Brian Benjamin, incumbent—Democrat, Working Families
Democrat LaShawn Henry did not respond.
What is your position on rent regulation, what work have you done in the past to further that position, and if elected, what would you do in 2019?
Rent-regulated units are an essential part of New York City’s affordable housing stock. I am proud to be the sponsor or cosponsor of bills to end vacancy and luxury decontrol, end predatory preferential rent increases, and to tie the rent increases ofr rent-controlled apartments to those in rent-stabilized apartments. With the rent laws up for renewal in 2019, I will fight for all of these, and for strong, fair rent regulations.
What do you believe is the biggest issue facing the New York City Housing Authority, and how would you address it?
As the state senator for Harlem, East Harlem, and the Upper West Side, I have more NYCHA developments in the district I represent than any other state senator. NYCHA needs the funding it needs to make repairs (particularly to heat and hot water), and it needs the tools to deliver those changes quickly, such as design-build authority. To make sure the work is focused, I meet quarterly with all the NYCHA tenant association presidents in my district.
Do you believe that there is a need for more affordable housing in New York, and if so, what would you do to meet that need?
Before I was elected, I built affordable housing, so I know we can’t just build our way out of this crisis—we need to preserve the housing we have. That means protecting rent-regulated apartments, it means funding NYCHA, and it means expanding programs like Mitchell-Lamas as well as HDFCs. We also need to require nonprofit and for-profit developers to build income-targeted affordable housing that is accessible to the communities that need it.
What would you do to address the homelessness in New York State?
I support not only homeless shelters, but also supportive housing. We also need to make sure that people re-entering society after being through the criminal-justice system are given the tools they need to get back on their feet. That includes access to health care and ensuring they aren’t barred from employment opportunities.
What is your position regarding campaign-finance reform?
I support campaign-finance reform.