ongoing efforts to revitalize the economy and create more opportunities for New York City. "This investment reflects our commitment to Brooklyn's continued growth and enhanced quality of life for residents and visitors alike," Governor Cuomo said. "Downtown Brooklyn's transformation into a hub for culture, entertainment and economic opportunity is a remarkable success story, and the DRI will ensure that the trend continues." "The transformation of Downtown Brooklyn and the Navy Yard has been a catalyst for growth and job creation, and we are committed to building on that progress," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, who made today's announcement. "With funding from the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, significant projects to improve walkability and safety will better connect Downtown Brooklyn and the Navy Yard to surrounding neighborhoods. These efforts will help to improve quality of life and advance momentum for continued investment and growth." Downtown Brooklyn was named a DRI Round 3 winner in October 2018. Downtown Brooklyn is the borough's central business district, as well as its civic, cultural, transit and employment hub. With more than 12,000 residential units, 20 million square feet of occupied offices, 11 higher education institutions, and new retail and entertainment destinations, the area has been transformed into a 24/7 community. Downtown Brooklyn has become an urban center for the information technology, arts, and entertainment industries. To reap the full benefits of Downtown Brooklyn's recent economic growth, the DRI effort will spur investment in much needed critical infrastructure in the Downtown core to create welcoming and safe connections to key neighborhood assets, ensure equitable and accessible future growth, and improve the wellbeing and job opportunities in traditionally underserved communities. Jumpstarted by the DRI investment, Downtown Brooklyn will improve the public spaces and physical connections to the neighborhoods by extending educational and entrepreneurial opportunities and linking cultural hubs of the Downtown core, the Brooklyn Cultural Districts, DUMBO, and surrounding communities. The specific projects to be funded through the DRI include: Improve Streetscapes and Pedestrian Safety along Tillary, Navy, and Park Corridors: Create pedestrian-friendly streetscapes along the Tillary, Navy, and Park corridors, addressing the enduring impact on a formerly cohesive neighborhood of the construction of the Brooklyn Queens Expressway, by reconnecting the communities surrounding Commodore Barry Park and the Brooklyn Navy Yard with Downtown Brooklyn, DUMBO, the BAM Cultural District, and other nearby destinations. This project will result in safe pedestrian crossings on St. Edwards Street and at the intersection of Tillary and Navy Street, with potential improvements including improved traffic configurations, wayfinding signs, bike lanes, seating, planters and drainage systems. Transform Walt Whitman Library into a Modern Community Hub: Renovate and expand outdated program space at a historic Brooklyn Public Library Branch to support job training and community programming, providing flexible spaces responsive to the way patrons use a public library in the 21st Century. The upgrades to the interior of the 7,000-squarefoot facility include demolition and relocation of the circulation desk, renovation of the community room, floor replacement, furniture upgrades, shelving improvements, electrical upgrades, and improved layout of the children's, teen, and adult sections and new mezzanine spaces. Upgrade Commodore Barry Park with Better Access and Modern Play Spaces: Build on recent and pending improvements to Brooklyn's oldest neighborhood park with improved access and modern play spaces, supporting the space's routine use as a prominent community gathering place and hub of cultural activity. Create a Digital Tech Center at the Ingersoll Community Center: Transform the Ingersoll Community Center's multi-purpose conference space into a full digital lab and gathering space to support new job readiness and arts programming. DRI funding will be used to relocate the center's server room and purchase computer equipment and furniture. Improve Accessibility to the Brooklyn Navy Yard: Reconstruct the Brooklyn Navy Yard's Cumberland Street Gate to improve sight-lines, enable multi-model access, and create a safer environment for pedestrians. The project will enhance connectivity to this prominent and growing commercial, employment, and community anchor area. Create a Public Art and Placemaking Fund: Establish a grant program focused on public art, placemaking, and cultural access to create new opportunities for local artists and cultural organizations to expand their reach to residents, workers, and visitors. Potential projects include large-scale art and placemaking installations and ADA capital improvements to public cultural spaces such as assisted listening devices, and accessible ticket counters, doors and ramps. Downtown Brooklyn developed a Strategic Investment Plan to revitalize its downtown with $300,000 in planning funds from the $10 million DRI grant. A Local Planning Committee made up of municipal representatives, community leaders, and other stakeholders led the effort, supported by a team of private sector experts and state planners. The Strategic Investment Plan for Downtown Brooklyn examined local assets and opportunities and identified economic development, transportation, housing, and community projects that align with the community's vision for downtown revitalization and that are poised for implementation. The DRI projects are the latest example of Governor Cuomo's ongoing commitment to Brooklyn and New York City. New York State Secretary of State Rossana Rosado said, "Downtown Brooklyn is ready for great things. Governor Cuomo's Downtown Revitalization Initiative delivers smart, useful investments to communities throughout the state that lead to further investment and growth. This is a proud day for the entire Borough and I am excited for the projects about to launch." Empire State Development President, CEO & Chairman Howard Zemsky said, "Brooklyn is more than a borough - it's now an international brand, attracting both tourists and expanding companies. Through targeted investments in placemaking, open space and community amenities, these projects will help continue Downtown Brooklyn's revitalization." New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, "Governor Cuomo's Downtown Revitalization Initiative puts spending power directly in the hands of the community. Here in Downtown Brooklyn, there is a great need for targeted, publicly-driven investment. The projects selected for funding complement the Governor's wide-reaching housing and health initiative - Vital Brooklyn. Since 2011, we have invested more than $2 billion in the borough, resulting in the production or preservation of more than 15,000 affordable apartments." Assembly Member Joseph R. Lentol said, "I am extremely proud and excited for our community today. Thanks to Governor Cuomo's Downtown Revitalization Initiative, Brooklyn has a renewed sense of pride. These investments will pay dividends for decades to come and we look forward to seeing the projects come to life." Assembly Member Walter T. Mosley said, "Downtown Brooklyn is a modern-day Cinderella story. It was once a place where not many people ventured but today it has become one of the strongest local economies in New York. Brooklyn is thriving and with initiatives such as the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, we will continue to thrive. Downtown Brooklyn is not only ready, willing, and able but eager to begin our next chapter in solidifying ourselves as the premier location in the city for both businesses and New Yorkers." Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon said, "Brooklyn will greatly benefit from these projects via the Downtown Revitalization Initiative. They will beautify our streetscapes and show the world what we have to offer. This is a great day for Brooklyn." New York City Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chairs Cheryl A. Moore, President & COO of the New York Genome Center, and Winston Fisher, Partner of Fisher Brothers, said, "Brooklyn's rapid growth has helped grow our city's economy, but we must ensure all members of the community have the opportunity to succeed. Downtown Brooklyn's DRI projects develop the infrastructure that enables equitable growth opportunities for the neighborhood, as well as creating public assets for all New Yorkers to enjoy." "I thank Lieutenant Governor Hochul and the New York City REDC for their leadership in their Downtown Revitalization Initiative. Thanks to the State's $10M DRI award that we secured for Downtown Brooklyn, we've been able to develop a plan focused on improving the livability and connectivity of our borough's downtown core. Our community visioning process has also helped us produce projects that prioritize the arts, accessibility, and workforce development, as well as street safety for local residents crossing from their homes to job at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. As I've said over and over, the popularity of our borough must translate into prosperity for all Brooklynites, and these investments will further that mission," said Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams. City Council Member Stephen T. Levin said, "Downtown Brooklyn is a community that deserves and needs smart planning to ensure residents and businesses are welcome for generations to come. These investments do just that. Thanks to Governor Cuomo's Downtown Revitalization Initiative, the neighborhood will see projects come to fruition that make a positive difference." For more information on the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, go to: www.ny.gov/programs/downtown-revitalization-initiative.