The 4 Measures On Your Ballot Will Make New York Better. Here’s Why.

October 26, 2022 Special from Sen. Andrew Gounardes
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This November, New Yorkers will have the opportunity to cast their votes for Governor, Attorney General, Comptroller, U.S. Senate, U.S. Congress, and the state legislature. The people we elect to these offices are critically important as we emerge from the pandemic and address the myriad of challenges that lie ahead. But equally as important, New York City residents will have to vote on four important ballot measures that will shape the future direction of our city and state.

Three of the four ballot measures pertain only to New York City. They were proposed by the New York City Racial Justice Commission, which was formed in 2021 in the aftermath of protests against systemic racism and police accountability, and will appear as the second, third, and fourth questions on your ballot.

The first of the proposals put forth by the Commission would add a preamble to the City Charter that includes a commitment to “a just and equitable city for all” and which would help guide city government in fulfilling its functions. The second proposal would create the Office of Racial Equity and the position of Chief Equity Officer to ensure that New York City works to dismantle the legacies and harms of systemic racism. The third proposal would allow New York City to create a new benchmark calculating “true costs of living” that would be a more accurate measure of poverty rather than using federal guidelines, which do not account for differences in regional costs.

The fourth ballot measure has statewide reach: the Clean Water, Clean Air, Green Jobs Bond Act. I was proud to vote in support of the bond act because it gives us a once-in-a-generation opportunity to better protect our state against the worst effects of climate change. This bond act would invest a landmark $4.2 billion in environmental projects across New York in four categories: Water Quality & Resilient Infrastructure, Open Space Conservation & Recreation, Restoration & Flood Risk Reduction, and Climate Change Mitigation. These projects will include actions like safeguarding New York’s clean drinking water against pollution; creating good, green energy jobs; reducing lead exposure and increasing energy efficiency in public buildings; improving public health by planting more street trees; conserving wildlife habitats, forests, and wetlands; updating crucial infrastructure across the state, including roads, sewers, and drinking water pipes, and more.

As any New Yorker whose home has flooded in a storm, suffered a sewer back up, lamented the high temperatures on city streets, or experienced issues with their drinking water knows, the projects funded by the Clean Water, Clean Air, Green Jobs Bond Act aren’t just about the future of our state: they are about its present, too. The last time New York State enacted an environmental bond act was over 25 years ago; we cannot wait another 25 years to ensure all New Yorkers have access to clean drinking water or life-saving shade in the summer. As the upcoming 10th anniversary of Superstorm Sandy painfully reminds us, we can’t afford to wait to tackle climate change; we must act now to keep our communities safe and healthy from the worst impacts of a changing climate. The bond act will be the first question at the top of your ballot.

Ultimately, elections aren’t about the candidates on your ballot: they are about the future you want for your community. And by voting ‘yes’ on all 4 ballot proposals this November, you’ll be standing with me and millions of others all fighting for the future we know our communities deserve: a New York that is fair, safe, and affordable, where everyone has the opportunity to thrive.

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