Advocates Respond to Speaker Heastie’s Massive Out-of-District Contributions, Demand that He Pass Progressive Legislation



Contact: Andrea Bichan,, 551-427-6280

In response to today’s NY Daily News coverage of a Reinvent Albany report that Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie “raked in $763,686 during the last election year, but only a single $50-donation came from a constituent of his district”, VOCAL-NY released the following statement attributed to VOCAL-NY Lead Organizer, Jawanza Williams and HIV/AIDS Campaigns Coordinator Jason Walker.

“Just weeks ago we were called “brainwashed” “Uncle Toms” in the New York Times by allies of Speaker Heastie who were angry that we protested his sudden refusal to support publicly-financed elections. A handful of well-paid lobbyists and organizers-for-hire were quoted defending the Speaker as a leader dedicated to the interests of his Bronx constituents, and painting us as traitors who would disrespect “progressive” Black leadership.

Today’s report is vindication for us and all other members of the Black left who are sick and tired of the constant roadblocks, red tape, and corruption in Albany. It turns out that $25,000-a-plate dinners are just the tip of the iceberg–there are 763,686 reasons to protest, and 763,686 reasons why the Speaker’s allies are so sensitive to criticism of the Speaker’s leadership. No New Yorker of any race, class, or ethnicity would deny that the massive amount of corporate contributions the Speaker receives influences the issues he cares about. He has ignored critical issues like homelessness and overdose that disproportionately impact his district in the Bronx. He has backed down against Governor Cuomo on major issues like marijuana legalization despite the restorative impact it would have on Black and brown New Yorkers and their communities. And while he talks tough about his support for eight of the nine most critical demands for tenant reform, all eyes should be focused on whether they are actually passed through the Assembly.  The Speaker will get our respect when he starts passing this crucial and lifesaving legislation.”


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