Equity Matters, Experience Matters
Kevin Parker is running for re-election to ensure an equitable, greener and fairer New York City.
Senator Parker is committed to ensuring that we have law enforcement that serves and protects, but does so with dignity and respect. To that end Senator Parker has been the vanguard of this work by passing numerous laws, including the creation of a body-worn cameras program for New York State Police (S8493, 2020), establishing the state’s “Law Enforcement Misconduct Investigative Office” (S3253A, 2020), and reaffirming the right for New Yorkers to record law enforcement during their interactions with the public (S3253A, 2020). Moreover, he continues to carry legislation which will build on this work, including being the first Senate sponsor in the history of the state which ends qualified immunity . Some of his other bill proposals include setting a legal definition for use of force and when it may be justified (S6615), continuing law enforcement education requirements (S2912), the “New York Police Use of Force Restraint Act” (S1551), and creating a residency requirement for NYPD police officers to live in the five boroughs of New York City. This vision will help us to continue to create a diverse, accountable, and professional policing culture in the State of New York which we can all be proud of.
As a born and raised New Yorker, Senator Parker knows that we must have a grip on crime to ensure public safety in the City and State of New York. But he also acknowledges that many of these issues have been caused by a lack of economic opportunity for the most vulnerable in our state. To make certain of safety in New York, Senator Parker has made laws which criminalize the possession or manufacturing of undetectable firearms (S1414A, 2019), creating a legal penalty for the misuse of 911 by wrongfully calling the police on individuals of a protected class (2020), and making it a felony to physically injure a MTA station cleaner or a sanitation worker. Also, public safety often is a consequence of mismanagement of mental health related issues, where police officers are called to respond in situations. Hence, one of the bills Senator Parker has introduced will create a mental health unit in law enforcement which will act as non-police response to respond to 911 calls of mental health related incidents.
As the Chair of the Senate’s committee on Energy & Telecommunications, Senator Parker is a leading voice on building a sustainable future, and a green collar economy in New York. Along with his Senate colleagues, Sen. Parker was instrumental in passing the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), which is the nation’s most aggressive set of climate goals, and aims to make 100% of New York’s energy carbon-free by the year 2040. Senator Parker has also been the primary sponsor of state laws which created the NYS Environmental Justice Advisory Board and the Environmental Justice Interagency Coordinating Council (S6958, 2020), studying improving high-performance efficiency in commercial office buildings (S6160, 2018), requiring energy utilities to provide New Yorkers with a consumer’s bill of rights (S2361C, 2010), and the creation of the NYS Energy Planning Board (S2501B, 2009). As one the most progressive Senators on climate he plans to develop on this trajectory by having proposed legislation like the Community and Climate Investment Act (S4246A), Clean Fuel Standard (S2926A), prohibiting the sale of single use plastics statewide (S5888) and creating a robust EV-charging system on the state’s highways with the “Electric Super Highway Act” (S3288).
Being a proud product of New York City public schools, and also knowing its power as being the true equalizer in our society. Senator Parker has been committed to provide every New Yorker with an accessible and high quality scholastic journey in K-12 and higher education. Senator Parker and his partners in government have ensured that the State of New York spends the highest amount of money per K-12 student in the entire country. Also, he partnered with other elected officials in state government to pass the historic Excelsior scholarship program, which creates a free tuition college model for low income families. Moreover, he has championed into law a provision which codifies Educational Opportunity Centers in the State University of New York so that they continue to uplift students from lower socio-economic conditions and put them on a pathway to a higher education. As he looks on to the future, Senator Parker has sponsored bills like the TACTIC Act (S5161), and a proposal which will make tuition, books & fees free for New York State and City employees who are SUNY or CUNY students (S5635).
Senator Parker has lived a life similar to many New Yorkers by growing up in public housing along with his family. This showed him first hand, what our housing system looks like and people of color are systematically excluded from being able to achieve their “American Dream” of owning their own homes. With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, Senator Parker affirmed the rights of New Yorkers to housing regardless of financial circumstance by voting for the evictions and foreclosure moratorium so New Yorkers can continue to live in their homes without fear of losing it due to financial instability caused by the pandemic. He has also brought a major win for Brooklyn residents by passing a state law which makes parts of the 21st Senatorial District zones ceases and desist zones for aggressive real estate companies to gentrify our community by buying out properties from long-standing residents of the area (S2929B, 2021). Also, he has made a state law which studies the causes and effects of homelessness for veterans in the state. He will continue to be an advocate to have more workforce housing, more resources for NYCHA residents, and to fight the foreclosure crisis so that all New Yorkers can continue their dream of owning a home.
As the chair of the Senate’s Energy and Telecommunications committee, Senator Parker has ensured that New Yorkers are connected into the 21st century by having their connectivity needs adequately met. By passing state laws which study the full implementation of 5G service in New York (S2356, 2019), prohibiting utilities to put any fees on telephone bills without the customer’s consent (S2665, 2021), and requiring under law that victims of domestic violence be released from any utility contracts they may be in with their abusers. Also, in an effort for transparency and to empower New Yorkers, Senator Parker made it illegal for utilities to charge customers to pay for lobbying government entities (S1556, 2021). Senator Parker was also instrumental in bringing forth a low-income internet package ($15/month), and giving NYCHA residents access to free broadband. The Senator looks forward to continuing to have New Yorkers be connected with high speed broadband, making digital privacy a reality, building a net neutrality model, and a stellar infrastructure so New York is a global model for telecommunications.
Being the most senior African American Senator in the New York State Senate, Senator Parker has a deep and personalized understanding of why there is more effort needed to empower all underrepresented communities. He was the Senate sponsor who passed into law Juneteenth as a state holiday (S2987, 2021), created a law which declares racism as a public health crisis (S2987A), and have the state publish annual reports relating to diversity in state government (S4746, 2021). Moreover, after seeing that COVID disportionately affected people of color, Senator Parker passed a state law which conducted a study on the impacts of COVID-19 on minority communities. He also looks forward to passing his bills which will make Kwanza a state holiday, and both Eids a holiday in public schools. Also, being an Africana Studies professor, Senator Parker is continuing to bring attention to the issue by elevating the academic and legislative discourse on past injustices against people of color, and how to rectify them through public policy.
In the State of New York, no one should struggle to make an honest living with a living wage and benefits. Senator Parker has always fought to level the economic playing field by proposing an equity model when it comes to creating economic opportunities. Since corporate giants are not going to come and bail out the working class people of New York, he has passed into law a program which will increase contracting opportunities for Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprises (MWBE’s) in the state (S6418A, 2019). He also worked with then-Governor Patterson to pass laws which gave more procurement money and a heightened awareness of contracted MWBE’s for business with the state. Senator Parker was also a critical voice in the legalization marijuana and hemp which will open many economic doorways for individuals who were operating in the business in the shadows due to fear of legal retribution. Moreover, he has also introduced bills which will create a universal basic income program in the State of New York (S6552), and create a program to pay NCAA college athletes who are not paid for their talents (S5891C). As the beacon of opportunity, Senator Parker knows that New York will continue to be the epitome of the American Dream where everyone can have a piece of its economic fruits.
Ensuring that everyone is part of the health system is the hallmark of a healthy society. Senator Parker has passed numerous laws like creating an autism detection and education program (S2911, 2021), ensuring blind or hard of sight people have an equal chance at adoption (S4407, 2021), establishing an educational program to bring awareness to mental health among military service members (S3200A), and establishing a Lupus fund to educate New Yorkers about the condition (S5489A, 2018). Moreover, he passed into law special license plates for both Sickle Cell Disease and Lupus, to raise funds for research on the diseases. Senator Parker was also proud to ensure that New York has a healthy and well paid healthcare staff by voting in favor of safe staffing for nurses across the state, with the added distinction of being the original prime sponsor of the bill.
The State of New York and the City of New York deserve to have nation-leading transportation systems. To that end, Senator Parker has advocated numerous times for ensuring that fares are low, and connectivity across all urban and rural areas is a priority. Moreover, as an advocate of bringing a high speed rail train system in the state, he has introduced legislation which will create a “High Speed Rail Planning Board” (S5384). Local to the City of New York, Senator Parker has been the leading voice of protecting the commuter van industry. By introducing legislation which allows them to hail passengers (S5320), and for them to have affordable insurance through a captive insurance program (S8255). Senator Parker understands the mobility and economic opportunity these commuter vans bring to our communities, specifically to the City of New York.
In March of 2020, when virtually all offices of elected officials were not operating, Senator Parker ensured that there were no interruptions in his service to the 21st district. He ramped up his constituent services for cases specifically relating to pandemic assistance, connecting residents to medical services, and distributed food items in the district. Following the financial strain that New Yorkers were under, in his capacity as Chair of the Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee, Senator Parker was the prime sponsor of a law twice, which put a hold on utilities being able to shut service for non-payment for residents who were negatively impacted by the pandemic. Due to this the utilities New Yorkers were guaranteed from not being shut off included Electricity, Natural Gas, Water, Broadband, Cable & Telephone. Continuing on that work, Senator Parker passed the Excluded Workers Fund, a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures for New Yorkers.
Champion for New Americans (Immigration)
The State of New York is the beacon of the American Dream. New York has and always will be committed to ensuring that everyone has the same rights and privileges regardless of their immigration status. Having sat on the Senate’s New Americans Task Force, Senator Parker understood the many inequities still entrenched in the system. That is why he ensured that he proudly voted in favor of the DREAM Act, which opens the doors of higher education to thousands of students, providing access to the new Excelsior Scholarship, the Tuition Assistance Program, as well as other state‐administered scholarships that were not previously available to them. He also was the original bill sponsor, and voted in favor of the “Green Light” law which gives undocumented immigrants the ability to have state issued driver’s license so they can have dignity of travelling in their own vehicles. He also continues to be a tireless supporter of our immigration population by introducing bills which tackle the issue of language access, especially in public schools.
CIVIL RIGHTS PROTECTION
Senator Kevin Parker is a tremendous example of what it means to be a public servant. Through his legislative/ humanitarian efforts, everyday people are being connected to frameworks that were not always accessible. He intentionally engages people where they are. As a Brooklyn resident, I’ve benefited from his transformative and sustainable efforts including: infrastructure, health equity, and health care.
Monique C. Gore-Massy
Senator Kevin Parker is a remarkable champion for his constituents! He’s always been very enthusiastic and collaborative with LupusChat and other lupus community organizations and is very involved in helping us improve life for people living with lupus and their families.
Senator Parker's has been a great help to me and my family. During the start of the pandemic I was having trouble getting in contact with unemployment for my benefits. Once I reached out to Senator Parker's office and informed them of my situation, they were able to get me in contact with the Department of Labor immediately and the next day a representative from DOL called me to walk with me through the process and I started receiving my benefits. I am so grateful to know that his office is not only here in the community but proactive!