NY's Path to Ranked Choice Voting: Queens Forum

January 28, 2021  
Webinar
Webinar
Thursday
2:00PM - 3:15PM
Presented by Spectrum
Event Description

The virtual forum is part of a five-part series bringing together policymakers, leaders from government, advocacy professionals, academia, media, technology and more.

New York voters will see a big change in the next election cycle with the implementation of ranked-choice voting. Our diverse panel will discuss the major issues on ranked choice voting and its effect on Queens. Topics to be addressed include the following:

-How exactly will ranked-choice voting work in New York City? 

-What are the pros and cons? Who benefits? Who is disadvantaged? 

-How to inform voters? Risk of confusion? 

-How will this affect campaigning? Less negative campaigning? Coalition campaigning?

-What kinds of candidates will benefit from this? Who will be hurt by it? 

Speakers
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Kathryn Garcia
Former Commissioner of The New York City Department of Sanitation
Kathryn was appointed in 2014 as the Commissioner NYC Department of Sanitation, the world's largest municipal waste management agency. As Commissioner, Kathryn was responsible for keeping New York City healthy, safe, and clean by collecting, recycling, and disposing of waste, cleaning streets and public spaces, and clearing snow and ice. In 2018, Kathryn was appointed Senior Advisor for Citywide Lead Prevention. In that role, she spearheaded LeadFreeNYC, NYC’s comprehensive plan to eradicate childhood lead exposure. In early 2019, Garcia was appointed CEO and Interim Chair of the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), where she worked to reverse decades of disinvestment in public housing and operationalize the City’s agreement with the federal government. During the City's COVID-19 response, Kathryn served as "Food Czar,” and was responsible for building a program of unprecedented scale -- 130 million meals -- to feed hungry and vulnerable New Yorkers and ensuring a safe, reliable and affordable food supply. Kathryn Garcia is a skilled and experienced government executive who will govern the same way she has approached every challenge in her career--data-driven and focused. She will surround herself with competent and passionate public servants who share her goal of building a sustainable future for NYC. Kathryn is a mother of two, a lifelong New Yorker who lives in Park Slope Brooklyn, the neighborhood where she grew up.
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Shaun Donovan
Former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the Obama Cabinet
Shaun Donovan has dedicated his life to public service, tackled the biggest challenges facing New York City and the nation, and fought for people and communities too often left behind. In his hometown, he is working with residents and community organizations to deliver restaurant meals to families affected by COVID, to revitalize public housing, and to make sure every New Yorker is counted in the 2020 Census. He is also working with local leaders and foundations to rebuild Puerto Rico and help families hit by the devastating storms. He serves as a Trustee of the Urban Institute and on the Advisory Board of Opportunity Insights. Shaun served in President Obama’s Cabinet for his full eight years in office. From January 2009 to July 2014, Shaun was the 15th Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, where he led the fight against the nation’s unprecedented foreclosure crisis. Under his leadership, HUD helped families rent or buy affordable homes, revitalized distressed communities, fought discrimination and dramatically reduced homelessness. After Hurricane Sandy hit his hometown, President Obama asked him to lead the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force, leaving a stronger, more resilient region than before the storm hit. In July, 2014, he was sworn in as the 40th Director of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget. At OMB, Shaun increased investment in key domes c and national security priorities that grew the economy, protected our country and increased opportunity. And he oversaw regulations that reduced inequality, expanded health care, improved education and fought climate change. Prior to joining the Obama Administration, Donovan served as Commissioner of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development. He also served in the Clinton administration as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Multifamily Housing at HUD and as acting FHA Commissioner. Deeply affected by the crisis he saw around him growing up, he volunteered in a homeless shelter during college and interned for the National Coalition for the Homeless when he graduated. After studying housing in graduate school, he returned to work for the nonprofit Community Preservation Corporation in the Bronx and across New York City. Donovan holds a B.A. and M.A. in Public Administration and Architecture from Harvard University. Shaun was born and grew up in New York City, and is married to Liza Gilbert, a Landscape Architect who has designed and restored parks in New York City and across the country. Shaun and Liza live in Brooklyn, where they raised their sons Milo and Lucas.
Donovan Richards
Queens Borough President
Donovan Richards Jr., a lifelong resident of Southeast Queens, was elected as Borough President in November of 2020. Growing up he lived in Jamaica, St. Albans, Hollis, and Rosedale, with frequent visits to grandparents who lived in the Rockaways. He attended Jamaica High School and Redemption Christian Academy before studying communications, radio, and TV at Nyack College. He later received a degree in Aviation Management from Vaughn College. Donovan got his start in politics after the tragic killing of a close friend inspired him to get more involved in his community and join the fight to end gun violence. He worked in numerous positions within the City Council where he connected with the community and developed a hands on approach to helping constituents. This knowledge was crucial in getting him elected to the city council in 2013. As a fighter for affordable housing, he was proud to serve as the Chair of the Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises during his first City Council term. He used this position to fight for rezoning in the Rockaways to increase residential availability as well as commercial and community space, including a new library. He also served as Chair of the Committee on Environmental Protection following Super Storm Sandy. Through his position he was able to help secure funding for flood protection to protect Rockaway communities. He has been a steadfast advocate for criminal justice reform, most recently acting as Chair of the Committee on Public Safety. In that position he has held numerous hearings on NYPD protocols surrounding protests, cannabis, and the Special Victims Division. In the City Council he has been a proponent of closing Rikers Island and legalizing adult-use cannabis. As Queens Borough President, Donovan is leading the efforts to revitalize our great borough and make it one which works for all of its residents and workers.
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Alicia Hyndman
New York State Assembly Member, District 29
Alicia L. Hyndman was elected to the New York State Assembly on November 10, 2015 in the 29th AD, encompassing the neighborhoods of Laurelton, Rosedale, St. Albans, Addisleigh Park, Hollis, Springfield Gardens and Jamaica. The daughter of Caribbean immigrants, Assemblywoman Hyndman emigrated to the U.S. from London, England as a young child. She spent her formative years growing up in Hollis & South Ozone Park attending public schools, PS 34, IS 109, JHS 226 & John Adams High School. Prior to being elected to the State Legislature, Assemblywoman Hyndman worked closely with community stakeholders as an active member of Community Boards 12Q, and 13Q, serving as a member of the Boards Education Committees, and also as a regular participant of the Rosedale Civic Association. Additionally, Assemblywoman Hyndman served on the NYC Department of Education’s Community District Education Council 29 (CEC 29) for ten years, the last four years as President. Leading the advocacy for the 36 elementary and middle schools in the district, through collaborative leadership, she was able to bring in $30 million in capital funding for technology upgrades, facilities improvements, playground rehabilitation and other amenities to enhance the quality of education for students. Assemblywoman Hyndman’s professional career spans over a decade and a half with the NYS Department of Education as a Senior Professional Conduct Investigator, overseeing trade and vocational schools. She previously has held many positions in the fields of education and higher learning including but not limited to: Counselor for the Brooklyn College Talent Search Program; Director of Minority Affairs at the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine of NYIT; Assistant with the New York State Education Department Office of Higher Education. Assemblywoman Hyndman also helped create the Long Island Barber Institute which graduated hundreds of Queens residents, allowing them to obtain jobs and become entrepreneurs, and opening dozens of establishments throughout the Borough. As a longtime community education advocate, Assemblywoman Hyndman will focus heavily on bringing resources and information back into the community to support youth and senior services, alleviate flooding, grow small businesses, and provide access to living wage jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities. She will continue her advocacy in Albany as a tireless fighter for residents of the 29th Assembly District. Assemblywoman Hyndman holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the State University of New York at New Paltz, and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Framingham State College, Mass. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. She currently resides in Rosedale, Queens with her two lovely daughters Nia and Nyla.
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Cheryl Wills
Reporter, Anchor, & Host, Spectrum News
Cheryl Wills is a veteran anchor for Spectrum News NYl - she joined the cable network during its launch in 1992. She is the primetime anchor for NY1 Live at Ten and she’s also the host of the public affairs talk show In Focus with Cheryl Wills. In 2018, Cheryl became the first African-American reporter in NY1’s history to win an Emmy Award. The award-winning journalist is the author of three books about her great-great-great grandfather Sandy Wills who fought in The Civil War: "Die Free: A Heroic Family Tale”, an illustrated children's book "The Emancipation of Grandpa Sandy Wills" and a YA book "Emancipated: My Family's Fight/or Freedom." Cheryl has been invited to do readings of her Emancipation Series to tens of thousands of students across the country. She is currently working on a groundbreaking book called “25 Women Who Changed Gospel”. Cheryl has interviewed some of the most powerful people in the world including The first woman president of Africa: Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia. Cheryl's groundbreaking report earned her a prestigious medal from United Nations Correspondents Association. She also scored an exclusive interview with United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. Cheryl's personal favorite was going one-on-one with the late great writer and activist Maya Angelou. In March of 2018, Cheryl was honored with the prestigious Commander’s Medal from the U.S. Department of the Army: The Public Service Commendation Medal is the fourth highest public service decoration the United States Department of the Army can bestow upon a civilian. Cheryl has also received awards from The New York Press Club, The Newswomen's Club of NY Front Page Award, and The Associated Press. In 2017, The Association of Social Studies Teachers I UFT awarded Cheryl Wills The Rosa Parks Award for Social Justice for "illuminating the struggle for Black equality from The Civil War to present." In 2017, Cheryl also received the Dr. Martin Luther King Award from three prominent Jewish organizations at The Israeli Consulate for bridging the gap between African Americans and Jews. In 2017, City & State Magazine honored Cheryl as one of New York’s most remarkable women. In 2010, McDonald's honored her as a broadcasting legend. In 2015 McDonald's again honored her with the first ever, Harold Dow Lifetime Achievement Award, in recognition of extraordinary and unparalleled contributions to broadcast media. Cheryl also has been featured in a number of major television shows and movies including Ghostbusters: Answer The Call (2016); she can be seen in numerous episodes of Law & Order: SVU (NBC), Limitless (CBS), The Strain (FX), Freedomland with Samuel Jackson, The Brave One with Jodie Foster and numerous other stage and film productions. Cheryl Wills was the first journalist invited to address the General Assembly of The United Nations about the impact of slavery on her family during the UN's International Remembrance of Victims of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. Cheryl takes great pride in being the Founder and Commander of The New York State Chapter of the Sons & Daughters of the United States Colored Troops, a national organization based in Washington D.C. She enjoys teaching students about the contributions of the 200,000 black soldiers who fought valiantly during The Civil War Cheryl Wills is a graduate of The Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, with a major in Broadcast Journalism. She received an Honorary Doctorate from New York College of Health Professions in May of 2005.
Wayne Ho
President and CEO, Chinese-American Planning Council
Wayne Ho is the President and CEO of the Chinese-American Planning Council (CPC), the nation’s largest Asian American social services agency. He is responsible for leading this 55-year-old organization that promotes social and economic empowerment of over 60,000 Chinese American, immigrant, and low-income New Yorkers each year. In 2017, CPC launched Advancing Our CommUNITY, its organization-wide strategy to expand services to address persistent needs and emerging trends and to improve leadership skills among staff and community members. Previously, Wayne served as Chief Strategy and Program Officer for the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies (FPWA), an association of 200 community and faith-based member agencies aiming to promote upward mobility of underserved New Yorkers, and was the Executive Director of the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families (CACF), the nation’s only pan-Asian children’s advocacy organization, from 2004-2013. He has been recognized by the City and State in the Nonprofit Power 100 in 2019, the inaugural Nonprofit Power 50 in 2018, and a 40 Under 40 New York City Rising Star in 2014. He was one of 10 leaders invited to meet with President Obama during the White House’s Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month Celebration in 2011. Wayne serves on numerous boards, including the board of Coro New York Leadership Center and Partnership for After School Education, and is appointed to several New York City and State advisory boards. Wayne received his Bachelor of Arts from UC Berkeley and his Master in Public Policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.
Friedman
Eric Friedman
Assistant Executive Director for Public Affairs, New York City Campaign Finance Board (CFB)
Eric Friedman is Assistant Executive Director for Public Affairs with the New York City Campaign Finance Board (CFB), which administers New York City’s groundbreaking small-donor matching funds program and the NYC Votes campaign, including the city’s official Voter Guide, the Debate Program for citywide candidates, and nonpartisan voter engagement efforts. He is responsible for overseeing the agency’s public communications, media relations, intergovernmental affairs, policy research, and community outreach. Mr. Friedman has worked at the CFB in a series of roles since 2006. Prior to joining the CFB, Mr. Friedman served as Press Secretary for U.S. Representative Christopher Shays (R-CT), a national leader on government ethics and campaign finance reform during his time in Congress. Mr. Friedman also managed communications for Congressman Shays’ re-election campaigns, and worked on several campaigns for state and local office. Mr. Friedman began his career as a journalist, reporting on politics and government for a weekly newspaper in southwestern Connecticut. He is a graduate of Tufts University and the Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service at New York University.
Camarda Photo
Alex Camarda
Director of Government Affairs, Spectrum
Alex Camarda is a Director of Government Affairs for Charter Communications (“Spectrum”). He works on government relations issues and legislative matters for the company for New York City, New Jersey and states in the Northeast. He previously oversaw public policy and advocacy for 8 years at the good government organizations Reinvent Albany and Citizens Union, and worked in the New York State Senate for 3 years. Camarda also worked at the New York City Department of Education for 7 years as high school social studies teacher and director of new school development.
Agenda
2:00pm

Opening Remarks by Alex Camarda,  Director Government Affairs, Spectrum

2:10pm

Mayoral Candidate Interviews

Kathryn Garcia, Former Commissioner of The New York City Department of Sanitation
Shaun Donovan, Former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the Obama Cabinet

2:20pm

Roundtable Discussion 

New York voters will see a big change in the next election cycle with the implementation of ranked-choice voting. Our diverse panel will discuss the major issues on ranked choice voting and its effect on Queens. Topics to be addressed include the following:

-How exactly will ranked-choice voting work in New York City? 

-What are the pros and cons? Who benefits? Who is disadvantaged? 

-How to inform voters? Risk of confusion? 

-How will this affect campaigning? Less negative campaigning? Coalition campaigning?

-What kinds of candidates will benefit from this? Who will be hurt by it? 

  • Cheryl Wills, Reporter, Anchor, Host, Spectrum News (moderator)
  • Donovan Richards, Queens Borough President
  • Wayne Ho, President/CEO, Chinese-American Planning Council
  • Alicia Hyndman, New York State Assembly Member, District 29
  • Eric Friedman, Asst. Executive Director for Public Affairs, NYC Campaign Finance Board
3:10pm

Closing Remarks

3:15pm

Session Concludes

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