Brooklyn Boro

EXCLUSIVE: Q&A with Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders on Brooklyn, national issues

April 19, 2016 Compiled by Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Democratic primary contenders Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.
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Democratic primary contenders Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are battling it out at the polls today for the hearts, minds and votes of New Yorkers.

Which candidate’s policies will most improve the daily lives of Brooklynites? We offered each candidate an unlimited space to answer that question.

Both Clinton and Sanders graciously agreed to participate in a Q & A via email with the Brooklyn Eagle on issues of vital local concern — ranging from keeping hospital doors open to gun control, addressing the shortage of affordable housing, supporting small businesses, boosting jobs and wages, keeping the Army base open at Fort Hamilton, funding the MTA, finding a solution in the Middle East and more.

The candidates both received the questions at the same time. Sanders’ answers are directly below, and Clinton’s responses are below his if you continue to scroll down.


Q & A with Sen. Bernie Sanders


Brooklyn Eagle: Brooklyn is known as being startup-friendly. How will you encourage small businesses and startups to nurture the next Apple/Facebook/eBay?

Sanders: In my view, the government needs to do much more to encourage and support small businesses and provide targeted set-asides for women.  In 2012, and again in 2013, I co-sponsored the Small Business Lending Enhancement Act because small businesses are the backbone of our economy.  As president, I will expand the Small Business Administration to provide low-interest loans and grant opportunities to help small businesses thrive and prosper.

Moreover, if we are serious about rebuilding the middle class and reducing income and wealth inequality, we have got to unlock the economic potential of minority and women-owned businesses.  I strongly believe we need to promote the talent of women and minority business leaders and foster the success of a new generation of entrepreneurs to expand the economy and create millions of new jobs.  As president, I would expand access and opportunities for women and minority owned businesses to level the playing field and grow the economy in a fair way.


Brooklyn Eagle: Brooklyn hospitals are in crisis. Several major hospitals have recently closed, and others are teetering. What can be done to rescue failing hospitals in high-need, low-income areas?

Sanders: I believe that everyone in this country should have access to high-quality, affordable health care as a right, including the critical care and services provided by hospitals. 

For hospitals to thrive now and in the future, I believe we must improve the entire health care system.  Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, millions of Americans have gained access to health care coverage.  Yet, despite these gains, 29 million Americans still have no health insurance and millions more are underinsured.  That is why I believe we must guarantee health care as a right, not a privilege to everyone.

Today, hospitals throughout New York and the entire country are participating in important payment reforms that reward quality, not quantity.  Done well, this will help improve the lives of patients and relieve the strain on hospital budgets and staff.  We must also ensure that Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement rates are sufficient to ensure hospitals serving large numbers of low-income individuals and their families can keep their doors open.  In 2015, I voted to support a deal which stabilized payment rates for Medicare providers, who previously faced a threat of major cuts every year.  I have also fought against Republican efforts to privatize Medicare and turn Medicaid into a block grant, which would lead to draconian cuts in benefits and would substantially increase health care costs.   I will continue to ensure Critical Access Hospitals and Medicare Dependent Hospitals receive the help they need so they can continue to provide critical care and services in high-need, low-income areas.


Brooklyn Eagle: In the Brooklyn North Bureau, transit crime is up nearly 25 percent from last year so far in 2016. What would you do as president to help keep our subways and buses safe for Brooklyn residents?

Sanders: The new CompStat 2.0 crime mapping tool has allowed the New York Police to better analyze crime trends, and it has pointed to a disturbing increase in felony crimes on subways and buses in the neighborhoods north of Atlantic Avenue over to Eastern Parkway.  To my mind, we need to increase community based policing, and improve the quality of the transit experience for Brooklynites.  Since I was Mayor of Burlington Vermont in the 1980s, I have been a strong supporter of community based policing.  As I explain below, I would also make a huge investment in MTA to make it a truly world class transit system, and to create jobs for New Yorkers in the process.


Brooklyn Eagle: What will you do to help alleviate gun violence and further enact gun control and regulation? But … how will you balance the need to keep guns out of the hands of criminals with the right to bear arms?

Sanders: Here is the very sad truth: The crisis of gun violence has reached epidemic levels in this country to the point that we are averaging more than one mass shooting per day.  Thoughts and prayers are important, but it is long past time for action.

Here are a few concrete actions I believe we should take as a country that will save lives:

1. We need to expand background checks to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the dangerously mentally ill. This is an idea that over 80 percent of Americans agree with, even a majority of gun owners.

2. We need to renew the assault weapons ban and end the sale of high capacity magazines— military-style tools created for the purpose of killing people as efficiently as possible.

3. We need to close the “terror gap” and make sure known foreign and domestic terrorists are included on prohibited purchaser lists.  Since 2004, over 2,000 people on the FBI’s terrorist watch list have legally purchased guns in the United States.  That is unacceptable.

4. We need to close loopholes in our laws that allow perpetrators of stalking and dating violence to buy guns. In the United States, the intended targets of a majority of our mass shootings are intimate partners or family members, and over 60 percent of victims are women and children. Indeed, a woman is five times more likely to die in a domestic violence incident when a gun is present.

5. We need to pass federal gun trafficking laws.  I support Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s Hadiya Pendleton and Nyasia Pryear-Yard Gun Trafficking & Crime Prevention Act of 2015, which would make gun trafficking a federal crime and provide tools to law enforcement to get illegal guns off the streets and away from criminal networks and street gangs.

6. We need to strengthen penalties for straw purchasers who buy guns from licensed dealers on behalf of a prohibited purchaser.

7. We need to expand and improve our mental health capabilities in this country so that people who need care can receive it in a timely manner, regardless of their level of income.

Americans of all political stripes agree that we need to pass a common sense package of gun safety legislation as soon as possible.

With your help, that’s exactly what we will do.


Brooklyn Eagle: In light of the Paris and Brussels attacks, what steps should the country take to protect Brooklynites and New Yorkers and prevent terrorists from targeting large metropolitan areas?

Sanders: First, we have to continue President Obama’s efforts, which I have strongly supported, to go after international terrorist organizations abroad. To destroy ISIS, I will continue the president’s use of air strikes and the training of local forces to push back this terrorist organization. We have a lot of work to do, but so far ISIS has lost 40 percent of its territory in Iraq and 20 percent of its territory in Syria.

But this is a fight that countries in the region have to win for themselves – we can’t do it for them. I have called for our partners in the region – especially the Gulf States who have hundreds of billions of dollars in oil wealth and powerful militaries – to do more to destroy ISIS. Working with our partners, we have got to root out the funding networks for terrorism and go after the root causes of violent extremism – such as countering ISIS’ hateful ideology – to deny terrorist organizations new recruits that can pose a danger to our country.

Second, we have to work with our European allies to neutralize terrorists there so they don’t pose a threat to Americans at home. After the horrifying attacks in Brussels, we learned that European law enforcement and intelligence agencies are not effectively sharing intelligence with each other, which makes it more difficult for them to go after terror cells. I have called for the United States to share our experience and skills with Europe to increase the effectiveness of their intelligence and law enforcement efforts, which I believe is important for our security as well.


Brooklyn Eagle: What do you think of Mayor de Blasio’s Affordable Housing Plan and would you employ HUD resources to help see it to fruition?

Sanders: The role of a mayor is to articulate local housing plans.  The role of the president is to make sure mayors have the resources and support to implement those plans.  One of my proudest achievements as a mayor was creating the first municipally-funded housing trust in the nation, which creates homeownership opportunities for moderate income families who are otherwise shut out of the market.  And in Congress, I am enormously proud to have been – along with Congresswoman Barbara Lee – the original House sponsor of the National Housing Trust Fund Act, the first new federal housing production program in almost three decades and the first ever targeted to extremely low-income households.

As president, I would address the shortage of rental housing by fighting to expand the National Housing Trust Fund to construct, preserve, and rehabilitate at least 3.5 million affordable housing rental units over the next decade.  I would reinvigorate federal housing programs that build affordable housing for the elderly and for the disabled.  I would defend and strengthen fair housing laws to protect against discrimination.  I would repair public housing, and expand Housing Choice Initiative vouchers.

I would support first time homebuyers through down payment assistance, loan guarantees and direct loans, as well as expanded homeownership counseling.  I would push for credit score reform to open homeownership to millions of families – particularly African American and Latino families – whose credit was ruined because of financial hardship from the housing crisis and economic meltdown.  And I would make sure families are protected against the kind of fraudulent, deceptive, and abusive lending practices that caused the crisis in the first place.

And I would redouble efforts to address the scourge of homelessness, because in the richest country on the face of the earth, it is a national disgrace that on a given night a half a million Americans are sleeping on the street in shelters or in their cars.


Brooklyn Eagle: The future of the U.S. Army Garrison at Fort Hamilton in Bay Ridge: If you become president, will you authorize the formation of a Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission? If so, would you seek to close Fort Hamilton or fight to keep it open?

Sanders: The U.S. Army Garrison at Fort Hamilton – the last active-duty military post in New York City – has enormous historical significance for our country.  Moreover, the garrison supports many Army Reserve and Army National Guard units.  It will remain open if I am elected president.

We need to focus on maintaining the combat readiness of the Reserves and National Guard, who also serve their communities and states during disasters.  Moreover, I applaud the outstanding work of the Fort Hamilton Citizens Action Committee, who, along with the Garrison leadership, drafted the “Army Community Covenant” – a model of cooperation between a military installation and its surrounding civilian community.

Having said that, at a time when our national debt is more than $19 trillion, and when the U.S. spends more on defense than the next nine countries combined, I do think we can make judicious defense cuts without compromising our national security or military readiness.  The Pentagon wastes billions of taxpayer dollars each year on obsolete parts, inventory it does not need, and exotic weapons systems – many of which are designed to meet non-existent Cold War threats.  Outright fraud and corruption among private defense contractors accounts for billions more.  First and foremost, that is where we should look for savings.


Brooklyn Eagle: What is your plan to help the less advantaged find higher paying jobs?

Sanders: As president, I will fight for a progressive economic agenda that creates jobs, raises wages, and provides health care for all.  That means we will:

●         Fight to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $15 an hour by 2020.

●         Fight to enact a $1 trillion jobs plan to put at least 13 million Americans to work over the next five years rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure.

●         Fight to create at least 1 million jobs for young Americans by investing $5.5 billion in a youth jobs program. 

●         Fight to make health care a right for every man, woman, and child by passing a Medicare for all single-payer health care system.

●         Fight to expand collective bargaining rights for private sector and public sector workers and make it easier for workers to join unions by making card check recognition the law of the land. 

●         Fight to make sure that every worker in this country has at least 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave; two weeks of paid vacation; and one week of paid sick days.

●         Fight to make public colleges and universities tuition free.  And we will pay for that by imposing a speculation tax on Wall Street.

●         Fight to expand Social Security and make Social Security solvent for the next 58 years.  And we will do that by scrapping the cap on all income above $250,000. 


Brooklyn Eagle: Are you in support of increasing federal funding for the MTA? The MTA is in desperate need of repairs, especially in the wake of Sandy, and despite promises from our governor, the state hasn’t been able to provide appropriate funding. Instead the public has been increasingly forced to foot the bill in the form of fare hikes.

Sanders: Growing up in Brooklyn, my family and I used MTA buses and subways almost every day.  When I rode the subways, it was not a publicity stunt.  It was how we got around.

It is no secret that the MTA is in dire need of upwards of $30 billion in upgrades, and is already saddled with significant debt. And although the MTA is chartered by the state, Albany has not adequately invested in this critically important component of the region’s infrastructure.

I have introduced a bill in Congress called the Rebuild America Act, which would make a historic $1 trillion investment in our country’s crumbling infrastructure, and in the process, create 13 million jobs that our economy desperately needs.  The bill includes $120 billion in direct funding – above current funding levels – for transit system improvements and to address deferred maintenance.  It also funds intercity rail, as well as several innovative financing mechanisms that MTA could use to finance projects and reduce the cost of borrowing.

The fare box alone cannot, and should not cover the cost of operating complex transit systems.  Public transit is a public good, and we need to start investing in it so it does not fall irreparably into disrepair. 


Brooklyn Eagle: Elected officials have created organizations that accept unlimited donations from developers and businesses in order to further their agendas. How do you feel about this type of operation?

Sanders: This is exactly why we need campaign finance reform and why I am fighting to overturn the disastrous Citizens United Supreme Court decision. Here in New York City, you have an excellent public financing program that is really a model for the nation. The matching system has allowed greater participation among both candidates and voters, something all jurisdictions should be aiming for. This is why I strongly believe Congress should move to publicly funded elections. We cannot let corporate America buy our elections.

I am disappointed New York State still has not closed its so-called “LLC Loophole.” I applaud those fighting to end this practice.


Brooklyn Eagle: CUNY professors and faculty have been working without contracts for a long time now and the state has threatened to cut off funding, which could drastically raise tuition costs. Can you speak to this?

Sanders: In my view, it is unacceptable that the professors and faculty of CUNY have gone without a contract or a salary increase in over six years.  That is why, in December, I wrote to Governor Cuomo asking him to make the necessary investments in salaries and working conditions for the employees represented by the Professional Staff Congress (PSC).

It is time for the faculty and staff at CUNY to have a fair contract and a raise, for all educators to be compensated accordingly to their contributions to society, and for all students in our nation to have access to a higher education without debt.  As president I commit to making the idea of tuition-free college and fair treatment for workers a reality.


Brooklyn Eagle: There is a large federal park in the New York area, Gateway National Park, part of which is in Brooklyn. The park is rather underdeveloped. Also, it’s rather out of the way for most Brooklynites. What can be done to develop and/or attract more people to Floyd Bennett Field and the rest of Gateway National Park?

Brooklyn: As a kid growing up in Flatbush, I remember Floyd Bennett Field as an important base for the New York Air National Guard. Now part of the 27,000-acre Gateway National Recreation Area, it is just one of an array of spectacular natural, historic and cultural sites that span three boroughs and New Jersey.

Floyd Bennett Field is now home to an aviation museum and offers numerous outdoor activities. Clearly, having such an expanse of open land so close to the more densely populated areas of Brooklyn is a unique and wonderful resource. The most important thing the next president can do to attract more people to Floyd Bennett Field is to adequately support our National Park System.  There are all sorts of great plans to further develop National Recreation Areas (which are part of the National Park System), but because of a lack of funding, they usually go unimplemented.  That is why in addition to “bricks and mortar” infrastructure projects, my Rebuild America Act also includes $15 billion in new funding over five years to address the serious backlog in National Park maintenance and improvement.  Our parks are where we go for recreation and inspiration, and we must make sure we are good stewards of our parks so they can be enjoyed for future generations.


Brooklyn Eagle: If you gain the nomination, would you be willing to consider Hillary Clinton as some sort of advisor or appoint her to some sort of government position?

Sanders: I have great respect for Sec. Clinton but I think it’s too early to speculate on who exactly would serve in my administration. I can tell you that members of my administration will not come from Wall Street.  Instead, they will have a strong track record of standing up to special interests and fighting for the needs of working people.


Brooklyn Eagle: Here in Brooklyn, we have Orthodox Jews, who (with some exceptions) tend to be extremely pro-Israel and pro-Likud, and many immigrants from Arab countries, who tend to support the Palestinians and, in many cases, dislike Israel intensely. How will you be able to craft a Middle East policy that will satisfy both groups?

Sanders: Reaching a peace between Israelis and the Palestinians is perhaps the most difficult diplomatic challenge of our time. But hard as it may be, peace is possible. We may not know exactly how a lasting peace will look in every detail, but we know it will require a situation where both Israelis and Palestinians can live in security, with economic opportunity, rights, and dignity.

I believe a two-state solution is the best prospect to allow both Israelis and Palestinians to live in peace and control their own lives. Reaching a two-state solution will require both sides to make hard but just compromises for the sake of a better future. Ultimately, the details of those compromises are up to the Israelis and Palestinians to make in the course of direct negotiations that produce a mutual agreement.

To help reach a peace, I believe the United States has a major role to play. I strongly believe that the Israeli people have a right to live in peace and security.  I have condemned the terrible attacks against Israel over the years. There is no debate about Israel’s right to self-defense. But as a friend to Israel, we have to tell the truth. And the truth is that I believe reaching peace means we have to take a more balanced approach that recognizes the needs of the Palestinian people.  In my view, the disproportionate use of force in Gaza in 2014, the high unemployment facing Palestinians, the lack of safe and clean drinking water, and the expansion of settlements in the West Bank undermines the prospects of peace.

I understand this is a hard subject to discuss.  But an important part of solving any serious problem is bringing people together and to listen to each other in good faith.


Brooklyn Eagle: Brooklyn has many Chinese and Russian immigrants. But our relationship with these two countries is becoming increasingly hostile. What is your plan to stop China from taking over the South China Sea? How will you prove to Putin that a Brooklyn-born president also carries a big stick (so to speak)?

Sanders: As president, I will deal with great powers like Russia and China by using diplomacy and working alongside our allies to keep the peace.

With Russia, we have to continue to stand up to Putin so he knows he will not go unchallenged. I have supported President Obama’s efforts to work with our European allies by using sanctions and diplomatic tools to put pressure on Russia following Putin’s aggression in Ukraine. America is strongest and Europe is most secure when we maintain unity with Europe. That means reassuring NATO of our commitments to collective defense.

With China, the United States has to continue to work with our allies and partners in the region to maintain peace and prosperity. That means ensuring freedom of navigation in the South China Sea — which is critical to global commerce. It also means preventing tensions having to do with overlapping maritime claims from spiraling out of control between China, which claims much of the South China Sea, and other countries with overlapping claims of their own.  In my view, we have to work with our partners – including regional organizations like the Association of Southeast Asian Nations – to get countries in the region to find diplomatic solutions to their disputes. At the same time, we have to continue to reassure our allies in the region, including the Philippines that we are committed to work with them to prevent instability.


Brooklyn Eagle: What will you miss most about Brooklyn if we send you to the White House?

Sanders: I am very proud to have been born and raised in Brooklyn. It’s been 50 years since I’ve moved but it’s a very important part of my life. Growing up I remember going to Dodgers games and Coney Island, to Nathan’s where we would stuff ourselves with hot dogs and French fries. We would go on the rides and go out on the beach to swim. I was also a product of our excellent public education system at the time. I was lucky enough to go to James Madison High School and Brooklyn College for a year, where I got a fantastic education. But life was not always easy for my family. We did not have a lot of money and it was a source of constant tension for my parents. Growing up here I learned that there are millions of families in America today who struggle every single day to take care of their families. We must do all that we can to make their lives a little easier, to give them more security, to raise their incomes, and to create millions of good paying jobs.


Q & A with Hillary Clinton

Brooklyn Eagle: Brooklyn is known as being startup-friendly. How will you encourage small businesses and startups to nurture the next Apple/Facebook/eBay?

Clinton: When I was growing up, my father owned a small business. And when I say small, I mean small: It was my father and an occasional day laborer. My mother, brothers, and I would help do the silkscreen printing on the drapery fabrics he sold. We were an all-hands-on-deck operation, guided by my father’s belief that if you worked hard and did what you were supposed to do, opportunities would be there for you. That’s the spirit that got Americans through the Great Recession. And as we come back from the crisis, potential new business owners and entrepreneurs from Silicon Valley to Des Moines to Brooklyn are ready to seize the moment. All they need are policies that help them get ahead instead of holding them back.

That’s why I want to be a small business president. Throughout this campaign, I’ll be proposing specific ways to help jump-start small business, including: Cutting the red tape that holds back small businesses and entrepreneurs, expanding access to capital, providing tax relief and tax simplification for small business and expanding access to new markets. And I’ve already put forward a $25 billion initiative to jumpstart small business and entrepreneurship specifically in underserved communities — by providing incubation, mentoring and training services; expanding and making permanent the New Markets Tax Credit; expanding funding for community development financial institutions; expanding the State Small Business Credit Initiative; and enforcing the Community Reinvestment Act.   

Brooklyn Eagle: Brooklyn hospitals are in crisis. Several major hospitals have recently closed, and others are teetering. What can be done to rescue failing hospitals in high-need, low-income areas?

Clinton: If I am so fortunate to be your president, I will work to actually help on the ground not only to make health care better, make hospitals have the resources and support they deserve, but also to do what I can for the workers who run the hospitals.  I will work with elected officials who are going to be my partners in working to make sure we never lose touch with what’s actually going on in our hospitals. We need to ensure that the Affordable Care Act does not have the unintended consequence of withdrawing critical support to our public hospitals that serve our lowest-income, highest-need patients.

Brooklyn Eagle: What will you do to help alleviate gun violence and further enact gun control and regulation? But … how will you balance the need to keep guns out of the hands of criminals with the right to bear arms?

Clinton: On average 90 people a day die from gun violence.  That is 33,000 people a year.  As Steve said, a very significant majority of both American citizens and gun owners in our country want to see commonsense gun safety measures passed. For me, this issue has been a high priority for many years in part because I have spent too many hours listening to and meeting with families who have lost a loved one to gun violence.  I remember very well as first lady going to Columbine High School in Colorado, and time and time again, more than I care to count, I have looked into the eyes and held the hands of people who ask why, how can we let this happen.  Even though you will hear from some of the most courageous and persistent voices that you could find anywhere in just a few minutes, we need to add our voices to their voices.  We cannot go on like this. 

If anything else were killing 33,000 people a year, we would be mobilized.  Cars used to kill more people than they do now, and folks said we don’t want to take anybody’s car away, but what about seatbelts, what about airbags?  Let’s figure out what we’re going to do to save lives.  And we have a very commonsense agenda.  We want comprehensive background checks, and that means close the gun show loophole, close the online loophole, and close what’s called the Charleston loophole. Hold irresponsible dealers and manufacturers accountable and keep guns out of the hands of terrorists, domestic abusers, other violent criminals, and the severely mentally ill.  I will lead the charge to repeal the so-called “Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act,” a dangerous law that prevents victims of gun violence from holding irresponsible manufacturers and dealers accountable for their actions.

Brooklyn Eagle: What do you think of Mayor de Blasio’s Affordable Housing Plan and would you employ HUD resources to help see it to fruition?

Clinton: As President, my plan will invest $125 billion in revitalizing communities that have been left out or left behind by our recovery—not only here in the five boroughs, but also in upstate cities like Buffalo, Rochester, and Troy.

We will make housing more affordable for working Americans.

Let’s provide additional incentives for affordable housing development by expanding the supply of Low Income Housing Tax Credits, to help check skyrocketing rental costs.  Let’s encourage local land use and zoning strategies that make it easier to build affordable rental housing near good jobs.  Let’s increase rental assistance for low-income families, and help families who receive support choose from a wider range of neighborhoods with more jobs and better schools.  For working families looking to buy their first home, my proposal would support up to $10,000 in down payment assistance.  And I’ll enforce fair housing laws and fight housing discrimination.

Plus, we’ll provide more resources to public housing authorities like NYCHA, and pair these investments with broader economic development efforts.  We’ve got to help low-income residents break free from cycles of poverty, and that’ll take more than better public housing – that’ll take better job and educational opportunities too.

Brooklyn Eagle: What is your plan to help the less advantaged find higher paying jobs?

Clinton: We need to create more good-paying jobs and support job training programs in the communities that need them the most. Let’s tackle youth unemployment. All these investments in housing will only amount to so much if we don’t also connect people to good-paying jobs.  Let’s tackle youth unemployment, and invest billions in local programs that will put our kids to work.  Let’s promote entrepreneurship in underserved communities; small businesses are a powerful engine of job growth in this country, and we should help that engine roar in every zip code. New York’s skyline is full of majestic skyscrapers, named for titans of our history: Chrysler, Woolworth, Rockefeller. But those aren’t the names that make New York great.  It’s the names in smaller print over mom-and-pop storefronts… on plaques affixed to park benches… and on statues of local leaders who spent their lives making our communities strong.  These hardworking heroes shaped the character of their neighborhoods – because they could afford to live there.

It’s up to us to make sure New Yorkers can enjoy the same opportunities previous generations did.  We know what needs to be done.  And as President, I’ll make sure these solutions finally hit home.

Brooklyn Eagle: Are you in support of increasing federal funding for the MTA? The MTA is in desperate need of repairs, especially in the wake of Sandy, and despite promises from our governor, the state hasn’t been able to provide appropriate funding. Instead the public has been increasingly forced to foot the bill in the form of fare hikes.

Clinton: There is no doubt that we need to invest more in transportation.  It’s hard to get ahead when you can’t get around. My plan will link more communities to more good jobs by improving our transit infrastructure.  In the Senate, I negotiated and secured over $16 billion in transportation funding for New York, and that was just a start.  A future Clinton Administration would commit $275 billion to infrastructure, placing a particular emphasis on increasing investments in public transit.

Brooklyn Eagle: If you gain the nomination, would you be willing to consider Sen. Sanders as some sort of advisor or appoint her to some sort of government position?

Clinton: I cannot tell you because I don’t want to get ahead of myself.

Brooklyn Eagle: Here in Brooklyn, we have Orthodox Jews, who (with some exceptions) tend to be extremely pro-Israel and pro-Likud, and many immigrants from Arab countries, who tend to support the Palestinians and, in many cases, dislike Israel intensely. How will you be able to craft a Middle East policy that will satisfy both groups?

Clinton: When I was Secretary of State, I worked hard to support a peace process. I convened direct talks between Israeli and Palestinian leaders — the last direct talks that have been held — and I had very frank and open conversations with my Israeli counterparts. I think that’s what you’re supposed to do with people who you respect and who you’ve known for many years, as I have known Prime Minister Netanyahu and before him Prime Minister Olmert and Prime Minister Barak and Prime Minister Rabin and many of the other major players. So my position, which I outlined at length in my AIPAC speech is that I will continue to ensure that Israel has a qualitative military edge, that I will continue, as I did as a Senator and Secretary of State, to do anything and everything for their security, that I will continue to speak out against the BDS movement, which I think is one-sided, discriminatory and unfair, that I will be a president who tries to always support Israel and the United Nations or any other international tribunal as I have in the past. And I also believe that when it comes to the peace process, inaction cannot an option. Israelis deserve a secure homeland for the Jewish people. Palestinians should be able to govern themselves in their own state, in peace and dignity. Only a negotiated two-state agreement can provide those outcomes.  

Brooklyn Eagle: What will you miss most about Brooklyn Heights if we send you to the White House?

Clinton: Junior’s amazing cheesecake, I used to go there when I was a Senator.

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