State Legislative Forum: Brooklyn

May 06, 2021  
10:00AM - 11:00AM
Sponsored By AARP New York
Event Description

With the state budget behind us, lawmakers are set to act on their remaining priorities for the legislative session. These regional forums offer a chance to hear from legislators on their top policy priorities. We’ll touch on topics such as the ongoing response to COVID-19, curbing high prescription drug costs, retirement security, long term care reform, ways to make housing more affordable for an older population, and other pressing topics.



Roxanne Persaud
New York State Senator, District 19
Roxanne Jacqueline Persaud was elected to the State Senate in November 2015 after serving in the State Assembly. She has been reelected twice. Currently, she serves as the chair of the Social Services Committee as well as a member of the Banks, Children and Families, Commerce, Economic Development and Small Business, Labor and Transportation Committees. Roxanne spent many years as a Higher Education Administrator prior to being elected to the State Legislature. In addition, she is a longtime advocate for the community. She served as President of the 69th Precinct Community Council in Canarsie, a member of Community Board 18 and Commissioner on the New York City Districting Commission. She also is a graduate of the NYPD Citizens Police Academy as well as, the New York City Office of Emergency Management-Community Emergency Response Team. Additionally, she was a member of Community Action Board of the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development and Chairperson of the Neighborhood Advisory Board - District 18. She also serves on organizations highlighting domestic violence and cancer awareness among others. Her dedication to community involvement and her interest in helping others stretches well beyond Brooklyn. She has traveled overseas on several occasions as a volunteer on medical and social outreach programs. She encourages everyone to be actively involved in the community. Roxanne was born in Guyana, South America and migrated to the United States with her parents and siblings. She is a graduate of Pace University from which she holds a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Education Administration. In the Senate, Roxanne’s legislative priorities for the District will include safer communities, affordable housing, funding for schools and libraries, supportive services for youth and senior and quality healthcare. Roxanne lives in the Canarsie section of the 19th Senatorial District.
Latrice Walker
New York State Assembly Member, District 55
Latrice Monique Walker was elected to the New York State Assembly in 2014 in a special election. A native of the Brownsville section of Brooklyn, Assemblywoman Latrice Walker is a licensed attorney, and has made a name for herself as a strong voice and advocate from the streets of Brownsville to the Halls of Justice. Assemblywoman Walker was educated in the New York City public schools. She went on to receive her undergraduate degree from SUNY Purchase College, where she double-majored in Sociology and Political Science. She achieved a Juris Doctorate Degree in Law from Pace University and was admitted to the New York State Bar in 2007. Assemblywoman Walker has dedicated her life’s work to advocacy. For nearly a decade, Assemblywoman Walker has worked with local elected officials to preserve affordable housing while advocating for residents of the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). Born and raised in Prospect Plaza, a NYCHA development demolished under a Federal HOPE VI grant, the Assemblywoman has firsthand experience on the effects of displacement and the need for adequate legislative representation. As a litigator, she has helped tenants avoid eviction and defended young minority victims of “stop-and-frisk” practices. Assemblywoman Walker is not new to the legislative process, having served as Counsel to U.S. Representative Yvette D. Clarke since 2007; helping to plan, organize, and integrate the congressional agenda to improve her community. She played a central role in facilitating the federal, state, and city governments’ community planning and development initiatives while evaluating their economic and civic effect on the community. Assemblywoman Walker represents the 55th Assembly District in the New York State Legislature as a member of the Housing, Election Law, Energy, Correction, and Insurance Committees. Currently, she serves as the Chair for the Subcommittee on Renewable Energy, the Taskforce on Woman’s Issues and as Chair of the New York State Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators. Assemblywoman Latrice Walker is a proud member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., Sigma Kappa Zeta Chapter, the New York City Bar Association and a founding member of the Ocean Hill-Brownsville Coalition of Young Professionals. As a private citizen, Latrice remains very active in community affairs and is a member of Wayside Baptist Church, a preeminent faith institution in her community. Assemblywoman Latrice Walker resides in Ocean-Hill Brownsville and is the proud mother of a daughter, Nile Anderson.
Robert Carroll
New York State Assembly Member, District 44
A lifelong resident of Windsor Terrace and Kensington, Robert Carroll represents the 44th District in the New York State Assembly. Carroll attended P.S. 230 and graduated from Xaverian High School, SUNY Binghamton (where he studied History and Theatre) and New York Law School. Before being elected to the Assembly he was a practicing attorney specializing in contract law, election law, trusts and estates, and real estate law. Carroll also did work in non-profit theatre where he worked as a writer and actor, and was the Development Director and fundraiser for an independent theatre company in Manhattan. A play he wrote (The Believers) was produced on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in the Fall of 2014. Carroll served on Community Board 7, where he chaired multiple committees, and is a member of many community organizations like the Windsor Terrace Food Coop and the Park Slope Civic Council.
Emily Gallagher
New York State Assembly Member, District 50
Emily Gallagher is an activist, organizer and nonprofit professional who serves as the Assembly member for New York’s 50th District (Greenpoint, Williamsburg Clinton Hill, Ft. Greene, Brooklyn). Gallagher's career has been focused on fostering a relationship of mutual empowerment between local communities and the institutions that serve them. A native of Rochester, New York, Gallagher graduated from Ithaca College in 2006 where she majored in Cinema and Visual Studies with a dual minor in Art and Art History. This path led her to New York City, where she worked several jobs in art galleries and as an artist assistant. During this time, she struggled to make ends meet, sometimes balancing up to five part-time jobs at once. Gallagher developed a deeper sense of the profound inequalities and challenges confronting working people in New York and became passionately interested in the stories of her Greenpoint neighbors, particularly the district’s rich history of local community activism. Eventually, Gallagher transitioned to work in Museum Education in New York City history, including several years at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum and Brooklyn Historical Society. In 2015, she became the Community Affairs Director for Hostelling International, a federation of youth hostels around the world with an iconic location in Harlem, where she worked to improve environmental sustainability and develop deeper cooperation between the tourism industry and the local communities where it operates. A passionate lifelong volunteer, Gallagher spent her free time community organizing in Greenpoint and Williamsburg, eventually becoming the co-chair of the environmental and social justice activist group Neighbors Allied for Good Growth (NAG) from 2008-2015, and penning a weekly column for the local paper, The Greenpoint Star, beginning in 2015. Gallagher focused on the intersectional nature of the problems facing her community, especially around environmental degradation, health inequality, tenants’ rights and a rapidly gentrifying waterfront. After participating in the fight against waterfront luxury re-zonings in 2008, Gallagher joined several grassroots organizations. That fall, she was appointed as a member of Brooklyn Community Board 1. In 2020, Gallagher was elected North Brooklyn’s first new member of the Assembly in nearly 50 years. It is her passion for grassroots activism that brought her to state government, and working for her constituents' needs remains her top priority. Gallagher seeks to bring transformational change to New York, protecting the environment and guaranteeing a dignified life for all.
Andrew Gounardes
Andrew Gounardes
New York State Senator, District 22
State Senator Andrew Gounardes Bio State Senator Andrew Gounardes represents New York’s 22nd State Senate District, which includes the neighborhoods of Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, Gravesend, Gerritsen Beach, Manhattan Beach, and Marine Park. He was elected in November 2018. Senator Gounardes is Chair of the Committee on Civil Service & Pensions and has passed key legislation to expand services to 9/11 heroes and promote street safety, including the landmark school zone speed camera expansion to protect students and families. He is also a champion of the fight to fix the MTA and fund our public schools and universities. Born and raised in Bay Ridge, Senator Gounardes graduated from Fort Hamilton High School and earned degrees from Hunter College and the George Washington University Law School. Senator Gounardes’ passion for public service began as an aide to former City Councilmember Vincent Gentile. He later served as Counsel to Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams for five years and a trustee of the New York City Employees’ Retirement System, one of the largest municipal pension funds in the country. Guided by the principles of philoxenia, a Greek word meaning "love of strangers," he was active in the community long before being elected to office. Following Superstorm Sandy, Andrew co-founded Bay Ridge Cares, an organization that prepared 25,000 hot meals for victims after the storm. A community advocate, he worked with Riders Alliance and Bay Ridge Advocates for Keeping Everyone Safe (B.R.A.K.E.S.) to fight for better transportation and safer streets. Senator Gounardes is also active on issues affecting the Greek community. He is a member of the Hellenic American Leadership Council, a network of Greek-American leaders from across the United States that promote civic involvement, human rights, and democratic values in and between the United States and Greece. He is a founding member of the St. Andrew’s Freedom Forum, an international initiative that raises awareness of the denial of human rights and religious liberties of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of the Eastern Orthodox Church and recognizes religious freedom defenders throughout the world.
Rodneyse Bichotte
Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn
New York State Assembly Member, District 42
Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn is the Assemblymember and State Committee Woman / District Leader for New York State’s 42nd Assembly District. She is also the first Haitian-American woman elected in the city of New York. Assemblymember Bichotte holds the position of Chair of the Subcommittee on Oversight of Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs). Assemblymember Bichotte is the Co-Chair of the New York State Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators Workshops Committee, and has been appointed to Governor Cuomo’s Advisory Council on Domestic Violence, and appointed by Mayor de Blasio’s Advisory Council on Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise. By her second legislative term, Assemblymember Bichotte introduced over 60 pieces of legislation, of which five became law. In addition, the Assemblymember co-sponsored over 200 pieces of legislation. She is notable for the High Profile Bill -The Elimination of the Personal Net Worth Cap. In addition to a business focus, Assemblymember Bichotte has given legislative attention to Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematic (STEM) and criminal justice reform as well as resolutions on international human rights reform. She holds an MBA from Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management, an MS in Electrical Engineering from Illinois Institute of Technology, a BS in Electrical Engineering from SUNY Buffalo, a BS in Mathematics in Secondary Education and a BT in Electrical Engineering -- both from Buffalo State College.
Maritza Davila
New York State Assembly Member, District 53
Maritza Davila was born in Catano, Puerto Rico and moved to Bushwick, Brooklyn as a young girl, where she has lived ever since. As a single mother raising three children in Bushwick, Assemblywoman Davila worked hard to improve her surroundings for her children and for all children who live in the challenging conditions of impoverished neighborhoods. Assemblywoman Davila began her career in public service as a community organizer, giving a voice to community residents on issues of education, healthcare, public safety, affordable housing, open space, and economic development within the communities of Bushwick and Williamsburg. Ms. Davila has served on a number of Boards and Advisory Committees, including that of several community gardens, local New York City Police Department Precincts, and area hospitals. A strong advocate for community access to quality public education, Maritza Davila served as President of the Community School Board of Education of District 32. She is committed to improving the quality and accessibility of educational opportunities for all children. While serving as Director of a state-wide program to increase lead-paint awareness, she cultivated a particular concern for the special educational needs of the large population of children in Bushwick and Williamsburg that suffer from autism, learning and developmental disabilities, and other mental and physical challenges. As a staunch defender of women’s rights, Assemblywoman Davila has supported numerous organizations and initiatives to empower and protect Brooklyn’s women. She was a founding member of the North Brooklyn Coalition Against Domestic Violence and served on its Board for two years, where she helped to prevent family violence in the community through education and intervention. For over 20 years, Assemblywoman Davila has fought to preserve and expand affordable housing in Williamsburg and Bushwick. She has helped to restore hundreds of families to rehabilitated rent-stabilized homes, supported affordable housing development, worked alongside tenant association leaders to improve NYCHA housing, and helped young parents to secure lead paint remediation in their apartments. She also founded the Northern Brooklyn Residents Association, a community advocacy group which supported affordable housing and community development on the city and state level. In 1996, Ms. Davila joined the Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council, where she has helped found a local credit union; organized dozens of merchant, tenant, and block associations; secured lifeline benefits for struggling residents and provided job training and quality affordable housing for hundreds of families throughout Williamsburg and Bushwick. Ms. Davila graduated with her AA in Political Science from Long Island University in 2013. As a lifelong community advocate, she is a strong, vibrant and heartfelt individual who understands through experience the challenges and successes that that her community has faced and will face. Ms. Davila supports her community as a member and as a leader and believes that nothing is impossible. She will continue her fight in Albany as the Member of the Assembly for the 53rd District.
Kevin Parker
New York State Senator, District 21
State Senator Kevin S. Parker is a prominent New York State Legislator who is distinguished as a savvy strategist, brilliant intellectual and an elder statesman. His political prowess evident from the moment he was seated in the New York State Senate in 2002 resulted in a meteoric rise through the ranks. At present he is the 5th Ranking Democratic in Senate leadership. Engendering the trust and respect of his colleagues, Senator Parker was appointed Majority Whip and serves as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy & Telecommunications with the added distinction of being its longest serving member. A fierce champion of economic development, education, energy, domestic violence issues and human and civil rights, Senator Parker represents the intrinsically diverse 21st Senate District in Brooklyn. He is a leading voice nationwide on energy matters and the creator and primary sponsor of Intersolar Summit Northeast, the largest solar energy conference on the East Coast which gathers experts in the field to discuss real solutions to bringing about a solar energy future. With a strong background in the financial services arena, Senator Parker gained invaluable experience in the world of finance at UBS PaineWebber where he worked in government affairs of the Chairman’s office and focused on broad issues of importance to the financial service industry. As Project Manager with the New York State Urban Development Corporation, he financed women and minority-owned businesses and promoted community business redevelopment. As the Special Assistant to former New York State Comptroller H. Carl McCall, Senator Parker managed intergovernmental relations in New York City, and was the liaison between the Comptroller; city, state, and federal elected officials. Also an experienced educator, Senator Parker has been a professor of both African-American Studies and Political Science at several CUNY and SUNY colleges. He received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Public Service from Penn State and holds a Master of Science Degree from the New School for Social Research in Urban Policy and Management. He is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in Political Science at The Graduate Center, CUNY. He is a proud member of the Alpha Chapter of the Pi Eta Honor Society and is oft quoted as saying: Bring good into the world and let no good be lost.”
Kevin Jones
Associate State Director, Advocacy, AARP New York
Kevin was born and raised in Austin and graduated with a B.A. from the University of Texas. He began his political career as a messenger for the Texas House of Representatives and worked his way up to become the Chief of Staff for a House member. Kevin’s intense interest in state and local government led him to Washington D.C where he worked on state policy and advocacy with various trade associations including; the American Bankers Association, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. In 2012 Kevin moved to NYC and began working for a government relations consulting firm where he developed and implemented government relations and public funding strategies for clients on diverse issues including: healthcare, social services, LGBT issues, transportation, land use, finance, tourism and public art. Kevin also worked on a variety of state and federal political campaigns over the years before joining AARP NY as their Associate State Director for Advocacy, covering New York City.

Welcome & Introduction By Zach Williams, City & State NY



Senator Andrew Gounardes, District 22

Senator Roxanne Persaud, District 19

Senator Kevin Parker, District 21

Assembly Member Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn, District 42

Assembly Member Latrice Walker, District 55

Assembly Member Robert Carroll, District 44

Assembly Member Emily Gallagher, District 50

Assembly Member Maritza Davila, District 53

Kevin Jones, Associate State Director, Advocacy, AARP New York


Session Ends

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