Name of Council Candidate: Vanessa L. Gibson Name and Title of Person Completing Questionnaire: Assemblywoman Vanessa L.

Gibson, Candidate Campaign Website: www.gibson2013.com

2013 CITY COUNCIL HUMAN RIGHTS QUESTIONNAIRE
1. Many in the United States think of international affairs when they think of human rights. Our work emphasizes the applicability of the human rights framework here in the United States. Please share your thoughts on the domestic applicability of human rights, and discuss why human rights are important to you in the context of New York City and the City Council. As a woman of color I know from personal experience just how important human rights issues are. That’s why throughout my four year tenure as a member of the New York State Assembly – I have been guided by a strong belief in the important role government can and must play in making Dr. Martin Luther King’s vision of a just society a reality for all New Yorkers. This focus has led to my taking on the role of being a leading advocate for: expanded access to quality affordable healthcare for all New Yorkers, tenant rights and the strengthening of state rent regulation laws, and a stronger role for parents and educators in the New York City school system’s decision making processes. In addition I have consistently fought for increased funding for education and higher education, the expansion of services for our youth and seniors, and a more caring approach to a myriad of human services issues that have a major impact upon the lives of so many New Yorkers. 2. How have you used current or previous professional positions to advance human rights? I am proud to have a played a part in many important victories that are making a difference in the lives of Bronx families each and every day. On the legislative front, I have been particularly effective in passing legislation that makes is easier for community-based healthcare providers to access the financing they need to expand their services and increase healthcare access for all New Yorkers. I am also proud to have led the fight to restore millions of dollars in state funding for the Nurse family Partnership – an important program that provides much needed healthcare services to young mothers who need support, care and guidance to assure that their newborn is healthy. I also have a strong track record of working closely with residents, community-based organizations and advocates on issues that are important to our Bronx community. In the past several years those efforts have been an integral part of raising public awareness and developing support for state laws that strengthen rent regulations and protections for tenants. They have also played an important part in an anti-gun violence public awareness campaign. 3. What will your top 3 legislative priorities be in your first term as Council Member? 1. Overhauling the New York City school system by adopting policies that truly encourage and value the participation of parents and educators in the decisions that affect the education of our children.

2. Restoring funding for housing subsidy programs – such as the Advantage Program – so that we can provide stable housing for families and ease the pressure on the New York City shelter system. 3. Examining the Work Experience Program (WEP) with a view towards achieving a greater degree of fairness for those on public assistance by reforming – or possibly eliminating – the program. 4. What will your top 3 budget priorities be in your first term as Council Member? 1. A quality education has historically opened the doors of opportunity for many New Yorkers and I am strongly committed to enhancing funding for education. Along with increased support for our public schools, the City University of New York system and for those seeking a higher education, I would also include increased support for childcare services, after school programs and the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) as part of this expanded investment in education. 2. The lack of quality affordable housing is squeezing many Bronx families and I look forward to increasing the City’s resource commitment to addressing this pressing need through the development of additional affordable housing and the reviving of housing subsidy programs – such as the Advantage Program. 3. Job training and job placement services that are specifically dedicated to meeting the needs of the residents in communities with chronically high unemployment rates. In addition, supporting economic development projects that pay prevailing and union wages so families can earn a sustainable income to take care of themselves and their families. 5. Do you plan to use participatory budgeting to allocate your discretionary funds? Why or why not? I would like more information on the concept of participatory budgeting before making a final decision on this issue. I am definitely open to considering the idea to allow constituents the chance to make decisions on how their taxpayer dollars will be spent in the community. 6. Please provide examples of recent legislation in Council that you believe promotes human rights. Having been raised by a single mother who faced many obstacles to making ends meet for our family, I know firsthand just how important it is for working families to have the opportunity to care for a sick child when they are ill or for a bread winner to take time off when they are sick. The paid sick leave legislation recently passed by the New York City Council makes major strides in achieving that goal and I am very supportive of its implementation. 7. Legislation is only one of many ways in which Council Members can work to advance human rights. What ways other than through legislation will you advance the human rights of New Yorkers as a City Council Member? Throughout my tenure in the State Assembly I have lent the credibility of my office to several important causes and issues of public concern and I expect to continue that approach as a member of the New York City Council. Specifically, I have participated in rallies supporting the efforts of families to protect access to daycare and early childcare services threatened by city budget cuts, I have organized and led Bronx-based rallies in support of

strengthening state rent regulation laws, and I have participated in rallies supporting efforts to protect the rights of workers to organize and join unions. I have also led a community awareness initiative that energized hundreds of local residents, advocates, clergy and religious leaders as we targeted gun violence in the West Bronx. 8. Some advocates contend that the position of the Council Speaker has too much power over the progression of legislation. Please use this space to respond to that critique. It is difficult to provide an informed critique of the Council’s power structure without having had the opportunity to serve as a City Council member. However, having spent four years in the New York State Assembly I have the proven ability to work with a broad coalition of partners including residents, advocates, and legislative colleagues – including legislative leaders – to achieve important goals. Whether it is winning the enactment of legislation that enhances access to community-based healthcare services, leading the battle to restore funding to the Nurse Family Partnership so that young mothers and their newborns receive the quality of care they need and deserve, working with residents to enhance public transit services or supporting the building of new schools in our community that expand opportunities for our children to obtain a quality education – I have a real record of results. That’s the record I look forward to building upon as a member of the New York City Council.

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