Gotham Gazette Gotham Gazette is an online publication covering New York policy and politics as well as news on public safety, transportation, education, finance and more. http://www.gothamgazette.com/component/tags/tag/carmen-de-la-rosa 2017-12-12T19:41:59+00:00 Webmaster webmaster@gothamgazette.com Adjusting to Albany: Assemblymember Carmen De La Rosa 2017-05-11T04:00:00+00:00 2017-05-11T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6907:adjusting-to-albany-assemblymember-carmen-de-la-rosa Super User <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2017/cndelarosa-5.jpg" alt="cndelarosa 5" width="600" height="588" /></p> <p>Assemblymember Carmen De La Rosa (photo via <a href="https://twitter.com/CnDelarosa" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">@CnDelarosa</a>)</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Born in the Dominican Republic, Carmen De La Rosa immigrated as a child to Inwood, in upper Manhattan, where she was raised and still lives, now with her fiance and daughter. She launched her legislative career in 2007, working for Assemblymember Daniel O’Donnell on the Upper West Side. She later became Democratic female district leader for the 72nd Assembly District and chief of staff to City Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">With the backing of her former boss and Rodriguez’s mentor, then-State Senator Adriano Espaillat, the 30-year-old De La Rosa took on incumbent Assemblyman Guillermo Linares, a longtime rival of Espaillat. During the campaign, she defined herself as a feminist who understands the struggles of working families and immigrants, someone who could break barriers for the upper Manhattan district, which has long been dominated by male leadership. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Now in office, De La Rosa told Gotham Gazette in February that she is looking forward to making a difference in the community she has lived in her whole life, especially given the ascendance of an anti-immigrant Trump administration in Washington, D.C.</span></p> <p><em><b>Gotham Gazette (GG): What was your first few weeks as a state legislator like? How was the orientation? </b></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Carmen De La Rosa (CDLR): It’s been obviously very interesting — and busy — &nbsp;getting to know the budget process and all the components of the budget and how to navigate our communities within that process. Also, learning the basic 101 of the legislative process, in addition to also getting our offices up and running for constituent services. So it definitely feels like longer than a month. But I definitely feel like everyone here is very helpful. There are a lot of people who can assist you with technical issues.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The training was very interesting. We got to meet the incoming class of members on the Assembly side and majority side. It was wonderful because you are able to meet other members from all different part of the state who are coming in with different perspectives, but we have one thing in common, which is we are all new here. We’ve sort of created a bond of helping each other out, because we have similar questions about like where a particular hearing room is, or how to get over to chamber quickly. So it’s been really high pace. It’s definitely a great place to be, coming from the City Council, it’s sort of government on a larger scale, so it’s a welcome challenge for me.</span></p> <p><em><b>GG: How is the commute? Where do you stay? Any favorite restaurants yet?</b></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">CDLR: </span>I’ve been taking the train. I actually am taking the train from the Yonkers stop. So I often either have my husband drop me off and I’ll come up. It’s only two hours and 15 minutes depending on how the rail is going.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It’s really good to come on the train; you get a lot done, a lot of reading and catching up. I really like the train ride actually because you are able to disconnect and sort of just get your footing in before you even come up to Albany. So you do all the reading on what bills are coming up, on committees and all of that. And when I’m coming back into my district work, so what community events are happening and things like that.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">I haven’t found a favorite restaurant yet. We’ve been really busy this session and we had a few late nights with some votes. So I haven’t had much time to go out and explore. I am usually eating in the members lounge or in the cafeteria or the concourse, so I definitely have goals for later on in the session to go out and find a good restaurant.</span></p> <p><em><b>GG: As a mother of a 2-year-old, is it hard to juggle the demands of parenthood and the job?</b></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">CDLR: </span>Definitely, I haven’t been away from her since she was born and I’ve been really spoiled by being able to work in the city and come home to her every night. But I have a really good support system. My parents have both been very helpful, and my husband. And my mom has seven sisters so they’re great aunts, they are always coming over, pitching in.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">My daughter is at the age that she’s in daycare during the day, and then she comes home and we Facetime. Then she asks me all these questions and I ask her about her day. She’s now at a point where she doesn’t fully understand what mommy is doing. Actually, the other day I asked her, I said, ‘Bye, mommy’s going to Albany!’ She said, ‘You’re going to work mommy!’ and I said ‘Do you know what mommy does at work?’ and she says, ‘Talk to a lot of people!’ So she doesn’t really understand everything. But she understands that I’m up in Albany and I feel lucky because she’s been adjusting very well.</span></p> <p><em><b>GG: You enter state government under such a strange climate with President Donald Trump’s administration moving forward with its anti-immigrant agenda. Has that shifted your priorities for the coming year?</b></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">CDLR: </span>Absolutely. I think that actually contributed to the fact that in my brain, it feels longer than a month. Because very soon after I came to Albany, Trump was inaugurated and since then, especially in our district, it’s been protest after protest, demonstration after demonstration.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As a immigrant woman here at the state Legislature, we actually in the Assembly have been able to pass bills about protecting immigrant communities against registries....we did a ton of criminal justice reform bills. So for me, I feel like I’m in the front seat of something that is so important for the protection of immigrant communities and communities of color throughout the state. I just feel privileged and honored to have a seat at that table and be able to actually take these votes that are having significant impact in our communities and understanding the dynamics of the [Republican-controlled] Senate, and really pushing on this, so that some of those things can be adopted by the Legislature.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Being able to be in the [Democratic] Assembly Majority, and actually be able push for these things is really important. I think now for us to have a voice in what’s happening nationally and we show our constituents that on a state level there are some protections that can be put in place.</span></p> <p><em><b>GG: As a freshman legislator, do you feel like you have gotten floor time where you really got to make your voice heard?</b></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">CDLR: </span>Yes, I did! The first week we came in and voted on a ton of bills about contraception and women’s rights. They were health bills. So those bills were really important to me as a woman, as a woman who is pro-choice, and especially with what is happening on a national level with women and Planned Parenthood. In addition, I did have floor time last week -- which was my first time speaking on the floor -- about the Dream Act, and the Assembly was able to pass the Dream Act.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">I spoke about my experiences being an immigrant woman, coming to the country as a child, and knowing that education -- and the opportunity to be educated -- has certainly made a difference in my life. And what we hope we could lead for our children and the children that are coming from other countries around the world and may not have that opportunity to follow the American dream.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">I was very excited to be able to speak up on that. And yesterday I spoke up about the ‘Raise the Age’ conversation and the importance of doing that in New York State.</span></p> <p><em><b>GG: Any surprises? Disappointments?</b></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">CDLR: </span>No disappointments yet. I am still coming with a new person’s -- I’m not burnt out yet -- so I’m really coming with a fresh, hope perspective which I hope doesn’t die. But I have been very inspired with the passion that I see coming from all over the state on some of these issues. It doesn’t matter if you come from upstate or downstate.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A lot of the members of the chamber have really taken leadership roles when it comes to speaking out about women’s rights, immigrant rights, and that has really been a pleasant surprise for me here.</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span>[Read more from our series,&nbsp;</span><a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/state/6818-adjusting-to-albany-meet-nyc-s-new-class-of-state-legislators#yuhlineniou">Adjusting to Albany: Meet NYC's New Class of State Legislators</a><span>]</span></p> <p>

***
by Rachel Silberstein, State government reporter, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p>
<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2017/cndelarosa-5.jpg" alt="cndelarosa 5" width="600" height="588" /></p> <p>Assemblymember Carmen De La Rosa (photo via <a href="https://twitter.com/CnDelarosa" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">@CnDelarosa</a>)</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Born in the Dominican Republic, Carmen De La Rosa immigrated as a child to Inwood, in upper Manhattan, where she was raised and still lives, now with her fiance and daughter. She launched her legislative career in 2007, working for Assemblymember Daniel O’Donnell on the Upper West Side. She later became Democratic female district leader for the 72nd Assembly District and chief of staff to City Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">With the backing of her former boss and Rodriguez’s mentor, then-State Senator Adriano Espaillat, the 30-year-old De La Rosa took on incumbent Assemblyman Guillermo Linares, a longtime rival of Espaillat. During the campaign, she defined herself as a feminist who understands the struggles of working families and immigrants, someone who could break barriers for the upper Manhattan district, which has long been dominated by male leadership. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Now in office, De La Rosa told Gotham Gazette in February that she is looking forward to making a difference in the community she has lived in her whole life, especially given the ascendance of an anti-immigrant Trump administration in Washington, D.C.</span></p> <p><em><b>Gotham Gazette (GG): What was your first few weeks as a state legislator like? How was the orientation? </b></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Carmen De La Rosa (CDLR): It’s been obviously very interesting — and busy — &nbsp;getting to know the budget process and all the components of the budget and how to navigate our communities within that process. Also, learning the basic 101 of the legislative process, in addition to also getting our offices up and running for constituent services. So it definitely feels like longer than a month. But I definitely feel like everyone here is very helpful. There are a lot of people who can assist you with technical issues.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The training was very interesting. We got to meet the incoming class of members on the Assembly side and majority side. It was wonderful because you are able to meet other members from all different part of the state who are coming in with different perspectives, but we have one thing in common, which is we are all new here. We’ve sort of created a bond of helping each other out, because we have similar questions about like where a particular hearing room is, or how to get over to chamber quickly. So it’s been really high pace. It’s definitely a great place to be, coming from the City Council, it’s sort of government on a larger scale, so it’s a welcome challenge for me.</span></p> <p><em><b>GG: How is the commute? Where do you stay? Any favorite restaurants yet?</b></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">CDLR: </span>I’ve been taking the train. I actually am taking the train from the Yonkers stop. So I often either have my husband drop me off and I’ll come up. It’s only two hours and 15 minutes depending on how the rail is going.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It’s really good to come on the train; you get a lot done, a lot of reading and catching up. I really like the train ride actually because you are able to disconnect and sort of just get your footing in before you even come up to Albany. So you do all the reading on what bills are coming up, on committees and all of that. And when I’m coming back into my district work, so what community events are happening and things like that.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">I haven’t found a favorite restaurant yet. We’ve been really busy this session and we had a few late nights with some votes. So I haven’t had much time to go out and explore. I am usually eating in the members lounge or in the cafeteria or the concourse, so I definitely have goals for later on in the session to go out and find a good restaurant.</span></p> <p><em><b>GG: As a mother of a 2-year-old, is it hard to juggle the demands of parenthood and the job?</b></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">CDLR: </span>Definitely, I haven’t been away from her since she was born and I’ve been really spoiled by being able to work in the city and come home to her every night. But I have a really good support system. My parents have both been very helpful, and my husband. And my mom has seven sisters so they’re great aunts, they are always coming over, pitching in.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">My daughter is at the age that she’s in daycare during the day, and then she comes home and we Facetime. Then she asks me all these questions and I ask her about her day. She’s now at a point where she doesn’t fully understand what mommy is doing. Actually, the other day I asked her, I said, ‘Bye, mommy’s going to Albany!’ She said, ‘You’re going to work mommy!’ and I said ‘Do you know what mommy does at work?’ and she says, ‘Talk to a lot of people!’ So she doesn’t really understand everything. But she understands that I’m up in Albany and I feel lucky because she’s been adjusting very well.</span></p> <p><em><b>GG: You enter state government under such a strange climate with President Donald Trump’s administration moving forward with its anti-immigrant agenda. Has that shifted your priorities for the coming year?</b></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">CDLR: </span>Absolutely. I think that actually contributed to the fact that in my brain, it feels longer than a month. Because very soon after I came to Albany, Trump was inaugurated and since then, especially in our district, it’s been protest after protest, demonstration after demonstration.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As a immigrant woman here at the state Legislature, we actually in the Assembly have been able to pass bills about protecting immigrant communities against registries....we did a ton of criminal justice reform bills. So for me, I feel like I’m in the front seat of something that is so important for the protection of immigrant communities and communities of color throughout the state. I just feel privileged and honored to have a seat at that table and be able to actually take these votes that are having significant impact in our communities and understanding the dynamics of the [Republican-controlled] Senate, and really pushing on this, so that some of those things can be adopted by the Legislature.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Being able to be in the [Democratic] Assembly Majority, and actually be able push for these things is really important. I think now for us to have a voice in what’s happening nationally and we show our constituents that on a state level there are some protections that can be put in place.</span></p> <p><em><b>GG: As a freshman legislator, do you feel like you have gotten floor time where you really got to make your voice heard?</b></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">CDLR: </span>Yes, I did! The first week we came in and voted on a ton of bills about contraception and women’s rights. They were health bills. So those bills were really important to me as a woman, as a woman who is pro-choice, and especially with what is happening on a national level with women and Planned Parenthood. In addition, I did have floor time last week -- which was my first time speaking on the floor -- about the Dream Act, and the Assembly was able to pass the Dream Act.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">I spoke about my experiences being an immigrant woman, coming to the country as a child, and knowing that education -- and the opportunity to be educated -- has certainly made a difference in my life. And what we hope we could lead for our children and the children that are coming from other countries around the world and may not have that opportunity to follow the American dream.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">I was very excited to be able to speak up on that. And yesterday I spoke up about the ‘Raise the Age’ conversation and the importance of doing that in New York State.</span></p> <p><em><b>GG: Any surprises? Disappointments?</b></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">CDLR: </span>No disappointments yet. I am still coming with a new person’s -- I’m not burnt out yet -- so I’m really coming with a fresh, hope perspective which I hope doesn’t die. But I have been very inspired with the passion that I see coming from all over the state on some of these issues. It doesn’t matter if you come from upstate or downstate.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A lot of the members of the chamber have really taken leadership roles when it comes to speaking out about women’s rights, immigrant rights, and that has really been a pleasant surprise for me here.</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span>[Read more from our series,&nbsp;</span><a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/state/6818-adjusting-to-albany-meet-nyc-s-new-class-of-state-legislators#yuhlineniou">Adjusting to Albany: Meet NYC's New Class of State Legislators</a><span>]</span></p> <p>

***
by Rachel Silberstein, State government reporter, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p>
Adjusting to Albany: Meet NYC’s New Class of State Legislators 2017-03-19T04:00:00+00:00 2017-03-19T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6818:adjusting-to-albany-meet-nyc-s-new-class-of-state-legislators Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2017/legislators/nyscapitolbuilding2.jpg" alt="nyscapitolbuilding2" width="600" height="456" /></p> <p>photo via @NYSCapitolTours</p> <hr /> <p dir="ltr">While the ethics trainings and orientation for new state legislators may have evolved over the years, one thing has remained constant: the daunting task of navigating the Capitol’s maze-like corridors during one’s first weeks of work in Albany.</p> <p dir="ltr">Orientation provides some roadmap to Albany’s byzantine legislative processes, including workshops in drafting bills, organizing a press conference, and conducting research, and legislative staffers are provided for support, but it can take a few weeks, if not months, for newly minted politicians to fully acclimate to life as a state lawmaker.</p> <p dir="ltr">In fact, much of the training happens on the job, according Assemblymember Tom McKevitt, who oversees the trainings for incoming Assembly members in the chamber’s Republican minority.</p> <p dir="ltr">“For many people they are coming to a different part of the state, they are leaving their families, leaving their hometowns, to come to a very different place,” said McKevitt, who represents part of Long Island, and has served in the Assembly for just over a decade. “New York State government is a massive operation. It really is. So we try to give them as much knowledge as possible and give them as much resources as possible to get them as productive a start to their legislative careers.”</p> <p dir="ltr">All new legislators in the Senate and the Assembly receive mandated training when they begin their legislative careers in Albany. In addition, each party conference provides training, as McKevitt indicated for the Assembly minority.</p> <p>
NEW LEGISLATORS

* AM Yuh-Line Niou
* Sen. Jamaal Bailey
* AM Robert Carroll
* AM Carmen De La Rosa
* AM Brian Barnwell
* AM Tremaine Wright
* AM Stacey Pheffer Amato
* Sen. Marisol Alcantara
* AM Clyde Vanel
* AM Inez Dickens
</p> <p dir="ltr">This year, there are 10 new state lawmakers from New York City, joining the 150-seat Assembly, which is dominated by Democrats, and the 63-seat Senate, which is narrowly controlled by Republicans. All of the new reps from the city are Democrats -- there are only a handful of New York City Republicans in the Legislature altogether, mostly from Staten Island.</p> <p dir="ltr">Gotham Gazette began interviewing each of those 10 new members in February to gauge how they are adjusting to life in the state Legislature, which is notoriously dysfunctional and insulated, and has seen its share of corruption scandals in recent years.</p> <p dir="ltr">While the first weeks of the legislative calendar leading up to one-house budgets in March are always fairly intense for new legislators, this year appears to have been more so. As with other state capitals and city halls around the country, the inauguration of President Donald Trump, followed by the unconventional president’s chaotic first two months in office, have cast a long shadow over governing in New York.</p> <p dir="ltr">As the Trump administration rushes to follow through on campaign promises to scale back reproductive rights, repeal the Affordable Care Act, and ban immigrants from select countries, many legislators, especially Democrats, are feeling more uncertainty and a greater sense of urgency. Both come in part from their constituents -- New Yorkers who overwhelmingly voted for Hillary Clinton in November.</p> <p dir="ltr">Several incoming lawmakers hailing from the five boroughs are facing challenging political climates in their districts and given local political dynamics. Yuh-Line Niou, now representing Lower Manhattan’s 65th Assembly District, must deliver for a constituency accustomed to receiving an exceptionally high level of resources given that the seat had been held for decades by (now convicted) former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.</p> <p>The 31st Senate District’s new representative, Marisol Alcantara, is a member of the Senate’s Independent Democratic Conference (IDC), at a time when the breakaway group of Democrats that forms a coalition majority with Republicans is facing some significant backlash. Meanwhile, Senator Jamaal Bailey, of the 36th Senate District, is joining the mainline Senate Democratic Conference that is struggling in the minority.</p> <p>To begin our series on new city-based state legislators, Gotham Gazette spoke with Niou, Bailey, and Brooklyn Assemblymember Robert Carroll. Read their interviews through the links below, and stay tuned for our interviews with the seven other new lawmakers from the five boroughs.&nbsp;</p> <p>
yuh line niou2
Yuh-Line Niou

Assemblymember for the 65th District
Lower Manhattan
Elected 2016; took office 2017
Democrat & Working Families Party
“This is a constituency that literally had the most service and then almost no service for a period of time. It’s been a shock to the system.”
READ THE FULL INTERVIEW with Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou


</p> <p>
jamaal bailey
Jamaal Bailey

State Senator for the 36th District
Parts of the Bronx and Mount Vernon
Elected 2016; took office 2017
Democrat & Working Families Party
“But a lot of the preparation, it just comes in real-time. Just seeing the bill and you have to vote on it.”
READ THE FULL INTERVIEW with Senator Jamaal Bailey


</p> <p>
robert carroll 2
Robert Carroll

Assembly Member for 44th District
Brooklyn (Windsor Terrace, Kensington, Park Slope, Flatbush)
Elected 2016; took office 2017
Democrat & Working Families Party
“I think if you are going to be in politics, you have to understand that you’re not going to win every fight, and you have to be ready to stay in the arena.” 
READ THE FULL INTERVIEW with Assembly Member Robert Carroll


</p> <p>
Carmen for assembly
Carmen De La Rosa

Assembly Member for 72nd District
Manhattan (Harlem, Inwood, Hamilton Heights, and Washington Heights)
Elected 2016; took office 2017
Democrat & Working Families Party
“It’s definitely a great place to be, coming from the City Council, it’s sort of government on a larger scale, so it’s a welcome challenge for me.”
READ THE FULL INTERVIEW with Assemblymember Carmen De La Rosa


</p> <p>
Brian Bramwell
Brian Barnwell

Assembly member for the 30th District
Parts of Astoria, Long Island City, Maspeth, Middle Village, and Woodside
Elected 2016; took office 2017
Democrat
“The budget process was certainly long, but I don’t have a problem with that. In my opinion, it’s better to negotiate and negotiate and negotiate, instead of just doing the deal for the sake of doing a deal.”
READ THE FULL INTERVIEW with Assemblymember Brian Barnwell


</p> <p><em><strong>Coming soon, interviews with:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li>Assemblymember Tremaine Wright</li> <li>Assemblymember Stacey Pheffer Amato</li> <li>Senator Marisol Alacantra</li> <li>Assemblymember Clyde Vanel</li> <li>Assemblymember Inez Dickens</li> </ul> <p>

***
by Rachel Silberstein, State government reporter, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p>
<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2017/legislators/nyscapitolbuilding2.jpg" alt="nyscapitolbuilding2" width="600" height="456" /></p> <p>photo via @NYSCapitolTours</p> <hr /> <p dir="ltr">While the ethics trainings and orientation for new state legislators may have evolved over the years, one thing has remained constant: the daunting task of navigating the Capitol’s maze-like corridors during one’s first weeks of work in Albany.</p> <p dir="ltr">Orientation provides some roadmap to Albany’s byzantine legislative processes, including workshops in drafting bills, organizing a press conference, and conducting research, and legislative staffers are provided for support, but it can take a few weeks, if not months, for newly minted politicians to fully acclimate to life as a state lawmaker.</p> <p dir="ltr">In fact, much of the training happens on the job, according Assemblymember Tom McKevitt, who oversees the trainings for incoming Assembly members in the chamber’s Republican minority.</p> <p dir="ltr">“For many people they are coming to a different part of the state, they are leaving their families, leaving their hometowns, to come to a very different place,” said McKevitt, who represents part of Long Island, and has served in the Assembly for just over a decade. “New York State government is a massive operation. It really is. So we try to give them as much knowledge as possible and give them as much resources as possible to get them as productive a start to their legislative careers.”</p> <p dir="ltr">All new legislators in the Senate and the Assembly receive mandated training when they begin their legislative careers in Albany. In addition, each party conference provides training, as McKevitt indicated for the Assembly minority.</p> <p>
NEW LEGISLATORS

* AM Yuh-Line Niou
* Sen. Jamaal Bailey
* AM Robert Carroll
* AM Carmen De La Rosa
* AM Brian Barnwell
* AM Tremaine Wright
* AM Stacey Pheffer Amato
* Sen. Marisol Alcantara
* AM Clyde Vanel
* AM Inez Dickens
</p> <p dir="ltr">This year, there are 10 new state lawmakers from New York City, joining the 150-seat Assembly, which is dominated by Democrats, and the 63-seat Senate, which is narrowly controlled by Republicans. All of the new reps from the city are Democrats -- there are only a handful of New York City Republicans in the Legislature altogether, mostly from Staten Island.</p> <p dir="ltr">Gotham Gazette began interviewing each of those 10 new members in February to gauge how they are adjusting to life in the state Legislature, which is notoriously dysfunctional and insulated, and has seen its share of corruption scandals in recent years.</p> <p dir="ltr">While the first weeks of the legislative calendar leading up to one-house budgets in March are always fairly intense for new legislators, this year appears to have been more so. As with other state capitals and city halls around the country, the inauguration of President Donald Trump, followed by the unconventional president’s chaotic first two months in office, have cast a long shadow over governing in New York.</p> <p dir="ltr">As the Trump administration rushes to follow through on campaign promises to scale back reproductive rights, repeal the Affordable Care Act, and ban immigrants from select countries, many legislators, especially Democrats, are feeling more uncertainty and a greater sense of urgency. Both come in part from their constituents -- New Yorkers who overwhelmingly voted for Hillary Clinton in November.</p> <p dir="ltr">Several incoming lawmakers hailing from the five boroughs are facing challenging political climates in their districts and given local political dynamics. Yuh-Line Niou, now representing Lower Manhattan’s 65th Assembly District, must deliver for a constituency accustomed to receiving an exceptionally high level of resources given that the seat had been held for decades by (now convicted) former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.</p> <p>The 31st Senate District’s new representative, Marisol Alcantara, is a member of the Senate’s Independent Democratic Conference (IDC), at a time when the breakaway group of Democrats that forms a coalition majority with Republicans is facing some significant backlash. Meanwhile, Senator Jamaal Bailey, of the 36th Senate District, is joining the mainline Senate Democratic Conference that is struggling in the minority.</p> <p>To begin our series on new city-based state legislators, Gotham Gazette spoke with Niou, Bailey, and Brooklyn Assemblymember Robert Carroll. Read their interviews through the links below, and stay tuned for our interviews with the seven other new lawmakers from the five boroughs.&nbsp;</p> <p>
yuh line niou2
Yuh-Line Niou

Assemblymember for the 65th District
Lower Manhattan
Elected 2016; took office 2017
Democrat & Working Families Party
“This is a constituency that literally had the most service and then almost no service for a period of time. It’s been a shock to the system.”
READ THE FULL INTERVIEW with Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou


</p> <p>
jamaal bailey
Jamaal Bailey

State Senator for the 36th District
Parts of the Bronx and Mount Vernon
Elected 2016; took office 2017
Democrat & Working Families Party
“But a lot of the preparation, it just comes in real-time. Just seeing the bill and you have to vote on it.”
READ THE FULL INTERVIEW with Senator Jamaal Bailey


</p> <p>
robert carroll 2
Robert Carroll

Assembly Member for 44th District
Brooklyn (Windsor Terrace, Kensington, Park Slope, Flatbush)
Elected 2016; took office 2017
Democrat & Working Families Party
“I think if you are going to be in politics, you have to understand that you’re not going to win every fight, and you have to be ready to stay in the arena.” 
READ THE FULL INTERVIEW with Assembly Member Robert Carroll


</p> <p>
Carmen for assembly
Carmen De La Rosa

Assembly Member for 72nd District
Manhattan (Harlem, Inwood, Hamilton Heights, and Washington Heights)
Elected 2016; took office 2017
Democrat & Working Families Party
“It’s definitely a great place to be, coming from the City Council, it’s sort of government on a larger scale, so it’s a welcome challenge for me.”
READ THE FULL INTERVIEW with Assemblymember Carmen De La Rosa


</p> <p>
Brian Bramwell
Brian Barnwell

Assembly member for the 30th District
Parts of Astoria, Long Island City, Maspeth, Middle Village, and Woodside
Elected 2016; took office 2017
Democrat
“The budget process was certainly long, but I don’t have a problem with that. In my opinion, it’s better to negotiate and negotiate and negotiate, instead of just doing the deal for the sake of doing a deal.”
READ THE FULL INTERVIEW with Assemblymember Brian Barnwell


</p> <p><em><strong>Coming soon, interviews with:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li>Assemblymember Tremaine Wright</li> <li>Assemblymember Stacey Pheffer Amato</li> <li>Senator Marisol Alacantra</li> <li>Assemblymember Clyde Vanel</li> <li>Assemblymember Inez Dickens</li> </ul> <p>

***
by Rachel Silberstein, State government reporter, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p>