Iggy Terranova is taking on State Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside, parts of Woodside, Maspeth, Ridgewood, Woodhaven) in the Democratic primary next week.
Terranova grew up in Astoria. His first job was as a sanitation worker for the city’s Department of Sanitation (DOS) where he worked his way up to supervisor and then to the community affairs department. Now he’s running for the 12th State Senate district seat.
Queens County Politics (QCP) reached out to him by email with three questions. His answers are edited lightly for grammar and style.
Gianaris was sent the same questions but did not respond.
QCP: Beyond defunding police departments and the other proposals on the table lately, what would you propose legislatively to ensure true accountability in police departments around the state?
Iggy Terranova: It’s clear that we need reform and it’s encouraging to see the state legislature finally take some action on the issue. There are simple, common sense ways that we can improve policing, and one that makes a lot of sense is continuing education. We can create programs so that police officers are continuing to get the best training to deal with situations. Specific areas like de-escalation and implicit bias training can help create fairer policing strategies and improve relationships between officers and the communities they work in. I would also work to encourage more New York City residents to join the police force, as they know the communities better than anyone else and the issues that those who live there face.
QCP: What do you see as the biggest challenge for the state’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting budget cuts, and how would you combat it legislatively?
Terranova: The unemployment rate has skyrocketed, so we’re going to have to take that issue on immediately. We need to get people back to work, and we need to do so safely. I’ll work to identify industries that are able to operate with proper PPE and I’ll remind companies that our city is still the greatest in the world and has the world class talent they’re looking for. It’s important to remember that 25,000 new jobs were supposed to come to our district and now we’re going to need them more than ever. It would be irresponsible to trust our current leadership to bring employers here given their track record.
Alongside the issue of employment, the housing crisis will likely be an additional issue. With people out of work they are struggling to pay their rents and mortgages. I’ll push for more rent and mortgage relief for residents who have faced difficulties paying their bills. That includes delaying those payments for a longer amount of time so that people are able to get back on their feet.
QCP: What do you think is the most forgotten or not talked about issue facing New York State today and why? And if elected, what would you do to fix it?
Terranova: In our district, it seems the current representatives have completely forgotten about clean streets and decrepit road conditions. So I’d work to improve the office’s ability to take on those issues and actually do something about it. I spent my time at the Department of Sanitation dealing with community issues around the city, so I’m ready to take those small but important issues on.
On a larger scale, I’d like to focus on increasing the availability of education and vocational training in our jails and prisons. Far too many incarcerated people end up back in the system after their release because they don’t have the skills to find work. Our prisons should be focused on rehabilitation, and by providing people with skills and knowledge we can help create opportunities upon release that will keep them out of the criminal justice system.