Progressive Caucus Announces New Leadership Team

The Progressive Caucus of the New York City Council announced new leadership for the 2014-2017 legislative session today. The five officers were determined by majority vote of the Progressive Caucus members, and are as follows:

  • Co-Chairs: Council Member Donovan Richards (CC 31, Queens) and Council Member Antonio Reynoso (CC 34, Brooklyn)
  • Vice-Chair for Policy: Council Member Ben Kallos (CC 5, Manhattan)
  • Vice-Chair for Budget Advocacy: Council Member Helen Rosenthal (CC 6, Manhattan)
  • Treasurer: Council Member Margaret Chin (CC 1, Manhattan)

“I am extremely honored to have been chosen by my colleagues to Co-Chair the Progressive Caucus,” said Council Member Donovan Richards.  “I would like to thank them for entrusting me to help fight for a more just New York City. I look forward to working with the Caucus to ensure New York City is more equitable, sustainable, and just.”

“I am honored to serve as the Co-Chair of the Progressive Caucus alongside Council Member Richards,” said Council Member Antonio Reynoso. “I am confident that the partnership with my colleagues in the Caucus will produce real solutions and promote a progressive focus at the City Council.”

“I look forward to working with the Progressive Caucus to advance a bold and innovative agenda so the city serves every New Yorker, no matter what background or neighborhood,” said Council Member Ben Kallos. “Through collaboration and with input from all members, the policies of the Progressive Caucus will translate into better education and jobs, more affordable housing, and greater government accountability.”

“I’m honored to be a part of the Progressive Caucus leadership team as Vice-Chair for Budget Advocacy,” said Council Member Helen Rosenthal. “During this time of progressive leadership, every dollar in the City’s budget should be allocated with a lens towards reducing income inequality. I look forward to bringing that perspective to this new position.”

“It’s an honor to serve as Treasurer of the Progressive Caucus,” said Council Member Margaret Chin. “I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure our resources build up a stronger New York City with greater opportunity and access for all.”

The Progressive Caucus was founded in 2010 with the goals of creating a more just and equal New York City, combating all forms of discrimination, and advancing public policies that offer genuine opportunity to all New Yorkers, especially those who have been left out of our society’s prosperity.

During the 2010-2013 legislative session, Council Members Brad Lander and Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito served as Co-Chairs and Council Member Julissa Ferreras served as Treasurer.

“We’re thankful to the outgoing leadership team and to the founding members of the Progressive Caucus for their vision and guidance over the last legislative session,” said Co-Chairs Donovan Richards and Antonio Reynoso. “Our city is moving towards a stronger, more united future as a result of their continued leadership. We look forward to continuing to build on the foundation that has been laid and strive to emulate their dedication to the principles of the Progressive Caucus.”

The newly expanded Progressive Caucus has added two Vice-Chair positions this session in order to better amplify and build on the policy and advocacy work of the Caucus, as articulated in the founding Statement of Principles and the “13 Bold Ideas” policy platform. The members look forward to partnering with all of their colleagues in the City Council to advance the mutual goal of city that works for all New Yorkers.

The complete list of Progressive Caucus members will be released later this month.

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Progressive Caucus Congratulates Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito

The Progressive Caucus of the New York City Council is proud to congratulate
Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito on her election as the next Speaker of the New York City Council. As the Co-Chair of the Progressive Caucus, Melissa has been a consistent voice for those most in need — of a good job, of a safe place to sleep, of a quality school. We are confident that as City Council Speaker, Melissa Mark-Viverito will lead our body in a progressive, transparent, and independent direction to deliver for New Yorkers.

The Progressive Caucus was formed to build power on the inside for New York’s working families and make their priorities the City Council’s priorities. Recent victories guaranteeing paid sick days for a million more New York workers and ending discriminatory policing showed that we could make lasting change. With Melissa’s election, that progressive change will become the central goal of the City Council. She is a woman of conviction and will be a fair leader who governs for all New Yorkers and gives all of our communities a voice.

Congratulations to Melissa and her family, her supporters and constituents, and New York’s progressive community. We were proud to cast our votes today and look forward to working with you to build a more just and equitable New York City.

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Must Read: A Bold Progressive Vision for the New York City Council (Really!)

Check out Progressive Caucus Co-Chair Brad Lander’s recent article in The Nation as a part of their recent special issue on New York City. He lays out our big plans to grow the Progressive Caucus and advance public policies that will help make New York a more equal, inclusive, democratic city in the years to come.

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Progressive Caucus Applauds Paid Sick Leave Agreement

The New York City Council Progressive Caucus applauds today’s agreement on legislation to provide Paid Sick Leave to over one million additional New Yorkers. The Paid Sick Leave bill has been a top priority of the Progressive Caucus since our founding three years ago and we were proud to be a part of the broad progressive coalition that led the fight.

We want to congratulate the entire Paid Sick Days coalition, including the Working Families Party, A Better Balance, Make the Road, SEIU, the Central Labor Council, New York Communities for Change and of course the bill’s lead sponsor, Council Member Gale Brewer.  The coalition — through innumerable rallies, petitions, neighborhood meetings and studies — demonstrated the kinds of grassroots organizing that is needed to bring about a more inclusive New York City.

It is no secret that Paid Sick Leave was a contentious issue.  The revised legislation is a strong bill that will make it easier for small businesses to implement the law and there will continue to be studies and safeguards to ensure that the legislation is working. We thank Speaker Quinn for moving this legislation forward.

We still have a long way to go to improve job quality and working conditions for low-wage workers in New York City. We proposed a number of ideas in our new policy platform, 13 Bold Ideas for 2013 (13boldideas.org). Paid Sick Leave is just one of many important steps in the fight for fairer working conditions, and we will keep working and organizing.

To stay involved in our work, sign up here, follow @NYCProgressives on Twitter, and like our Facebook page.

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Massive Mobilization Against Gun Violence

When: Thursday, March 21 at 4:30 PM

Where: Harlem State Office Building, 163 West 125th Street off Adam Clayton Powell Blvd. (7th Ave.), New York City

New York Voices Against Gun Violence, a broad, newly-formed coalition of advocates, victims, youth organizations, healthcare workers, unions, elected officials, faith leaders and artists, announced today that they will hold a massive mobilization to promote the NY SAFE Act as a model for legislation at the federal level and in other states. Thousands of people will gather in New York City, and others will speak out across the state, to focus attention on the human toll of the gun violence that is plaguing our nation on a daily basis. The coalition includesMoms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, Harlem Mothers S.A.V.E., New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, Doctors for America – NY State Chapter, 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, Million Moms March and many other groups.

The coalition strongly supports the NY SAFE Act’s common sense protections, such as mental health and criminal background checks, tougher restrictions on assault weapons, limits on high-capacity ammunition and measures to keep guns out of schools. The NY SAFE Act, which was signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo last month, is designed to prevent the kinds of mass shootings plaguing our nation such as the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in which 20 children and seven adults were killed.

The Act will also help reduce the gun violence that has devastated families and communities in New York’s urban centers. There is new urgency to defend the NY SAFE Act as big weapons companies and the gun lobby have tried to build opposition and challenges to the law.

As the debate about gun violence continues throughout our nation, advocates say this massive effort will demonstrate the strong grassroots support for more common sense laws that protect children, families and communities.

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More Transparency for Money in Politics

The Progressive Caucus of the New York City Council stands in support of New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s proposed campaign disclosure requirements for nonprofit organizations that spend money to influence elections in our state. As we approach the third anniversary of the infamous Citizens United Supreme Court decision this Sunday, we are reminded of the urgency of measures like this one, which will bring much-needed transparency to the “dark money” that is increasingly influencing the outcome of our elections.

The Attorney General’s proposal would require all tax exempt organizations in New York State (except 501(c)(3) organizations which are already prohibited from engaging in partisan activity) to disclose what percentage of their expenditures are used for the purposes of local, state and federal electioneering. Those nonprofits that spend more than $10,000 on state and local elections will be required to file an itemized schedule of campaign expenditures and contributions. The regulations are primarily aimed at 501(c)(4) organizations, which according to the Attorney General’s office, exceeded traditional political action committee spending in the last two election cycles.

These regulations, coupled with a renewed push for a statewide campaign finance program, which Governor Cuomo has pledged to champion this year, will help make New York State a leader in efforts to stem the tide of big corporate dollars in our elections, even as the national movement for a constitutional amendment that would overturn Citizens United continues to grow.

If the 2012 election taught us anything, it’s that even the most outrageous spending from SuperPACs cannot completely silence the voice of the people. Still, we must do all we can at the local, state and national level to shine daylight on “dark money,” and we thank Attorney General Schneiderman for his courageous stance on this issue.

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Fast Food Forward: Sign the Petition

fast food forward

In America, people who work hard should be able to afford basic necessities like groceries, rent, childcare and transportation.

While fast food corporations reap the benefits of record profits, workers are barely getting by—many are forced to be on public assistance despite having a job.

Raising pay for fast food workers will benefit workers and strengthen the overall economy. That’s why the Progressive Caucus is standing with workers and asking that you sign the petition in support of higher wages.

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