David Aronov has policy plans that he believes will relieve some of the most immediate issues that face the Bukharian Jewish community and the larger population of central Queens in City Council District 29.
When Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz is term limited with the majority of the 51 members in 2021, Aronov plans to take this seat and despite being 24 years old, he’s not without experience or name recognition.
“The Bukharian immigrant community has been here for the most part for over 30 years, came in 1991 after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and we’ve never had an elected official,” Aronov said. “People tried in 2009 and 2010, but they weren’t successful.”
Aronov spent seven years working in the office of Karen Koslowitz, but for the last few months he has been organizing the effort to get an accurate count for the 2020 Census. On the subject of numbers, there 60,000 or so Bukharian Jews in the district, spanning Forest Hills, Rego Park and Briarwood. But there is also a massive senior population at risk.
According to Aronov, the cost of housing keeps going up while incomes remain stagnant and transit is a perennial issue for the disabled. “Stress-a-ride,” officially known as Access-a-Ride, could be better managed by the city rather than at the state level by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Aronov said.
“We need to completely revamp the system. Maybe that means municipal control of Access-a-Ride … I know there’s a proposal to take municipal control of New York City Transit, but Access-a-Ride is something that we could do pretty quick because we have [the NYC Taxi & Limousine Commission] right here in the city; it won’t take a million years to do this.”
Some of Aronov’s policy proposals look to expand on existing policies such as building upon Universal Pre-K and making childcare under the age of three available to all New Yorkers. Under Aronov’s policy, the cost of childcare would be capped at 7 percent of their income. The cap would only be for parents making above the 200 percent federal poverty line and the rest would be free
Although Universal Pre-K is a de Blasio administration hallmark, Aronov says the policy he hopes to propose will be modeled after one by Senator Elizabeth Warren during her presidential run. Aronov was a delegate for her campaign.
“I like having plans and ideas and not just throwing out empty rhetoric and running just to run,” Aronov said. “There are real issues that people face and if you’re going to be in office and not try to solve them, you may as well not run at all.”
Aronov grew up in Briarwood; his parents migrated from Uzbekistan in 1991 much like many Bukharians. At Queens Gateway To Health Sciences Secondary School, Aronov pushed for higher standards in the school administration which led to the city Department of Education stepping in on matters. Later at Hunter College he would be involved in student advocacy for a tuition freeze.
The citywide elections are just 11 months away with 41 out of 59 elected offices being up for grabs.