Congressman Joseph Crowley today unveiled a number of proposals aimed at providing “a better deal” for his Queens constituents.
Crowley announced “A Better Deal for Queens and the Bronx” at Vaughn College of Aeronautic Engineering, Aviation and Technology in East Elmhurst on Jan. 16. Democrats announced their “Better Deal” platform last summer with proposals to provide higher wages and better jobs, lower the cost of living for families, and train Americans for 21st-century jobs.
“It has always been my belief that Americans can do best when their communities are secure and they are strong, when they have the opportunity to seek out the kind of life that they want for themselves,” Crowley said. “And when the American dream is available to all Americans regardless of their background or heritage. That seems more important today than ever. But for far too many families that just simply isn’t the case.”
Crowley represents Congressional District 14, which encompasses parts of East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Corona, Woodside, Astoria and portions of the Bronx.
The proposal he announced is split into 10 sections including better jobs with better wages, better education for all, better and more affordable housing, a better justice system and a better life for seniors.
Dr. Sharon DeVivo, the president of Vaughn College, praised the portion of the proposal that would increase funding for student aid.
“Vaughn’s student population is about 80 percent minority, average family income is $33,000 and without the critical federal dollars that are provided the dream of a degree is just not possible,” she said. “Student aid programs are what help them get there on their way to a degree.”
In the proposal, Crowley has pledged to push for an increase in funding Campus-Based Aid programs. These programs provide low-income students with a mixture of grants, loans and work-study options. In the 2016-17 academic year, nearly 500 students from Congressional District 14 received $659,071. These benefits could reach more students if funding was expanded, the plan argues.
Angel Pineiro Jr., the senior vice president at internet technology management company Agilant Solutions Inc., has hired more than 1,000 entry-level computer repair technicians from Queens and the Bronx. He added that education and on-the-job training can have significant impacts on the “under-served” communities in these boroughs.
“If you want to change the socio-economic status of a community then you need to train a hungry and motivated under-served and under-represented population and if you do that you’re gonna witness a transformation before your very eyes,” he said. “I know first hand of the talent and potential this demographic has.”
To battle school overcrowding, Crowley will introduce legislation to increase federal school construction funding for schools in overcrowded districts. School District 24, which includes Elmhurst and Corona, is the most overcrowded school district in the city.
In order to make living in Queens and the Bronx more affordable, Crowley is introducing the Rent Relief Act, which would provide a tax credit to renters. More than 50 percent of homes in Queens are rented and in the Bronx more than 80 percent of homes are rented.
The plan argues that congress has only focused on introducing policies to help homeowners and that government should now “expand our focus to those who rent.”
He also praised Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi’s Home Stability Support bill, which would focus on helping to keep people in their homes. Last summer, New York City passed legislation to provide legal representation to low-income families facing eviction. Crowley will introduce legislation to encourage cities nationwide to adopt this model.
“The men and women who live in the Bronx and Queens are some of the hardest working individuals on this planet,” he said. “But despite the grit of New Yorkers I see far too many struggling because of Republican policy in Washington that have choked off money for investments in our futures. [A Better Deal for Queens and the Bronx] is a collection of concrete proposals that will make a difference in the everyday lives of our neighborhoods and our communities.”
To read the full list of proposals, click here.