A day after endorsing U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) for president in the 2020 race, Councilman Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria) has stepped forward as a candidate for the office of the Queens Borough President.
As a contender, he is differentiating himself from others by touting his environmental accomplishments, hinging his candidacy on creating a “greener Queens” and bringing green jobs to the World’s Borough.
“To protect Queens, the next Borough President must have a plan to protect every neighborhood and strengthen our economy, schools, and infrastructure,” said Constantinides. “I helped pass a Green New Deal for New York, now we must do the same for Queens. My plan will ensure our sons and daughters inherit a safer Queens with green jobs and a stronger future.”
On Twitter, the councilman posted that he wanted to energy-efficient schools, to invest in STEM, create more affordable housing and expand parks.
He wants schools to have hydroponic science labs that are cost-effective and that will educate students about biology, agriculture and nutrition, and he wants to build on school solar panel initiative.
He wants to make parks more resilient, he intends to require developments built on public land to be 100 percent affordable, and will prioritize senior housing.
“The rent is indeed too damn high, and we shouldn’t have seniors worried about getting squeezed out of neighborhoods where they’ve spent their entire life,” posted the councilman on Instagram. “I won’t support any housing development on public land unless its units are completely affordable.”
For two years, Constantinides spearheaded the Climate Mobilization Act, which is a bill that mandated the reduction of climate emissions that passed ahead of Earth Day with overwhelming support by the City Council.
The CMA mandates that large buildings will collectively reduce their carbon footprint by 40 percent by 2030, according to the councilman’s office.
The Office of Building Energy and Emissions Performance will be established within the Department of Buildings to ensure that building owners hit their target goal.
“Queens is on the front lines of climate change. It puts our home, our lives, and our future at risk,” said the councilman. “We’ve already experienced the threat of extreme weather when Sandy destroyed huge parts of our beloved borough. That was now seven years ago, and Queens is still not ready for the next storm — let alone the rising seas, flooding, and extreme heat we’ve already seen.”
Earlier this summer, Constantinides fought to have a presidential climate change debate in Queens to address his environmental concerns for the borough, one of the hardest-hit counties when Hurricane Sandy hit New York City.
While Constantinides may not have been able to succeed in that endeavor, he hopes that if he manages to become the borough president that he will be able to utilize the $60 million budget that comes with that office to invest in clean energy, clean transportation and clean jobs, according to a press release and video posted on Facebook.
“I lived here in Queens all my life,” said Constantinides in the video. “We need to transform our neighborhoods to survive and thrive…and together we can show the world a green new future is possible right here in Queens.”