Op-ed: Commonsense Solutions for Northeast Queens

Photo provided by Suozzi campaign
Suozzi campaign

In my congressional race to replace George Santos on Feb. 13, I have emphasized the need to move beyond partisan finger-pointing and address the real problems people face. At the national level, that means bipartisan solutions on immigration, the cost of living, climate, Israel, Ukraine, and so much more. In Northeast Queens, there are local issues that I would like to weigh in on.

Creedmoor Housing Development:

In December, New York State released a plan to build almost 3,000 housing units on the site of the Creedmoor Psychiatric Center. That’s too big! Community Board 13 responded by recommending 1,000 units, saying that is “a more appropriate number that would mesh in the community without vastly changing it.” This is a great opportunity for New York State, New York City, and the local community to work in good faith on a commonsense way to increase our housing stock without negatively impacting the character of the neighborhood. I’ve been supporting commonsense housing policies for decades. I’ve advocated for a comprehensive, multi-billion-dollar State plan to build affordable homes in a way that doesn’t overburden any one community like Queens Village. I’ve also opposed ill-advised plans to force Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) into our communities.

Congestion Pricing:

New York State is in the process of implementing a fee to drive into Midtown and Downtown Manhattan. The fee is meant to reduce pollution and generate revenue to fund public transit. I support the “concept” of congestion pricing, but we need to do it the right way. In 2022, when inflation was at its peak, I was one of the first people to call for congestion pricing to be delayed. Now, we must focus on implementing it in a way that protects small businesses, people who need to drive into Manhattan for work, and those who make less than $75,000-$100,000 per year. We also need to make sure that the revenue generated is earmarked for the LIRR and improved public transportation for communities like ours. This is a priority as the details of congestion pricing are finalized.

Local Law 97:

Climate change is real and we must address it, but we can’t bankrupt co-op and condo homeowners in doing so. Local Law 97, with its unforgiving timelines and heavy fines, would endanger the housing security of families who have invested their life savings into their co-ops and condos. We can’t afford for our government to be so punitive in its approach. City Council Members Linda Lee and Sandra Ung, with the support of Council Member Vickie Paladino, have offered a smart, balanced solution that would ease the financial burdens facing homeowners without sacrificing meaningful emissions reductions. I commend them for their responsible, collaborative approach.

As a candidate to represent you in Congress, I feel that it is my obligation to tell you where I stand on the issues affecting you. My opponent, on the other hand, has not told us where she stands on any issues. She has turned down almost every invitation to appear at public forums that are not choreographed by her Republican Party bosses. She has only agreed to participate in one debate that will take place after early voting has already started, and that debate won’t even be viewable by people in Queens!

You deserve a Member of Congress who will be transparent and who will fight for the sorts of commonsense reforms I have laid out. When I return to Congress, I will work every day to secure funding for our district and build a more resilient Queens community.