Micro businesses are the backbone of our local economy and major job creators in our neighborhoods. More than two-thirds of Queens businesses have fewer than five employees and 84% have fewer than 10 employees; immigrant entrepreneurs operate 69% of businesses here. Often times, entrepreneurs start and operate their own businesses because they lack access to traditional employment, educational and economic opportunities. However, rising rent and costs of doing business have burdened our small business owners and created vacant and shuttered storefronts throughout Queens. Local entrepreneurs also need access to an educated workforce, competitive financing, new national and international markets and less red tape.
Make Global Trade Work For Americans
Today’s global economy reflects a growing economic interdependence that is kindled by cross-border trade, investment, and the flow of information, technology, and people. We no longer just buy and sell products across country borders, we also source, design, build products with global partners. We need trade policies that maximize the success of our local small business exporters in global markets to encourage business expansions and job growth at home. Our local economy must attract new capital, not recycle the same dollars, so that we can build wealth in our neighborhoods. We need to place strong labor human rights and environmental protections at the forefront of the conversation ---not as an afterthought. America must remain a global trade leader.
Clean Energy Industry
We need to take action now to address the climate crisis in order to save our planet from irreversible damage and achieve greater economic and environmental justice. We need to pass policies like the Green New Deal that provide us the blueprint to get there. That means pivoting our energy system away from fossil fuels and into sustainable energy resources like solar and wind energy. We need to ensure that the people in our communities understand the economic and environmental benefits of clean energy and have access to emerging job opportunities in this sector.
Medicare for All
No family should have to choose between going to the doctor or making their mortgage payment, or be forced into bankruptcy because of a medical emergency. Unfortunately, that is the reality many people face today, especially in our district: close to 15% of our neighbors have no health coverage at all, some of the highest numbers in the city and nation. We need a single-payer healthcare system that provides universal health insurance for all Americans. We can not accept any other substitute. My mother often reminds me that without our health, we have nothing. We have to do better and make sure that our greatest asset, our people, have access to the healthcare providers to serve as the bedrock of our local communities.
Housing as a Right
Not as a Commodity
We need to protect working families who worry about making their rent each month. With wages remaining flat and the cost of living rising, it burdens longtime residents and displaces families who dedicate an increasing share of their income to housing. Homelessness has reached levels not seen since the Great Depression. The root cause, particularly among families, is the lack of affordable housing and accelerating gentrification throughout our district.
Our seniors deserve to retire with financial security and dignity. Unfortunately, living in poverty is a reality that many in our senior population faces. Immigrants comprise nearly half the city’s total senior population and a quarter live in poverty. With costs for housing, food and healthcare on fixed incomes we must put more money in seniors’ pockets, create and preserve affordable housing, and maintain programs that allow them to lead independent living at home. To that end, we must protect and expand Social Security to keep up with the real and rising costs of living and ensure that it remains a stable social safety net for our most vulnerable population.