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Op-ed: Creating a rising economic tide for Queens

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City Council member Nantasha Williams. (Photo courtesy of Williams’ office)

When I ran to represent the 27th district in the New York City Council, I promised that, together, we would continue to win for southeast Queens. We, as a community and as a borough, have an opportunity for a real win that can create thousands of good-paying, union jobs and bring in the much-needed revenue to support the programs we need in our City and State. That’s why I am proud to support Resorts World’s effort to compete in the bidding process for a full-scale casino license at their existing facility in Queens.

I trust Resorts World to be a responsible community partner because I have seen firsthand how they operate and how it benefits my constituents. Workers at Resorts World tell me that without them as an employer, these last two years would have been a lot more difficult for them and their families.  Whether they were providing them healthcare through the pandemic, or job opportunities that allowed them to not only survive but thrive as a working family in New York City, Resorts World has demonstrated to me that they can be trusted as a partner in our city’s darkest days.

This is an opportunity for justice, pragmatism and equity in our community. Resorts World is already up and running and has built deep relationships in the community for years and can quickly and seamlessly pivot to a more comprehensive facility that serves tourists, workers and small businesses in our community. Resorts World kept building and delivered a hotel as an engine for jobs, entertainment and community pride when nobody else would have. They spent hundreds of millions on that hotel because they fundamentally believe in Queens and their partnership with the community. They have proven their commitment through their relief efforts for the victims of Hurricane Sandy and again recently with Hurricane Ida. They have kept all of their promises, and the State & City would do well to support friends like Resorts World who are there in both the good and bad times.

Southeast Queens was disproportionately harmed by the pandemic. With Resorts World, we can build a better future with an intentional recovery that puts community first. If Resorts World’s location in Queens was granted an expanded license, it would directly create hundreds of good-paying union jobs in an area that needs it most. Indirectly, the attraction of such a gaming facility would bring countless people to the area, lifting up small businesses that have been struggling to survive. This plan has received the support of the new Speaker of the City Council, Adrienne Adams, the Hotel and Gaming Trades Council, the Queens Chamber of Commerce, and many other elected officials and community groups that all share the same interest: creating a rising economic tide for Queens.

Supporting Resorts World in their bid means greater opportunities for the community. I spent my campaign talking to as many people as possible in the district and listening to the issues that mattered to them. The through-line was clear: quality of life and good jobs matters most. If we are to ensure that our agencies have the resources they need to improve the quality of life for New York City residents, we need to ensure that they have the revenue they need to operate. Beyond the economic growth generated by the hundreds of jobs that Resorts World will create, their operations will also generate hundreds of millions in additional revenue for the state, which means better schools, better services, and safer streets. I think we can all get behind that.

Resorts World has proven itself as a true advocate of Queens through its support of neighborhood organizations, as a trustworthy employer to its workers and as a staunch supporter of the economic future of our city. If we can create hundreds of good-paying union jobs and significant additional revenue for the State, we should unequivocally support Resorts World’s bid for a full-scale casino license.

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