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Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney has passed over 80 measures during her time in the House and has plans to achieve much more. Here’s her West Side Story.
So, what’s your New York story? Born here, or just arrived?
My name is Carolyn Maloney. I’m a mother, a former educator, and the Congresswoman representing New York’s 12th District. My husband and I raised two daughters here in Manhattan.
My New York story starts in East Harlem. My first job was teaching English as a second language. When funding for the program was cut, I went to Albany to fight to get it back. That experience changed my life. I could see the power of government to do bold, progressive things to help people, so I went to work in Albany!
Later, I ran for City Council and became the first woman to give birth while in office. In 1992, I ran for Congress and have been fighting for my constituents ever since. Since being elected, I have had 12 bills signed into law by Presidents. Some of this historic legislation includes the Card Act that saves YOU the consumer over $16 Billion in late fees according to the CFPB, the Postal Service Reform Act that I just passed this year with 120 Republican co-sponsors that saves $50B for the USPS over 10 years, the September 11th Victims Compensation, and the Never Again Holocaust Education Act. Just to name a few. I’ve been busy!!
In the wake of the outrageous draft from SCOTUS, I will work harder than ever to protect a woman’s right to choose and pass the Equal Rights Amendment. This is a unique moment, and we need women in leadership more than ever.
How did you end up in Hell’s Kitchen?
Hell’s Kitchen is an incredible neighborhood and is now included in the new 12th Congressional District that I am running to represent on August 23. The Hells Kitchen Democrats endorsed me a few weeks back:
“Hell’s Kitchen Democrats is proud to endorse Carolyn Maloney,” said Christine Christine Gorman, President, Hell’s Kitchen Democrats. “With reproductive and LGTBQ+ rights so clearly under attack, we need a strong leader like Carolyn, who has a proven track record of fighting for her constituents and their values. As an independent, progressive voice for Hell’s Kitchen, the club looks forward to working with her for the common good.”
I am thrilled and grateful for my growing support on the West Side for my reelection, and can’t wait to represent you.
More West Side Stories
What’s your favorite thing about Hell’s Kitchen?
The restaurant options.
And what’s your Hell’s Kitchen pet peeve?
So many great places to see, so little time!
Did you stay put when the pandemic hit or did you find an escape for some of the time?
I was right here in New York City the entire time. I was focused on delivering billions of dollars for our City to support COVID relief — to fund vaccines, to bring PPE to the city for hospitals and health workers, for rent relief, and to keep the doors of our small businesses open. I am most proud of having built two vaccine and health care centers at public housing developments in my district. It’s great to see how the city has bounced back, as New Yorkers always do.
What did you do for work pre-COVID? What are you doing now?
I work for you as a member of Congress — before and after COVID. And I’m hoping the people from the 12th Congressional district will vote to keep me in office!
What’s the most interesting thing that you’ve learned during the pandemic?
I’ve learned how much I value personal contact with my constituents – Zoom has its advantages, but there’s nothing like the personal interaction.
Tell us one thing that’s given you hope during the pandemic?
The optimistic spirit of New Yorkers
What’s the most serendipitous (random/obscure/ insane) experience that’s happened to you in Hell’s Kitchen?
Walking through the 9th Avenue Food Festival and having one of the best meals I’ve ever had, a little at a time from one stall after another.
What’s your closest brush with world fame and celebrity?
In my line of work, you get to meet a lot of famous people – and I’ve been fortunate to work with many well-known people. But I think one of the ones that has been most meaningful to me has been my friendship with Carole King. In my first term in Congress, she was looking for a sponsor for legislation to preserve the largest unspoiled ecosystem in the United States – and that’s why I introduced the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act. I’ve been working on it ever since, and I’m determined to pass it. But from that meeting came an incredible friendship that has lasted many decades – a friendship that goes beyond lobbying and advocacy.
What’s your superpower?
Persistence — change doesn’t come easy, but it will come if you never quit. I didn’t quit on our 9/11 responders and survivors and now they have healthcare for life. I didn’t quit on passing credit card reform, saving YOU the consumer, $16 Billion dollars a year. I didn’t quit when people told me the 2nd Avenue Subway was never going to be built. Because of my super power — persistence — I am one of the most effective members of Congress, and have been consistently ranked as one of the top two or three most effective members of Congress by independent good governance groups.
What song do you sing at the top of your voice in the shower?
You’ve Got a Friend by Carole King.
Which people inspire you the most?
People who have made a difference with their lives
What’s your favorite quote or saying?
“Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.“ — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Do you love Times Square? Why, or why not?
I love Times Square – it’s the crossroads of the world. They say if you stand there long enough, everyone you’ve ever met will pass through.
Do you love Hudson Yards? Why, or why not?
Hudson Yards is in Hell’s Kitchen but isn’t really a part of it. On the plus side, the developer of Hudson Yards took an area that was inaccessible and industrial, and opened it up so that it’s available to New Yorkers. I hope as years pass, it will develop more of a personality and become more integrated into the city and the community. It has potential – I love going and seeing people enjoying the view, sitting in folding chairs and soaking up the atmosphere. I love that there’s a new cultural venue and some interesting restaurants. But I wish that it felt less like a tourist trap and more like a place that engaged with the community.
If you could bring one thing (person/place/event) back to HK that is no longer around, what would it be?
Manganaro’s six-foot heroes were a classic. They were served at so many events. I can’t believe they don’t exist any longer.
Add your shameless plug or personal profile?
Vote on August 23! It’s been an honor to represent the people of my district in Congress, and I’m ready to go above and beyond to earn the trust and support of voters in the new NY-12.
I’m a proven progressive leader with a proven track record of delivering results, and never backing down from a fight… I’m proud of my record, but I’m not done fighting for New York. I work for you, and am asking for your support.
Hell’s Kitchen isn’t the only organization to endorse me. Gloria Steinem, Christine Quinn, Hazel Dukes, Stonewall Democrats, NOW, Emily’s List, and more have endorsed me in this race, along with Planned Parenthood, NARAL, AIPAC and more. See my full list of endorsements here: www.carolynmaloney.com/endorsements.
Early voting has started now until August 21, and Election Day is August 23: www.carolynmaloney.com/how-to-vote-on-august-23.
Anything we missed?
I’ll end with this: Manhattan residents need an experienced, progressive Congressmember to fight first to preserve rights for women and the LGBTQ+ community we thought were already settled, and to push to enshrine those rights and more for all of us. I am not the first woman in leadership to be asked to step aside for a man. I’m not about to step aside at such a critical moment in our history as a city and a nation when the stakes are so high.
Hell’s Kitchen Happy Places
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater — As a young person growing up, I wanted to be a ballet dancer. I still love going to see people dance.
I love the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum — I love being able to see groundbreaking technology close up. I love seeing the Gemini 3 space capsule and the Enterprise prototype orbiter for the space shuttle program.
Gotham West Market — Many choices and lots of happy people.
Hudson River Park — I love parks – the flowers, the fountains, the green and open spaces. I love the piers and the chance to look at the Hudson River.
Restaurant Row — I love the variety of options and the fact that all of the restaurants know how to get you to the theater on time.
Architecture — I love the mix of old tenements and apartment buildings. I love that buildings that were built for middle class families are still occupied by middle class families, and that so many people from the theater community can find convenient places to live. Hell’s Kitchen has a great neighborhood feel. I love walking around and seeing the architectural details. It makes you happy just to walk around the streets.
Bella Abzug Park — I’m truly thrilled that there’s a park named after my great friend and mentor Bella Abzug. She was truly one of a kind. And when I need inspiration, I always take out some of her old speeches and read them.