New York City Council 2014: Annabel Palma

By Kristina Skorbach, Epoch Times
February 19, 2014 Updated: February 24, 2014

NEW YORK—Council member Annabel Palma was first elected to the New York City Council in 2004 to represent District 18 including the Bronx neighborhoods of Parkchester, Soundview, Castle Hill, Classon Point, and Harding Park.

What was your biggest achievement in 2013?

In the past two years, Council member Palma held the position of General Welfare Committee chair while leading a fight against former mayor Michael Bloomberg’s plan to cut funds from child care and after-school programs.

“These programs help not only kids succeed in school and beyond, but also parents maintain jobs and provide for their families,” she said in an email.

Palma was also directing funding to many deserving capital projects in her district which include affordable housing, school library renovations, and new computer and science labs, that will give kids “a better environment and more tools to learn and thrive.”

What will you be focusing on this year?

As a strong advocate for the homeless Palma wants to continue pushing for more programs that prevent homelessness to move people into permanents housing. Her district lacks meaningful transit alternatives, which in turn limit the locals’ access to jobs, and limits growth.

“I want to push for transit options, like ferry service to Manhattan business districts, Metro North stops in the Bronx, and more Select Bus Service routes,” she said.

Although over the ten years she’s been in her district, she saw improvements like better school services, safer streets, and more well-paying jobs, those improvements are what she wants to keep building on. Her vision is a community where “more working men and women can find affordable places to raise their families, and safely send their children off to good public schools, knowing that they’ll be prepared for college or a career when they graduate.”

What are some of the issues your constituents are concerned about?

Much like in other districts, her constituents are concerned about housing, education, and jobs, which are “the very basic building blocks for families to maintain stability and successfully provide for themselves,” Palma said.

If you had a coat of arms, what would it be, and why?

The council member’s Coat of Arms would include an image of a helping hand, as she “grew up in a household that struggled to make ends meet.” She then found herself in a difficult situation as a single teen parent, who only with the help of others found a job that paid living wages. She received healthcare benefits, and went back to school.

“It is this personal experience that motivates me day in and day out to make government’s helping hand–its services and programs–accessible to all New Yorkers,” Palma said.

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.