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Op-Ed: We Need a Plan So People Won’t Be Left Behind

Council Candidate Yi (Andy) Chen campaigning in Jackson Heights (Photo: Instagram @voteyichen2021)

June 21, 2021 By: Yi (Andy) Chen, Candidate For City Council District 25

The COVID 19 pandemic that broke out last year has been devastating. With Elmhurst and Jackson Heights being the epicenter of the epicenter, we were doubly hit.

Too many lives have been lost due to COVID 19, millions of jobs gone, small businesses going out of business, even more people going homeless.

With the need so great, my neighbors, my friends and I have gathered every resource we can to deliver food to those who are hungry, delivering medicine to our seniors and donating masks, gloves, gowns, whatever our first responders needed to continue to save lives, including their own lives.

But that was not enough. As the most diverse communities in Jackson Heights and Elmhurst have come together, our government has not. Due to the city and the country’s lack of preparedness and communication, lives have been unnecessarily lost. This is unacceptable.

During a time of crisis, we need real leadership and accountability from all levels of government. This is why I chose to run for city council.

NYC District 25 Council Candidate Yi (Andy) Chen (Photo: YiChenForNewYork)

As your next council member, I would commission a comprehensive, transparent and inclusive report to make recommendations and prepare our communities and our city for the next outbreak.

I would also fund new hospitals and community heath centers to ensure local residents have close access to the Healthcare they need, regardless of their immigration status. Healthcare and access to it is a human right.

Then there’s the economy, which the pandemic wreaked havoc on. Governmental financial assistance will eventually end and we need to do everything we can to create new jobs and support small businesses so people can rebuild their lives, stronger.

Additional priorities of mine within the district are:

Education

We need to build more schools. Our district is short 6,000 school seats. Everyday thousands of families have to send their children outside of the district to go to school. I would also work to bring gifted and talented programs into every school and every grade level. Our children are our future leaders and they need all the tools to succeed in a fast changing world.

Housing and Homelessness

We need to stop warehousing the homeless. The homeless are our neighbors. Over half of the 60,000 plus homeless are women, children and domestic violence victims. The way the city treats the homeless is inhumane. For the cost of housing the homeless in hotels—the city could issue each homeless family a housing voucher, allowing them to choose a neighborhood of their choice to rebuild their lives, provide mental health and workforce training services and still save money. That’s what I intend to do as your next council member.

Public and pedestrian safety

Elmhurst and Jackson Heights is the most diverse district in the country and one of the most dense. Governmental agencies alone will not solve hate crimes nor will they alone make the streets safer. I would bring to the table local stakeholders and local residents from all walks of life, to work on a plan to address these issues. It needs to be inclusive, transparent, in different languages and culturally sensitive.

I can go on and on what our district needs. Change needs to start immediately. But I can not do this alone. I need the voters of our district to go out to vote on Tuesday, June 22nd, Primary Day, to make their voices heard, that enough is enough. We need to take care of all the people, now,  so we can all stand together and move our community and our city forward.

*Yi Andy Chen, is a candidate running for City Council in the 25th District

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