Kew Gardens resident vying for Council District 29 seat takes pledge to reject corporate donations

Courtesy of Shapiro

Douglas Shapiro, a Kew Gardens resident running to succeed incumbent Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz to represent Council District 29, has pledged to only accept campaign donations from individuals, and turn away those from corporations and special interest groups. 

Shapiro’s campaign is not accepting donations from lobbyists, law firms, fossil fuel companies and real estate firms. He has successfully surpassed his second fund-raising goal of $14,000. By February, Shapiro plans to complete his fund-raising efforts and anticipates a full campaign budget to engage voters.

“I’m the only candidate, as far as I’m aware of, to only pledge to accept contributions from individuals,” Shapiro said. “It’s important because as the next City Council person, we need someone that is listening directly to the people of our community and has the people’s interest at heart and not taking orders from special interest groups.” 

Shapiro is running to represent the constituents of Council District 29 that covers the neighborhoods of Richmond Hill, Kew Gardens, Forest Hills and Rego Park. 

As this year has been challenging for New Yorkers, Shapiro’s platform, ‘Heal Together,’ is concentrated on the root cause of difficult issues constituents face, and not on managing their symptoms, he said. 

“We must heal together: physically, racially, and economically. We must ensure everyone can access free rapid COVID-19 testing within a mile of their home. This virus is not taking days off and neither can we,” Shapiro said. 

Shapiro is a proud product of local public schools P.S. 196, Halsey JHS 157, and Stuyvesant High School. He is a graduate of the University of Delaware and earned an MBA in finance from Northwestern University. He has a history of remedying public sector problems with smart economic solutions. 

At the International Monetary Fund he helped the government of Guinea-Bissau receive technical assistance to reduce inequality. As a federal consultant he helped to make sure that people suffering from food insecurity received their food stamps on time. Shapiro currently advises chief financial officers on how to better run their businesses. 

As a candidate running for City Council, Shapiro said his goal is to ensure that the city has a “moral budget that prioritizes healthcare and education” above everything else. 

“We will only achieve a sustainable, equitable, economic recovery after we defeat the coronavirus,” Shapiro said. “We must demand fiscal equity to ensure more resources go directly into our classrooms, and reduce the student/teacher ratio.”

Shapiro is also calling for an increase in minimum wage to ensure it is a living wage, and restoring funding to sanitation to ensure trash is picked up on time. According to Shapiro, residents are concerned about safety issues around transportation. 

“These are things that are simple fixes that the next city council person will have to take action on immediately, and in order to do that is to develop strong relationships with the DOT so that we’re not taking two years to put up a stop sign or speed bump,” Shapiro said. 

If elected into office, Shapiro has promised constituents that his doors will be open six to seven days a week, both digitally and physically to address their concerns. If they’re unable to come in, he is willing to visit their homes.

“For the last couple of years, the current incumbent has not really been listening to what the people want in our community,” Shapiro said. “We need to be listening to the people and taking action, not taking action and then listening to the people.”