I’m Amit Singh Bagga and I’m running for City Council in Sunnyside, Woodside, Long Island City, and Astoria so that New York City can once again be a city of opportunity, dignity, and power – and not just for some, but indeed for all, New Yorkers.
In order to recover from our multi-layered health, political, and economic crises, we will need to focus on the things working families in our city need the most while at the same time pursuing long-overdue racial and gender justice.
With the right combination of ingenuity, commitment, and tactics, we can:
- Expand healthcare access that leaves not a single New Yorker behind, whether you’re undocumented, unemployed, or a gig worker;
- Stabilize housing for all New Yorkers, whether you’re living in a basement, renting an apartment, living in NYCHA, you own a small home, or you are experiencing homelessness;
- Create green jobs with economic mobility so that we’re putting New Yorkers back to work with those employers that offer a universal ladder for growth and protect workers’ rights;
- Provide safe and enriching public schools by using 2020 design solutions to 1920 problems where possible, installing vents, and testing kids universally so that education happens in the classroom and not behind a screen at home;
- Fund immigrants and workers by creating a dedicated fund to invest public and philanthropic dollars and energy to ensuring excluded New Yorkers have access to social and legal services and employment assistance;
- Revive small businesses and restaurants by spending our tax dollars on pencils, printers, and produce in Sunnyside, Queens instead of Sunnyvale, California, while also fighting for commercial rent control;
- Re-imagine policing and re-invest those dollars into services, education, and civic engagement so that we can work to dismantle systemic racism, fight poverty, and build power.
These are of course just some important, foundational ideas. There are several additional battles that must be fought alongside these: ending maternal deaths, legalizing sex work, continuing to fight gender inequities in pay and workforce participation, bringing music, dance, and theater truly back to life, and much more.
I understand why all this is needed – and what it takes to get it done.
I’m a native New Yorker, and proud to be queer, South Asian, the son of immigrants, and a product of our public schools.
I’ve also been on the front lines for nearly 15 years, fighting for immigrants, workers, consumers, families, as well as Black, Brown, and LGBTQ+ New Yorkers through campaigns, non-profits, and most extensively, through federal and city government.
This means that I both know what the issues are, what it takes to address them. I know how to take a big, complicated ideas about how to lift the floor for working and marginalized people and push and pull every lever of government to make these visions a reality (and quickly).
Most recently, in the middle of the pandemic and amid near-daily attacks from the White House, I ran the City's first-of-its-kind census campaign, the nation's largest, through which we assisted in counting more than 470,000 households, thereby achieving a historic response rate for NYC that outpaced most major cities, including Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Dallas, Atlanta, Boston, Philadelphia, and several others;
As soon as COVID-19 hit New York, I re-imagined this $40 million campaign on a dime by pivoting a vast in-person operation to one that largely relied on innovative ways of reaching the “hardest to reach” New Yorkers. By the end, we’d sent more than seven (7) million texts and made more than four (4) million phone calls to New Yorkers and served the city’s residents, and served New Yorkers in more than 80 languages.
In addition to leading this unprecedented campaign, I have:
- written and implemented first-of-their-kind laws protecting fast food workers, freelancers, paid care workers, immigrants, and consumers in the workplace and marketplace;
- steered the City through relentless attacks from the Trump Administration to our public health and welfare systems;
- directly assisted more than 1,000 immigrant families reunite with their loved ones, become green card holders or citizens, and even gain asylum.
This has all been accomplished by working from both inside and outside; building trust with communities so that their needs can be truly represented and addressed from within government. This work has also given me unique insight into how we can make our $80-plus billion budget work for all of us, particularly those of us most in need.
Millions have come to New York City over hundreds of years because it has been the center of opportunity – both for families and for individuals. For just as along, however, too many in our city have suffered from systemic oppression that’s locked them out of opportunity.
In order for New York City to support New Yorkers, who truly make our city what it is, we have to be able to both address the needs of the present while also planning for our future.
This is the opportunity, dignity, and power of the people of Queens deserve, and I hope to have the chance to serve them in our collective pursuit of all three.