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Queens assemblyman officially launches campaign for New York City Comptroller

Assemblyman David Weprin (QNS/File)

Queens Assemblyman David Weprin on Sunday, Nov. 6 declared his candidacy for the office of New York City Comptroller in 2021. 

Weprin, a Democrat, has represented the 24th Assembly District since 2010, when he was elected in a special election. The seat was once held by his brother, Mark Weprin, and before that his father, Saul Weprin, the former speaker of the Assembly. 

Weprin is a lifelong Queens resident and is the only candidate from the borough running to become the city’s next comptroller.  

His campaign is focusing on protecting New Yorkers as the city stares down the years of economic recovery due to the COVID-19 pandemic, protecting seniors, pensioners, working and middle-class families and immigrants. 

“We have not reached the end of the public health crisis created by COVID-19. When we do, the economic damage will be like nothing the city has ever seen before,” Weprin said. “I’m running to be our next comptroller to ensure that as we build back, the city’s budget is not balanced on the backs of working and middle-class New Yorkers. As the only candidate with the experience we need in our city’s chief financial officer and fiscal watchdog, I will deliver meaningful results to protect New Yorkers.” 

As comptroller, Weprin’s agenda would include:

  • Fighting to protect retirees and pensioners, and ensure their retirement is protected.
  • Making sure New Yorkers living on fixed incomes don’t have to choose between paying their rent, buying groceries or affording their medication.
  • Fighting to build affordable housing using the city’s $229 billion investment portfolio to partner with the private sector to incentivize affordable housing construction that would have previously been unprofitable to build.
  • Fixing the MTA’s fiscal house, while also fighting for more public transportation options for the New Yorkers.
  • Ensuring a thorough and continuous auditing and investigating of NYCHA to ensure the health and safety of residents and the proper use of tax dollars.
  • Using the powers of the Comptroller’s Office to ensure the Department of Education is giving children the best possible education, from the cutting-edge technology they need to succeed to making sure schools reflect the city’s diversity.
  • Helping small businesses grow and succeed, creating a Red-Tape Reduction Commission and eliminating fees, fines and regulations.
  • Eliminating the roadblocks to success standing in the way of too many of the city’s ethnic and racial minorities.
  • Creating a New American, Diversity & Inclusion Task Force to examine and correct the shortcomings regarding access to capital and financial services for underserved communities.
  • Pushing to implement policies aimed at reducing the negative effects of climate change, especially in communities that were hard hit during Hurricane Sandy.

This is not Weprin’s first attempt to win the office of the chief fiscal officer of New York City, who is charged with overseeing city spending, approving city contracts, and serving as fiduciary to the $200 billion-plus pension funds, among other duties.  

In 2009, he lost his bid for comptroller, finishing fourth in the race. Now-state Sen. John Liu had won the contest. 

Weprin is currently chair of the New York State Assembly’s Committee on Correction, where he has championed critical legislation reforming the criminal justice system. 

In the running for comptroller, Weprin is the only candidate with the necessary municipal financial experience, having balanced the city’s budget as chair of the City Council’s Finance Committee for eight years.He guided the city’s finances through the post-9/11 recession and the 2008 recession. 

Previously, in his public service career, Gov. Andrew Cuomo appointed Weprin to serve as the Deputy Superintendent of Banks and Secretary of the Banking Board for New York state, where he was a watchdog of nearly $2 trillion. He regulated more than $3,000 financial institutions and financial service firms in New York state, including international banking institutions, mortgage brokers and mortgage bankers. 

Beyond his comprehensive public finance experience, Weprin has authored some of Albany’s most progressive legislation, including laws that have helped seniors, children, low-income families, veterans and small businesses. He authored the Adoptee Bill of Rights, the Religious Garb Bill protecting religious minorities, and in one of the most gratifying moments of his career, Weprin served as a key vote and supporter of New York’s successful passage and enactment into law of Marriage Equality.

Weprin has already earned the endorsements of a diverse group of the city’s leading elected officials and labor organizations. His supporters include Queens lawmakers such as Assemblywoman-elect Jennifer Rajkumar, Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan, Congressman Tom Suozzi, and Council members Peter Koo, Karen Koslowitz and Michael DenDekker. 

“David Weprin has made working New Yorkers and recent immigrants a top priority for years,” Rajkumar said. “He has always worked to build a more inclusive, vibrant New York and I know he will do so as our next comptroller.”

Nolan, who has known and worked with Weprin for many years, holds the assemblyman in high regard for his expertise on budget and finance issues.

“David Weprin is smart, experienced and will always put New York City and its people first,” Nolan said. “As former chair of the education committee in the NYS Assembly, I know David’s commitment to children and their families. He is the right person to help our city at this time of crisis.”

As Weprin has spent his career in public serving fighting for seniors and those in need, Koslowitz said she is lending her support “since David has made it his commitment to fight and protect pensions and the needs of seniors.”

Citing small businesses that are struggling amid the pandemic, Koo said Weprin has a plan to help business owners on Day 1, and has already done “so much to assist local, independent restaurants, giving them a much-needed lifeline when we reopened partial indoor dining.”

Meanwhile, Queens Assemblyman and Speaker Pro Tempore Jeffrion Aubry, said as the next comptroller, Weprin will “continue the fight to lift up all New Yorkers, and improve the lives of those looking to earn a living, raise a family and call New York their home.” 

“As someone who has spent his career fighting to improve the lives of some of our most vulnerable New Yorkers, reform the criminal justice system and provide opportunity for immigrants, I know that I have a partner in David Weprin,” Aubry said. 

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