NEW YORK—Council member Andy King was elected for New York City Council in 2012 to represent the 12th District in the Bronx, which includes the neighborhoods of Baychester, Eastchester, Edenwald, Olinville, Wakefield, Williamsbridge, Woodlawn.
What was your biggest achievement in 2013?
King’s biggest accomplishment in 2013 was being able to find $1.3 million to make sure that one of the oldest daycare centers in the community NAACP Williamsbridge Early Learning Center remains open. He said the institution has had a vital impact in the community for over 40 years. Also, he’s excited about passing a bill which requires the Department of Education to provide information to parents and children about college saving plans when they enter kindergarten, then 6th grade, 9th grade, and if they transfer schools. He wants young people and parents to understand the importance of higher education early on in life. Also it’s a way to keep young people interested in achieving high grades and giving them the option of pursuing a college degree, without relying on grants and scholarships. “Education is the key to being a successful person,” King said.
What will you be focusing on this year?
This year King will focus on a few things. He will stay committed to the early learning centers and after-school programs, because he believes that the education system provides young people with access to everything they need. He wants to make sure that people have access to all kinds of education options, so that they have the skills needed for the jobs that are on the market. “When you provide people with certain options, positive options, they make better decisions in life,” he said.
What are some of the issues your constituents are concerned about?
Housing for the working people is a big concern. King has been meeting with developers to establish some kind of affordable housing for working people in new buildings. Immigration services in the community will be another commitment of King’s. He wants to provide incoming immigrants with more access to understand the immigration process and access to paperwork.
Safety is another issue in the district. “We need to continue to work with our officers,” he says. Although there’s challenges with officers, King will continue to expand his initiatives like the NYPD meet with youth program. Employment opportunities are also pressing. The district will soon welcome the largest indoor mall in NY state, and King sat down with developers to discuss the hiring process to make sure that people in the neighboring area are given first priority on job openings.
One thing that King asks in return is some participation from the community. “If you want the community to pay attention to you, you have to participate,” he said. He called on the community members to show up to community meetings.
If you had a coat of arms, what would it be, and why?
King recently reveled a District Flag, with the slogan “The resiliency of our future lies in the resiliency of our past.” There’s a crest, a chief who fought the last standing battle against the colonialists and won, there’s the North river that flows through the Bronx, the farmland, the land mass that connects to the mainland. There’s a Star of David at the top that has the number 12 inside it. The number represents the different groups of people from the era of Christ, except today those groups are Jamaican, Haitian, Puerto Rican, Cubans, Mexicans, and others. “We’ve got to bring unity back to our community,” King said “In order to be successful as a community, you have to be a community.”
Epoch Times is interviewing members of the 2014 New York City Council to find out what their biggest achievements were last year and what they hope to accomplish in this one. For a list of all council member articles in this project, click here.