Meet the City Council’s New Members: Carlos Menchaca

Meet the City Council’s New Members: Carlos Menchaca

Meet the City Council’s New Members: Carlos Menchaca
January 28, 2014

Superstorm Sandy exposed New York City’s vulnerabilities in devastating fashion, not only from an infrastructure perspective, but also by demonstrating the necessity of having an active elected representative on the ground to help coordinate emergency and recovery services. Carlos Menchaca felt the latter was lacking in some of the communities in which he was doing post-Sandy outreach and relief work— so much so that the El Paso, Texas, native was inspired to run for City Council.

“[Sandy] really changed my whole outlook on what it was to have a good Council office—an amazing, stellar Council office—and the urgency for that in our communities and how they really play a first line of defense for natural disasters and other disasters, like NYCHA housing, which for a generation has been neglected, and the affordable housing crisis, and the education crisis,” Menchaca said.

Menchaca enters the Council with solid experience in local government, starting with a job in Marty Markowitz’s office, managing the Brooklyn borough president’s capital budget and economic development policy, and coordinating with several agencies to allocate funding throughout the borough. Menchaca also worked in Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s office as a LGBT and HIV/ AIDS liaison right around the time that marriage equality began to pick up steam in New York—a “really fun time,” in Menchaca’s words, to be galvanizing people around the issue.

As a councilman Menchaca hopes to mobilize his colleagues around policies like Council rules reform, overcrowded schools and affordable housing, in addition to the myriad of unique needs in his district. Believing his constituents were deprived of basic needs because the discretionary funds process was politicized and controlled so heavily by the Speaker, he hopes a new Speaker and a reconfigured Council will institute rule changes to make the process more equitable.

“We need to reform how this Council functions in terms of distributing resources to a community like mine that has historically had no voice, not just through lack of leadership, but through lack of mechanism,” Menchaca said.

District: 38
Neighborhoods represented: Bay Ridge Towers, Borough Park, Gowanus, Greenwood Heights, Red Hook, South Slope, Sunset Park, Windsor Terrace
Policy focus: Sandy recovery, immigration, education, housing, economic development
Date of birth: Sept. 11, 1980
Birthplace: El Paso, Texas
Education: B.A. in performing arts, social justice and politics (double major), University of San Francisco
Previous occupation: LGBT and HIV/AIDS community liaison, New York City Council
Family: Single
Party: Democrat
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