A Post-COVID Brooklyn: What Have We Learned and What Does the Future Look Like?

September 23, 2020  
5:00PM - 6:00PM
This event is brought to you by City & State + Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce
Event Description

Join us for a webinar discussing Brooklyn. Topics to be discussed include:


•Postal service in Brooklyn and whether the borough will be ready for the November election

•The election of more socialists in Brooklyn and the growing power of the left

•Can Republicans win again in southern Brooklyn, or will Democrats end up with every seat in the borough?

•Rezoning Industry City - necessary job growth, or driver of displacement?

•Strengths and weaknesses in the borough’s health care system, exposed by COVID-19.

•How Brooklyn's small businesses are weathering the pandemic.

Nydia M. Velázquez
Congresswoman & Chairwoman, House Small Business Committee
Representative Nydia M. Velázquez has made history several times during her tenure in Congress. In 1992, she was the first Puerto Rican woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. This year, she returns to the position of Chairwoman of the House Small Business Committee after being the first Hispanic woman to serve as Ranking Member of a full committee in the history of the House in 1998 and as Chair in 2006. As Chairwoman, Velázquez oversees the Small Business Administration (SBA), the only federal agency devoted to supporting this nation’s entrepreneurial sector, and its financing, contracting, and technical assistance programs. She also has oversight of the federal agencies’ regulatory and paperwork requirements that impact small firms, as well as federal policies and legislation that affect small businesses. Although her work on the Small Business Committee keeps her busy, Chairwoman Velázquez can often be found close to home, working for the residents of New York's 7th District. Her district encompasses parts of Brooklyn, Queens, and the Lower East Side of Manhattan in New York City, making it one of the most diverse districts in the nation.
Zellnor Myrie
New York State Senate
Senator Zellnor Y. Myrie is a Brooklyn native and affordable housing advocate serving the 20th Senate District. During his first legislative session, Senator Myrie served in leadership roles on several major legislative victories. Having grown up in a rent-stabilized apartment at the epicenter of the affordable housing crisis, Senator Myrie was honored to co-lead the Senate’s Housing Reform Working Group, which produced New York’s strongest affordable housing and tenant protection laws in generations. During the legislature’s budget negotiations, Myrie also served on the Senate’s Criminal Justice Reform Working Group, resulting in sweeping reforms to cash bail, discovery, and speedy trial laws. As Chair of the Elections Committee, Senator Myrie led hearings on Public Financing of Elections and Automatic Voter Registration, and presided over historic election reforms including Early Voting, closing the LLC loophole, and many other crucial reforms to protect and expand our democracy. Senator Myrie has been publicly recognized for his work, including City & State’s Rising Stars Award, the Lindsay Fellowship in Government Leadership and Practice, and many other community awards. Senator Myrie is a member of the NYS Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic & Asian Legislative Caucus, the National Association of Lation Elected & Appointed Officials, the NYS Bipartisan Pro-Choice Legislative Caucus and the National Black Caucus of State Legislators. Senator Myrie derives inspiration for his public service from his mother, who moved to Brooklyn 40 years ago from Costa Rica on the promise of a mattress in a friend’s apartment and a job at a factory. Myrie is a graduate of Brooklyn Technical High School and earned his B.A. in Communications and M.A. in Urban Studies from Fordham University. He later earned his J.D. from Cornell Law School.
Julia Salazar
New York State Senate
Senator Julia Salazar represents New York’s 18th State Senate District, including the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Bushwick, Cypress Hills, Greenpoint and Williamsburg, as well as parts of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brownsville and East New York. Upon her election in 2018, she became the youngest woman elected in the history of the New York State Senate. Senator Salazar is a strong supporter of tenant rights, criminal justice reform, equal protection for women and immigration justice. In 2019, Senator Salazar introduced the Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act mandating insurance companies’ cover all FDA approved contraceptive drugs, devices and products for women. Responding to concerns raised by constituents about services provided to victims of domestic violence in the health care system, Senator Salazar introduced bills mandating training for hospital staff regarding domestic violence and guaranteeing victims free and safe transportation home from the hospital. She Co-chaired the 2019 NYS Joint Legislative Hearings on Sexual Harassment that led to the enactment of much needed changes to the NYS Human Rights Law. Senator Salazar is a recognized leader in the fight for tenants’ rights and against the power of the New York City real estate lobby. She played a key role in assuring the enactment in 2019 of the strongest legislative protections for tenants in NYS history. This legislation eliminated loopholes making it close to impossible for most working people to afford decent quality housing. Another bill introduced by Senator Salazar, and signed by the Governor provides permanent protections for loft tenants in New York City ending years of uncertainty for thousands previously unprotected by NYS law. Senator Salazar is committed to ending the harm caused by mass incarceration. In pursuit of this goal, Senator Salazar strongly supported the reforms of pretrial discovery and bail enacted in 2019 and has introduced legislation to decriminalize sex work and to provide judges with greater sentencing discretion. Senator Salazar cosponsored the historic NYS Dream Act and the “Green Light” bill, granting access to NYS drivers’ licenses regardless of immigration status. Until her election to the State Senate, Julia Salazar worked as a community organizer in the neighborhoods she represents and across New York City. She began her advocacy during her time as a college student at Columbia University, where she advocated for the rights of fellow tenants and service industry workers. She worked for United Auto Workers Local 2110 to support Barnard College adjunct faculty workers in the campaign for their historic first contract. She served as a community organizer for Jews for Racial & Economic Justice, working within city-and-state-wide coalitions to advance criminal justice reform and police accountability legislation. Senator Salazar is also an active member of the National Association of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO), UAW-NWU Local 1981, and the New York City chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America.
Randy Peers
President and CEO, Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce
Randy Peers joined the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce as the President and CEO on September 9, 2019. He brings with him decades of workforce and economic development expertise, and several years of executive leadership experience growing non-profit organizations that serve the business community. He previously served as the inaugural President & CEO of the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance (GRCA) in Berks County, PA overseeing the alignment of the Chamber of Commerce and two economic development organizations. For over a decade Randy was CEO of Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow (OBT), a Brooklyn-headquartered workforce development organization that was the leading provider of disconnected youth job training services in NYC. From 2002-2006, Randy served as Vice President of Economic Development at the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce under then President Kenneth Adams, developing a portfolio of projects that included the Good Help program, Real Estate Development (RED) industry initiative, as well as developing the concept for the Business Solutions Center. Randy’s non-profit program management experience developed while at CAMBA, one of the largest social services providers in Brooklyn. During Randy’s tenure as Chair of Sunset Park’s Community Board 7, he saw the completion of Sunset Park High School and three neighborhood rezonings. Randy holds a Bachelor’s degree from Brooklyn College and an MPA from NYU’s Wagner School of Public Service. Randy was born, raised, and spent most of his professional career in Brooklyn, having lived in five different neighborhoods across the borough.
Jumaane Williams
Public Advocate of the City of New York
Jumaane D. Williams is the Public Advocate of the City of New York. Previously, he served on the NYC Council representing the 45th District. Jumaane is a first-generation Brooklynite of Genadian heritage. He graduated from the public school system, overcoming the difficulties of Tourette’s and ADHD to earn a Master’s Degree from Brooklyn College. He began his career as a community organizer at the Greater Flatbush Beacon School and later served as the Executive Director of NYS Tenants & Neighbors. There, he fought for truly affordable, income-targeted housing across New York City and State. In the NYC Council, Jumaane championed landmark legislation that fundamentally transformed policing in NYC. Jumaane sponsored the Community Safety Act, reforming the City’s Police Department by ending the abuse of Stop, Question & Frisk in communities of color and creating the NYPD’s Office of Inspector General to investigate unlawful & unethical behavior. Jumaane has led the fight for better policing and safer streets, affordable housing, and transparency and accountability in City government. As Public Advocate, Jumaane continues to be an activist-elected official who brings the voices of everyday New Yorkers to City government, fighting to make New York a truly progressive beacon for all.
Najay Roache
Director of Government Affairs, Charter Communications
Prior to joining the Charter team, Najay served as Deputy Assistant Director of Intergovernmental Relations at the NYC Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget where she guided the agency’s state legislative and budget engagement. Najay began her career in government with the New York State Assembly and during a decade-long tenure, she held various roles in public policy, budget analysis and legislative communications. In 2015, she was appointed Deputy Press Secretary and Speechwriter by Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and served in that role before moving back to New York City in 2018 to pursue new opportunities in government relations. Najay is a graduate of Utica College and credits her time in the Mohawk Valley for her enduring love of scenic drives and all things New York.
Ken Gibbs
President and CEO, Maimonides Medical Center
Kenneth Gibbs has served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Maimonides since January 2016. Under his leadership, the hospital has built on its foundation of clinical excellence and achieved numerous accolades. For three consecutive years (2018-2020), Maimonides has been ranked among the top ten hospitals in the nation for clinical outcomes, and is currently ranked number one in the nation for heart attack survival and among the top 1% of hospitals in the country for stroke survival rates. Recently, Mr. Gibbs helped to secure a $141 million bond that will enable the Medical Center to expand its services and broaden its reach in the community. Future expansion will include a stand-alone pediatric emergency room, enlargement of the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), and structural enhancements to its cardiothoracic intensive care unit (CTICU). Prior to being named President & CEO, Mr. Gibbs was a member of the Maimonides Board of Trustees from 2013-2015. During that time he served as the Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee and then as Chair of the Board. Before joining Maimonides, Mr. Gibbs served as President of the Municipal Securities Group at Jefferies, LLC in New York City. He also served as the Chief Executive Officer of DEPFA First Albany Securities, the Director of Public Finance at First Albany Capital, and held investment banking positions at Lazard Freres & Co., Credit Suisse First Boston, and Kidder Peabody. During his 30+ years working in public finance, Mr. Gibbs led numerous multi-million dollar financing deals to support essential public programs and facilities in cities and states around the country. He has applied his expertise and relationships in the public finance sector to advance the work of non-profit and public policy organizations. Since 1991, he has been a Board Trustee of the Citizens Budget Commission and served as its Chair from 2010-2014. Born and raised in New York City, Mr. Gibbs is a graduate of Harvard College and lives in Manhattan with his wife, Cathy Cramer. They have four children.

Welcome By Jeff Coltin, Senior Reporter, City & State NY


Commercial Presented By New York Presbyterian 


Introduction By Najay Roache, Director of Government Affairs, Charter Communications


Panel Discussion 

Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, Chair, House Small Business Committee

New York State Senator Zellnor Myrie

New York State Senator Julia Salazar

NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams

Randy Peers, President & CEO, Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce

Ken Gibbs, President & CEO, Maimonides Medical Center


Closing Remarks

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