Gigi Li, candidate for City Council (CD1)

Website: gigili.nyc
Twitter: @gigi_k_li

Thank you for the opportunity to seek the endorsement of the Grand Street Democrats.  Last week, we all took part in sending a clear message – we want a transition of leadership in the White House.  Building off that energy, we now shift our focus to local elections.  As all politics is local, the election in June will pave the way for how New York City will recover from COVID, restore the economy, and continue building on a progressive Citywide movement.   

As a third generation Lower Manhattan resident and a new mom – the future of our neighborhood is always on my mind.  I have spent my entire adult professional life advocating for change, working as a counselor/advocate for children and families impacted by domestic violence, organizing rallies at City Hall and in Albany to expand summer jobs for youth, and serving on the Mayor’s taskforce to expand the City’s afterschool system and design UPKNYC.   

Motivated to serve on the community level, I applied and was appointed to serve on Manhattan’s Community Board 3 in 2009, and was elected to serve as board chair from 2012-2016.  The ten years I spent on CB3 cemented the importance of government accessibility and accountability.  After all, it was my frustration with the government policies and bureaucracy that led me to become a social worker. 

My priorities include fighting for affordable housing and protecting existing affordable housing, preserving caregiving services in the challenging budgets ahead of us – for children and seniors, and economic recovery from COVID.  My commitment to serve the residents of LES remains steadfast, with a proven track record – leadership role in planning of Essex Crossing, fighting against NYCHA infill, navigating resiliency & recovery efforts, preserving childcare capacity and expanding SYEP capacity Citywide, and locally. 

Lower Manhattan deserves a candidate that can bring diverse coalitions together to achieve common goals, a candidate that will unify our neighborhoods.  I am committed to working hard for your support and fight for a community my family has been proud to call home – and for our future generations to have the opportunity to raise their families here. 

My extensive experience in both the nonprofit and government sectors, also serving as a chief of staff to a NYC Councilmember for the past two years has prepared me to fight for you starting on day 1.  I would be honored to have your support.     

Grand Street Dems asked each CD1 candidate to submit a statement ahead of our endorsement meeting on Sunday, November 15.

Jenny Low, candidate for City Council (CD1)

Website: jennylow.nyc
Twitter: @jennylamlow

Dear Members of Grand Street Democrats, 

I hope you are healthy and safe during these unprecedented times. Thank you for the opportunity to talk with  you and share my vision as a City Council Candidate for District 1 on Sunday, November 15. 

Please allow me to re-introduce myself. I am a life-long advocate for Lower Manhattan, serving as an elected  District Leader for the last twenty five years and a board member of a $190M+ nonprofit organization, while  keeping a professional private sector career for 29+ years. I’m ready to put my proven skills, passion for Lower Manhattanites, and knowledge to work and help District 1 and the City recover from the devastation caused by  COVID. 

I have spent my whole life helping Lower Manhattan, empowering women, immigrants and people of color, and fighting for our progressive values. 

  • I’ve been on the board of Eleanor’s Legacy for the last 10 years. We helped build a very progressive farm team of women and women of color in the state for elective office. 
  • As a District Leader for 25 years, I’ve been able to raise political awareness in our community and in doing so expanded our political voice and empowerment. 
  • As a board member of the Chinese-American Planning Council for 30 years, I’ve helped enable countless  immigrant and low-income families to become economically self-sufficient. 
  • I currently serve as the Director the Administrative Services Division at the New York City Council’s Office  of Speaker Corey Johnson where I oversee a team that manages the internal operations of the Council.  Before that, I was the Director of the Community Engagement Division, where I worked to engage New Yorkers through civic participation and enhance their connection with the Council. 

People have been asking me to run for years because of my proven track record and years of experience. And I’m  glad that Congresswomen Nydia Velazquez and Carolyn Maloney and NYS Senator John Liu have already endorsed  me. I have been thinking about running, but especially now amid the COVID pandemic, and seeing the devastation  across the district, I’m getting off the sidelines and ready to put my skills, experience, and passion to work, fighting  for an equitable recovery from this pandemic as the next Council Member in District 1. 

I am ready to put my decades of experience as a community leader and my skills in the private and public sectors  as our next Council Member to: 

  • Fight for working families 
  • Get small businesses the support they need 
  • Address our affordable housing crisis 
  • Demand real reforms at the NYPD 
  • Expand access to healthcare and support healthcare workers on the frontlines 
  • Improve the public schools that opened opportunities for me, and 
  • Help seniors and families with food insecurity 

2021 will bring huge turnover for the City Council. Our district needs a Council Member who doesn’t need any  training. With my demonstrated track record in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors, I can hit the ground  running on day one as a Council Member representing the 1st District. 

Sincerely,
Jenny Low

Grand Street Dems asked each CD1 candidate to submit a statement ahead of our endorsement meeting on Sunday, November 15.

Christopher Marte, candidate for City Council (CD1)

Website: votemarte.com
Twitter: @chrisMarteNYC

Christopher Marte has been on the frontlines of the major issues in Lower Manhattan for the past 5 years, especially when it comes to overdevelopment and displacement. He has worked with his community to stop the development of luxury towers, which could displace thousands of tenants and small businesses. He has built coalitions to stop the building of a new jail, and push for restorative justice reforms. He has worked with parents and students to prevent illegal and toxic contamination from dangerous construction sites. Since COVID started, Christopher has worked to create a network of donors and volunteers to distribute food and PPE to homebound seniors and low-income families and workers. The district has extreme wealth disparities, but Christopher has a track record of bringing communities together with a common purpose, and will continue that mission in the City Council.

Grand Street Dems asked each CD1 candidate to submit a statement ahead of our endorsement meeting on Sunday, November 15.