Meng Calls For Commemorative Postage Stamp Honoring Chinese Immigrant Laborers

    U.S. Rep. Grace Meng

    U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Bayside, Flushing,Forest Hills, Fresh Meadows, Glendale, Kew Gardens, Maspeth, Middle Village, Rego Park), yesterday joined 34 other Congressional members, including seven senators, in sending a letter to the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee to recommend the issuance of a commemorative postage stamp honoring the Chinese immigrant laborers who helped build America’s first Transcontinental Railroad from 1865-1869.

    Meng sent the letter for the upcoming 150th anniversary of the railroad’s completion which will be on May 10, 2019.

    The Transcontinental Railroad, which connected the nation from coast-to-coast, has long been considered one of the most remarkable engineering feats of the 19th century. Nearly 12,000 Chinese immigrants worked in the construction of the railroad, comprising more than 80% of the workforce of the Central Pacific Railroad Company, and nearly 1,200 of them died from work-related accidents when tasked with the most difficult and dangerous assignments.

    “Almost 150 years ago, thousands of Chinese railroad workers, through their sweat, blood, and labor, made enormous contributions to our country by bridging together the east and west coasts of our nation,” said Meng. “It is important for us to commemorate their efforts, and recognize their stories, so that their role in America’s history is not forgotten. These workers endured both the arduous physical labor of constructing a railroad and the emotional trauma of being discriminated. I am thankful for all they did to help the United States grow and prosper and for the important mark they left in the Asian American community. It’s time to award them with this long overdue recognition.”

    Miller Lauds Council Passage of DCAS Provisional Reduction Plan Reporting Bill

    Councilmember I. Daneek Miller

    City Council Member I. Daneek Miller (D-Cambria Heights, Hollis, Jamaica, St. Albans, Queens Village, Springfield Gardens) yesterday lauded the  passage of his legislation, Introduction 1235, which requires the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) to provide the City Council with its provisional employee reduction plan.

    “Government agencies hire provisional employees to fill positions of need when they’re unable to identify qualified candidates, but an over-dependence on these workers has the dual effect of depriving them of the labor protections enjoyed by permanent hires and removing ladders of opportunity for civil service aspirants to earn well-paying jobs that promote middle class growth. Our City has historically struggled to adhere to the State law that mandates provisional workers be employed no greater than nine months,” said Miller.

    “Introduction 1235 will require DCAS to provide the Council with a copy of its latest comprehensive plan to further reduce the number of provisional employees currently on the City’s payroll. I thank Speaker Johnson and my colleagues for supporting the passage of this key reporting measure. In my role as Civil Service and Labor Chair, I will continue to help improve our community’s access to the civil service jobs that help grow our economy and provide a quality standard of living for all,” he added.

    Kim Introduces Measure To End Local Government Giving Corporate Welfare Packages  

    Assemblymember Ron Kim

    Assemblymember Ron Kim (D-Whitestone, Flushing, College Point, Murray Hill) this week announced legislation that he is sponsoring with State Sen. Julia Salazar (D-Brooklyn) to end the practice of municipal and state governments enacting corporate welfare packages for specific companies in New York.

    Their proposal comes in the wake of the $3 billion deal offered to Amazon to locate its HQ2 in New York City, the announcement of which was met with sustained and forceful opposition by countless New Yorkers.

    Kim and Salazar have been communicating with state legislators across the country on ways to end the practice of offering company-specific subsidies, especially given that no studies have shown a meaningful connection between such “economic development” programs and meaningful economic growth.

    The bill would enact a collective agreement between all states that join to end the costly “Race to the Bottom” practice, which has cost many states billions annually in taxpayers’ money over several decades. Their colleagues in Illinois and Arizona have already introduced similar versions of the bill in their own state legislative bodies, and other lawmakers from states as far and diverse as Florida and Connecticut have expressed comparable support and intentions in the near future.

    “When municipalities and states bend over backwards for the chance to give billions to mega-companies, we all lose. In the last few decades, corporate welfare has extracted untold amounts of resources from our communities, money that could have been used to boost affordable housing, improve transportation infrastructure, and adequately fund our public school systems,” said Kim.

    “It is time to end the practice of subsidizing multinational corporations without transparency, accountability, or results under the guise of economic development, and to start investing in the working families and small businesses that represent the lifeblood of our country,” he added.

    Weprin Statement on Anti-Semitic Comments of Congresswoman Ilhan Omar

    Assembly Member David Weprin

    Assemblyman David Weprin (D–Fresh Meadows, Richmond Hill), co-president of the National Association of Jewish Legislators, yesterday strongly condemned U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) anti-Semitic remarks over Twitter singling out Jewish money that controlled Congress and that Jews “Hypnotize” the world.

    Omar has since apologized for her remarks, but continues to remain controversial and outspoken.

    “At this divisive time in our country when horrific acts of anti-Semitism are on the rise, we cannot allow hateful discourse that perpetuates offensive and tired tropes about the role of Jewish influence in American politics to proliferate in our society,” said Weprin.

    “Rep. Ilhan Omar’s use of anti-Semitic stereotypes is reprehensible and will not be tolerated in our political discourse at the national, state, or local level. I urge all Americans to intensify their efforts to condemn ignorance and malice wherever it may appear,” he added.

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