As the City emerges from its Covid-19 restrictions and marches forward on a new path to prosperity, there is one clear choice to represent the Upper East Side in City Council. Many of the eight candidates vying to replace outgoing Councilman Ben Kallos, who is vacating the seat to run for Manhattan Borough President, have similar positions on the issues. However, one candidate has a unique understanding of issues facing our most vulnerable neighbors here on the Upper East Side, who we cant allow to be left behind. That’s why for a better future, Upper East Site endorses Rebecca Lamorte for City Council, District 5.
Rebecca Lamorte’s extensive disability justice platform is a transformational plan to make our city a more equitable place for the more than one in ten New Yorkers living with a disability. “As a disabled New Yorker, I will not allow the needs of the disabled community–my community–to continue to be overlooked.” Rebecca promises, “Disability justice, accessibility, and inclusion will be at the center of every decision I make in office.”
More than one million New Yorkers admit to living with a disability, many suffering silently in a city that simply was never designed to be accessible to the disabled. Fewer than a quarter of MTA subway stations are handicap accessible. Bus service cuts and blocked bus stops have a disparate impact on the disabled and seniors. However, the struggles go much further than transportation. Living with a disability is intersectional, it affects every facet of life.
“I live on the 3rd floor of a five-story walk-up and there’s going to be a moment in my life where I physically won’t be able to walk up the flights of stairs anymore to get to my home,” Lamorte recently told TAPInto Sutton Place. At some point in their lives, many New Yorkers will be in this very same position, which is why it’s imperative to have Lamorte’s voice in the room when decisions are made.
Rebecca herself is a disabled New Yorker with limited mobility as a result of degenerative nerve condition after being pushed on the Subway and falling into the gap between the platform and train. Now, eight years later, it’s Lamorte’s lived-experience as a disabled New Yorker trying to navigate a city never built for them, that makes her uniquely qualified to take the lead on accessibility. Her perspective is one not many in politics share.
Ms. Lamorte is even tackling a lack of accessibility and inclusion in the election process. Organizing dozens of local candidates to urge the City’s Campaign Finance Board to exempt accessibility services like captioning and American Sign Language translation from matching-funds spending limits. “Campaigns should not be penalized for wanting to meet, accommodate, and support a more diverse group of New Yorkers,” the petition reads.
Upper East Site shares Rebecca’s values that a better future is a more accessible future. As Ms. Lamorte says, “disabled New Yorkers should not only survive but thrive.”
Disability justice is not the only issue Lamorte is focused on. Serving on Community Board 8 since 2017, Lamorte is currently a member of the Transportation and Housing committees. If elected to City Council, mandating affordable housing on new construction to keep Upper East Siders from being priced out of their neighborhoods, protecting our green space and pushing for funding to maintain the East River Esplanade and reimagining public safety in a community-centric way are all on her agenda.
A proud union member, Rebecca Lamorte has been fighting for working New Yorkers for years. She has a decade of legislative experience, working alongside the labor movement to fight to pass progressive policies here in the City and in Albany.
As part of an affluent community, Upper East Siders have an obligation to lift up their neighbors in need and make our city more equitable for all New Yorkers. If the last year has taught us anything, it’s that we are a resilient city. Now, as we work to create post-Covid New York, we need to create a future that’s more accessible and inclusive. That’s why Rebecca Lamorte deserves your vote for City Council, District 5 on Election Day, June 22.