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IN PUBLIC SERVICE: State Senator Parker Hoping To Serve in Key Role — NYC Comptroller

June 1, 2021 Special to the Brooklyn Eagle.
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With the New York City primaries just around the corner on June 22, the Brooklyn Eagle and Queens Daily Eagle will be featuring interviews and editorials on the candidates, the issues, and more, over the coming weeks. We interviewed Brooklyn’s own New York State Senator Kevin Parker, who is running for New York City Comptroller in the June 22nd primary. 

EAGLE: Hello, Senator. You have been in the State Senate for over 15 years and are currently serving as Chair of the Energy and Telecommunication Committee as well in Leadership as the Senate Majority Whip. Tell us about why your experience there matters in your race for New York City Comptroller.

PARKER: First off, I am glad to speak with one of the most storied publications in New York, and really the country. Thanks for your contribution to my home borough of Brooklyn, and it is great to see what you have also done in our sister borough with the Queens Daily Eagle. Yes, it has been the honor of a lifetime to serve the people of Brooklyn in the State Capitol as well as in Brooklyn from my District Office. During my time there I have been one of the most effective legislators — passing important legislation ranging from policing reforms to environmental and green energy, intimate partner violence, and cannabis legalization to help grow and diversify our economy. Bringing my understanding of complex issues and legislating, specifically as it pertains to the State budget, is so key to understanding and maximizing the impact of the role of City Comptroller.

EAGLE: Your campaign has been pushing your experience a lot as to why you are the best candidate in the field. Can you elaborate on that experience outside of the State Legislature?

PARKER: Great question. Yes, when you are talking about New York City’s purse strings, the campaign has zeroed in on discussing two things — equity and experience. And really, that is what the office of NYC comptroller will be laser-focused on when I win on November 2nd, 2021. Bringing my experience in the nonprofit and housing communities, my work in the Chairman’s office at UBS PaineWebber, managing intergovernmental relations between City and State government for the State Comptroller’s office, and successfully passing over 70 bills in the State Senate. It really stands out in this field of candidates.

EAGLE: We understand the experience you have but please elaborate on the equity piece. What does equity mean to you, and why is equity an important responsibility of the office of comptroller?

PARKER: Equity for me is a lived experience. I grew up in the NYCHA Bushwick Houses and attended New York City public schools for my entire childhood. I now teach at CUNY and SUNY. There are hardscrabble elements to my childhood, and my career, that taught me that we must as the leading City of our nation create more opportunities for our children and our families. And opportunity starts with equity. Using the power of government to help better distribute money and resources into the outer boroughs and communities of color throughout New York City starts with New York City’s Comptroller office. Public pension fund investment and rebalancing can be the key tool to helping shape a better future for our city and all of its residents.

EAGLE: Talking about investment and divestment, the current Comptroller Scott Stringer, the trustees, and Mayor de Blasio voted earlier this year to divest their portfolios from securities related to fossil fuel companies, in what is expected to be the largest divestment in the world. What additional industries would you seek to divest from, as well as where would you look to invest dollars as Comptroller of New York City and manager of the $250 billion dollars public pension fund?

PARKER: Yes, yes, and yes. I applauded and continue to encourage Comptroller Stringer’s move to divest from fossil fuels and have been a very public champion of green energy investment. As Chair of the Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee, I championed the Climate and Community Investment Act, which not only codifies the enforcement and implementation of a carbon tax on corporations to encourage them to do better on their carbon emissions but then take those revenues and applies them to communities who are most impacted by climate change and the adverse environmental impacts of carbon. And there are other industries we want to look at too, from private prisons to bad actors in the banking and financial services sector.

EAGLE: Talking about finances and investments, you recently had some major news on the fundraising front. Do you want to tell us a bit about that news, and what it means for your campaign?

PARKER: Absolutely. Despite the naysayers and detractors, our deep and wide coalition of supporters came through and got us over the threshold to qualify for matching funds. This was confirmed by the City’s Campaign Finance Board we were approved to receive roughly $1,000,000 in additional funds just last week. This will enable us to continue to get the message out that I am by far the most experienced and qualified candidate for Comptroller of New York City. But the work is still in process. I want to encourage your readers to visit my website for more information on my campaign, my stand on issues, and to see how they can get involved with our campaign.

EAGLE: This has been a really informative interview, and we appreciate your time sitting with us. Would you like to add a closing statement to our readers as to why you are the best choice for New York City Comptroller on June 22nd? 

PARKER: Thank you for the time and the chance to speak with your audience. Listen, I’ve been saying it this whole campaign — New York City will bounce back. New York will always come back, and we will always be a global leader in many things. My goal as Comptroller of this great city will be to ensure that we use the recovery process as an opportunity to make it a recovery for ALL New Yorkers. Good times weren’t always good for everyone. Everyone should benefit from our rebuilding, so we can come back better. Thank you again. 

EAGLE: Thank you, Kevin, we will continue to watch closely. Thanks for sitting with us and good luck on the campaign, Senator. I know you will be quite busy as early voting starts in the next 10 days.

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