Primary Vote: June 23

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Meeks Challenger Asks For Your Vote

My name is Shaniyat Chowdhury, Shan for short, and I’m running for Congress in NY 5. Growing up in Queens, my immigrant Bangladeshi parents and I moved several times in search of economic stability, so I attended public schools across New Jersey and Queens. The 2007 recession hit my family hard. My dad was laid off and later suffered from chronic health problems. My mom worked overtime cleaning hotel rooms, but was still unable to pay all of our bills. We lost our home in the foreclosure crisis and moved back to Queens to stay with family. I worked throughout high school to help my parents stay afloat.

It is because of my experiences and what I’ve witnessed in my community that I believe that housing is a human right. As a veteran of the Marine corps, I understand that we are left behind when our service contract expires. It is impossible to strive for success when every day is spent finding a place to sleep. We need a Federal homes guarantee that directs funding to social housing units for those who need it, a Tenant bill of rights establishing universal rent controls, a national right to lease renewal, and universal access to lawyers for low-income renters. We need representatives who protect housing rights, not fill their pockets with real estate donations.

I also stand for a federal jobs guarantee that will give everyone access to a quality job, which provides healthcare and a living wage. This in turn would allow millions to become competitive in the job market and bargain for better benefits, higher pay, and ethical standards.

Climate change is a global threat. Rising sea levels, beach erosion, and unusual storm patterns are seriously impacting our district. The Rockaways are still recovering from the devastation of superstorm Sandy, which I experienced firsthand as a first responder. Climate issues are disproportionately impacting black and brown communities, and NY-5 is no exception. I support the Green New Deal, which will create sustainable jobs, ensure clean air and water by replacing lead pipes and reducing pollution, lower costs of energy by increasing access to affordable wind and solar power, and encourage community resilience by prioritizing hard hit communities while counteracting systemic racism.

I oppose the Williams pipeline, which would harm our environment by threatening our health, since the seabed that would be dug contains unsafe levels of toxic substances. Also, uprooting the seabed would displace marine life and devastate local habitats. I stand by doing what is necessary to better our environment.

Running for office means enacting change in policies and ideologies because the status quo is failing us. Our community deserves the resources necessary to better our living.

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