Democrat Amanda Farias
Amanda Farias is a lifelong Bronxite with a passion for public service. Born and raised in the Soundview neighborhood of the Bronx, Amanda is a second generation Puerto Rican-Dominican who understands firsthand the hardships of living in one of the most underserved areas of the United States. Born the oldest of three children in a single parent household, Amanda learned at an early age the value of hard work as she helped to support her family.
Amanda first entered public life by fighting voter suppression and mobilizing Black and Latino communities for President Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign. Since then, Amanda has worked diligently in the New York City Council to strengthen our public schools through overseeing of SMART technology upgrades for students and classrooms, develop and expand job-training programs for the unemployed and underemployed, and protecting our seniors by securing additional funding to fight food insecurity.
For several years, Amanda managed the City Council’s Women’s Caucus, where she organized campaigns around equal pay, women’s healthcare services, and providing more opportunities for Minority-and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs).
Amanda also served as the Director for Participatory Budgeting for Council District 30, where she spearheaded the allocation of over one million dollars in capital funds, as voted on by thousands of local residents, to improve public schools, libraries, and parks in the district.
Amanda is a proud product of Bronx schools, she attended P.S. 69, Holy Cross School and Preston High School in the Bronx. She holds a B.A. in Government and Politics and an M.A. in International Relations from St. John’s University.
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Why She’s Running
Amanda believes in building an inclusive economy that will uplift middle-class families, women, youth, seniors, and communities of color out of poverty. With her extensive experience in the New York City Council, Amanda understands how City government operates and knows exactly how to make sure the Bronx gets the support and resources it deserves.
Amanda is running to represent District 18 in the City Council to empower her community with the leadership and change we need.
THE TIME IS NOW, JOIN AMANDA TO BUILD A BRIGHTER FUTURE FOR THE BRONX TOGETHER!
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT . . .
The Bronx needs more living wage jobs that can uplift working families. Minimum wage and part time jobs just aren’t cutting it. We need well-paying jobs that provide stability, health benefits and upward mobility for all populations. During Amanda's time in City Council, she saw first hand the barriers that too many New Yorkers face when entering the job market - especially youth, women, and people of color. A recent report from the city comptroller's office revealed that from 2007 to 2012, the number of black-owned businesses in New York City declined by more than 30%, even as the number of new storefronts and businesses increased by 45%. We must to do more to support Women and Minority Owned Businesses. That means ensuring that they are getting at least 20% of City contracts, getting access to certification and re-certification for M/WBE status and reducing the burden of unnecessary fines on small businesses.
We must invest in good jobs right here in the Bronx. The Bronx is a “booming borough”, but we need to make sure that we all have access to opportunities to benefit from new resources and development coming into our communities. In District 18 people are often enduring long commutes outside of the district to jobs that force neighbors to live paycheck-to-paycheck. When District 18 is fortunate enough to see the opening of a new store or restaurant, we need to push for these businesses to hire local and ensure that any new job opportunities offer the minimum of $15 an hour. And we need to make equal pay for equal work a reality in this City! Equal pay for women is not just a women’s issue - it about communities building a strong and more resilient economy because we all know that when we uplift women, we uplift all communities.
Small businesses are the livelihood of our communities. They strengthen New York City’s economy, create jobs, and add to the vibrancy of our neighborhoods. Our local businesses are the ones employing our neighbors and often provide a first chance for economic self-determination and a path to the middle class for their owners and workers. However, small businesses face a variety of challenges daily, including multiple levels of government regulation. We have to open a pathway to improving the small business process and provide resources to the complexity that weighs heavily on small businesses that often have fewer resources to navigate government.
In our community, we need to better equip our small business owners to self invest not only in themselves, but in the community they serve by organizing through Merchant Associations and/or Business Improvement Districts. Merchant Associations and BIDs create an environment for local stakeholders to oversee and fund the maintenance, improvement and promotion of their commercial districts. That way, we are not only safeguarding our local businesses but also re-investing into the community that keeps our small businesses thriving. Amanda will fight to bring opportunities to ensure every small business owner understands the resources they have available to them throughout this city.
INFRASTRUCTURE . . .
There is a sense that our quality of life is diminishing — that streets aren’t being cleaned, roads aren’t being fixed, and that our city isn’t as responsive as it should be. Working for City Council over the last four years has given Amanda the experience needed to work with our city agencies on real issues, in real time. She's worked to improve transportation and access issues in neighborhoods that experienced transportation deserts. She's worked directly with constituents on issues like safety improvements for schools and students, and for seniors and pedestrians simply trying to commute safely in their neighborhoods. She's worked on efforts with local precincts to address crime and build better community-police relations. This is the leadership Amanda will bring to District 18.
Our residents deserve affordable and efficient transportation options, and it is important that we allocate the necessary resources to continue improving on public transportation options, as well as other infrastructure. Amanda believes that working with state officials on improving subway service, reducing delays, and keeping fares from going up is not only practical, but crucial to the livelihood of our communities. It’s also critically important that we invest in initiatives that increase the safety for both drivers and pedestrians. We should continue to find ways to identify and improve other high-accident intersections and areas throughout the community as well.
Better streets mean safer walkways and better business. We want to improve our infrastructure with attractive public spaces and better-designed streets, not just for aesthetic but also for safety. Our streets are busy; we have a lot of businesses, restaurants, and traffic, which is great! But that means more people and more activity and that equals more maintenance. We want to strengthen both our communities and our businesses that serve them with the goals of safety, efficiency, greater travel and commuting choices and economic vitality. We want neighborhoods that prioritize pedestrian safety with safer walkways and intersections like speed bumps, stops signs and slow zones to ensure the safety of our children and seniors. Amanda wants to transform our communities and streets into more efficient and welcoming spaces that better accommodate all residents.
The South Bronx is booming and we are seeing growth here in the housing market that we have not seen in decades. We need to ensure however, that we take the necessary steps to keep housing affordable for our existing families, and affordable enough to attract new families into the neighborhood as well. We also should take steps to lower other costs and bills for our families. We need to ensure that we provide the necessary resources to our NYCHA developments to repair and restore our public housing stock to be ready for the years to come. Amanda's grandparents came from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic to provide her parents with the best opportunities, as her mom did for her. Amanda will fight for our families to have the opportunity to stay here for generations, and not get forced out by development, rent increases or lack of resources.
There is no doubt that homelessness continues to negatively impact far too many Bronx families, and we need to identify additional resources and create other partnerships to help take those who are homeless off the streets. This is especially important for our homeless youth and veterans. It is simply unacceptable that in some parts of the Bronx, 1 in 10 school aged children are identified as homeless. We must do more to eliminate this severe poverty. That’s why we have to address the root of the problem, not just the symptoms. Instead of building more shelters, we must be building more low income affordable housing and providing the job training families need for financial stability. Furthermore, our homeless veterans deserve to be connected with resources they may need and deserve. Amanda will fight to give our veterans home-based resources to ensure access to housing, heathcare services, jobs-readiness programs and career services, possibly needed to get back on their feet. Lastly, as Council Member, Amanda will sign-on to and support the Home Stability Act in Albany, a program that’s planned to help renters and homeowners stay in their homes so we can assure families can stay in their homes and not in a shelter.
Living in NYC we can get consumed by our concrete jungle, while that is part of living in the city and the Bronx, we need to re-imagine our communities and re-invest in the neighborhoods we really want to live in. Beautifying our neighborhoods with tree-lined streets and green spaces can improve a walk to school or work. Amanda wants our neighborhoods to grow from being under-resourced communities living without green spaces, to giving residents access to green space in every neighborhood. We want to be working on our community gardens, in our public parks, and open spaces like, schools, housing projects, vacant lots, sidewalks and even highways. More green spaces also produces numerous health benefits for the community. Having access to public open spaces and parks has been associated with better-perceived general health, reduced stress levels, reduced depression and more.
District 18 isn’t just concrete, we have large areas in Soundview, Clason Point, Harding Park and Shorehaven that are not only green but are water-front and need more maintenance. Our green spaces that have water-front need to include protections for natural lands, so we can provide a healthy habitat for humans, wildlife and plants in these urban spaces. Parks help make our city become greener, more attractive and viable.
EDUCATION . . .
It is incredibly important to Amanda that we make our local public schools as strong as they can be. Amanda is a proud product of Bronx schools and her mother and younger brothers are proud products of the public school system. She will actively work with principals and teachers to identify needs for additional resources in and out of the classroom. As Council Member, Amanda commits to visiting every school in the district and sitting down with principals, administrators, and PTA Presidents to make sure she can advocate for what each and every school needs.
All students – regardless of their race, religion or zip code – deserve the tools needed to succeed. While working for City Council, Amanda recognized that schools and education are crucial to the development of our students. With the ever-changing world we live in- it is important that we provide students the right resources to progress for their educational development. Focusing on priorities for students and families like after-school opportunities and programs, cultural programming - like art and music, improved technology in classrooms, expanded free meal programs to students in need in multiple grade levels and expanded transportation programs for students. Working at City Hall, Amanda has been able to work on things like auditorium seat upgrades, getting AC’s in schools, and working with local Community Based Organizations to give students STEM opportunities like Girls Who Code and C4Q.
As an older sibling, Amanda knows that a student’s success not only relies on the student and teachers, but also that it depends on the involvement and support of their parents and siblings. We have great public schools with great students and we need to ensure that we maintain and increase parental involvement in our children’s education. No one can do it alone – not parents, not teachers nor solely administrators - and they shouldn't have to. We must come together as a community to invest in our public schools, our students, and our families to ensure a better, well equipped educational environment.
High School students need to be college and career ready. As a Council Member, Amanda wants to bring resources that will prepare our students for their futures. We need more science and computer classes in our curriculum to prepare young people for the high paying tech jobs of today and tomorrow. She also want to focus on bringing college preparatory programs back and re-introduce a focus on career trades. Living in New York, we know that trades, union jobs & workers are the heart of our city. And with the current educational debt rising for young people, we want to provide them with as many career options as possible.
PUBLIC SAFETY . . .
District 18 faces some challenges when it comes to crime and violence in our area of the Bronx. We need to do all that we can in creating safer streets and spaces for our community. Amanda wants better community police relations and increased transparency regarding complaints reported. Without our officers in blue, we would not be able to live as safely as we do, but we must make sure we are working together as one “unit”.
That's why we need to modernize training practices in the NYPD and have defined guidelines on use of force. Amanda supports the expansion of police worn body camera programs across the city to ensure transparency and restore public trust. It is very important that we improve the relationships between the community and the police, and that our officers to be engaged in the community it serves.
But in addition to preventative measures ensuring members of our community don’t become justice-involved if they don’t need to, we must focus on ensuring people currently involved with the justice system are also treated with respect, are offered due process, and have rights that are protected. With the City’s 10 year plan to close Rikers, we risk our attention turning away and forgetting about those who are still experiencing Rikers Island now and in the coming decade. Amanda will fight to ensure these individuals have access to appropriate and humane living accommodations, and that severe measures such as punitive segregation are used judiciously and only when absolutely necessary.
Oftentimes, incarcerated individuals on Rikers Island struggle to access healthcare because of capacity issues around the ability for officers to escort inmates to clinics. When specialty services are required, the process is even more cumbersome and the result is often that the severity of an individual’s condition will worsen because of the quality of care on the Island. We must change that - people should not be doomed to becoming sicker as a result of involvement with the justice system. Amanda will fight for investments in correctional health services to promote the wellness of everyone.
HEALTH CARE . . .
The Bronx can no longer afford to be the least-healthy county in New York State. High infant mortality rates, incidences of asthma, and other disparities are unacceptable - we must expand access to quality care for low-income and working families in our community, regardless of immigration status or ability to pay.
Amanda commits to advocating for better resources to deal with the health issues that disproportionately affect us as Bronxites – including respiratory diseases, obesity and diabetes. She's had the pleasure of working with organizations like Planned Parenthood that offer care to all who walk through their doors. We need to make sure that our City is doing its part to support services like these that are a lifeline for so many - especially women - without insurance. We need to continue ensuring organizations and services like this are available in our district for our women and families to access.
But beyond access to reproductive care, Amanda will fight for investments in public and voluntary clinics providing critical primary care services that keep Bronxites out of the emergency room and away from more serious illnesses. She’ll also advocate for investments in specialty care and for the creation of centers of excellence in the clinical spaces existing in our district.
The primary voluntary hospital in the Bronx, Montefiore, is the care provider that many low income Bronxites rely on for their care. Amanda will push to ensure funding for continued successful partnerships with providers, such as the school-based health center program. She’ll also work to make sure the Council continues to fund key community-based care investments in new clinic space, as it has by helping fund Health Action Centers throughout the city.
Within our community, specifically our people of color, we also need to have a better focus on mental health and challenges with addiction. These conversations are often taboo, but we need to fight for additional resources for behavioral health issues. Our communities cannot continue to suffer. We need to take a proactive hand in providing resources to help those suffering and provide support for their families.
COMMUNITY ADVOCACY. . .
Hardworking immigrants have played an important role in building and strengthening our communities. We need to bring new immigrant communities out of the shadows to build a stronger future and economy. Amanda has worked with Latino, Polish & Nepalese communities through CUNY Immigration NOW! Services to connect immigrants to the legal services they need and deserve. She's also worked in the City Council to promote access to the new municipal IDs - which are offered regardless of immigration status. With these IDs, all New Yorkers can now better access city services, housing opportunities, and even open a bank account. We need to ensure as a city that we focus on providing more city resources available in more languages for our immigrant communities, to ensure more participation and inclusion.
At the City Council, Amanda has been able to working alongside some of the most amazing women this city has to offer. And while women are in roles people would never guess to see them, women still face many barriers in achieving their full potential. Managing the Women’s Caucus of City Council Amanda organized rallies on equal pay for equal work, paid sick leave for women and families, and better access and opportunities for M/WBE’s. She worked on a citywide budget that prioritized women’s healthcare services, programs to address young women and girls in school and STEM, and helped fund local community based organizations that served local residents, everyday. That’s why having strong women in local leadership is essential in protecting and strengthening women’s rights in the community and for years to come. Amanda is committed to bringing that leadership to serve the residents of District 18.
Amanda understands the importance of an inclusive community with inclusive policy and leadership. Strong, leadership helps create communities that are safe and protected for all walks of life and understands how to create policy with the lens of others, on behalf of others. When working at City Council, Amanda saw the disparity of gender breakdown on boards and leadership teams working with the city and addressed it with Local Law 44. We need proactive leadership that will fight for everyone, everyday. Politically, we haven’t seen that leadership in the Bronx. In the era of Trump and right-wing extremism, the time for that to change is now. Amanda is committed to fighting for the rights of the LGBTQ community by speaking out against hate, working with community health organizations to ensure better access to health facilities and working in the City Council with other members and the LGBT Caucus.
Persons With Disabilities
Amanda’s grandfather lost both his legs while she was young and was wheelchair bound for most of her life. She always had a huge hand in helping her grandparents on their day-to-day and she knows intimately of the struggles he faced in his daily routine of affordability of resources and access to getting around, or not being able to get around, our community. As a city, we need to create positive relationships with the Persons With Disability (PWD) community and ensure that we are looking at policy through their lens. When we speak of intersectionality, and looking at all the layers of being marginalized, it is important to include the viewpoint of all groups who experience discrimination and it is unfortunate when people with disabilities are left out of that conversation. We end up with legislative priorities that inadvertently place further burdens on the community.
Amanda’s grandfather primarily depended on access-a-ride as a means of transportation since she was too young to drive and he no longer could. AAR was never reliable nor were they accountable for his missed appointments, days they never showed up or hours spent waiting for them to come back. In District 18, people with disabilities do not have many other options for transportation to go out, shop, or attend appointments due to our community’s lack of transportation access. Amanda wants to make sure not another person gets forgotten. She wants to work with organizations like the Center for Independence of the Disabled, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, Disability Rights New York, the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, and Independent Living Centers, among others to hear the many perspectives of those within the disability to community, and create legislation that is as thoughtful, and holistic as possible.
When at City Hall, Amanda not only worked on Participatory Budgeting NYC but was a voting member on the Steering Committee and worked on creating more access for residents. Her district was the pilot for voting both remotely and online to test its successes with residents, and on the steering committee she worked hard on creating a larger ballot with larger font, working within the guidelines and processes of the city for access, and creating ADA accessible voting locations. This was a priority for her to ensure PBNYC was inclusive. That’s what Amanda plans to do as our next City Council Member, advocate and work on issues to provide equality; more access, inclusivity and progress to all residents.
As we know, sometimes Riker’s can feel like our backyard, and Amanda has personally faced challenges with her own family members returning home or cycling back into the system. Someone’s return to their community from jail or prison is a challenging transition, not only for them, but also for families and neighborhoods. When returning home, newly released individuals may face and struggle with issues like substance abuse, lack of education and employment skills, limited housing options, and mental health issues. As a community we need to be ready to support newly released community members so recidivism rates drop and the transition is easier. Creating a support system where resources are available to better assist with the transition home and staying out of the cycle is a challenge but necessary when it comes to keeping our Black and Brown men out of jail. We know the challenges they face, like relying heavily on families for housing and financial support, where some of our families already face difficulty living paycheck to paycheck; finding and maintaining employment at a fair wage, and finding stable housing.
We need to be able to offer a range of programs to help youth and adults newly-released from jail or prison to successfully navigate the challenges of reentry, access opportunities to improve their lives, and avoid recidivism. As your City Council Member, Amanda commits herself to community-based programs providing education and employment services for youth and young adults recently released from jail or prison, working with CBOs like CASES and ATI programming, providing funding for mental and behavioral treatments, being proactive on oversight of ongoing case-management for men and women pre- and post-release from Rikers Island Correctional Facility; and promoting educational advancement, employment-readiness, job placement, and positive engagement in the community.
We need to help those returning home to break the cycle and establish stable, productive lives, avoid recidivism and access practical pathways to a better future in the community.
GOOD GOVERNMENT. . .
We need a government that is open, accessible, inclusive and transparent to the communities they serve. And the best way for communities to receive resources and know where their tax paying dollars are going is to participate in the process. As Council Member, Amanda wants to hear from the community on what they need, so she knows how to best allocate and use her budget, not only appropriately but fairly. Communities also deserve to know how proactive is their leadership. Working in City Hall, Amanda was able to not only draft legislative priorities, but have them voted on and signed into law. District 18 deserves to know how proactive their leadership is and how often are they working on their behalf. Amanda commits to always have legislative priorities that directly reflect what my community and this city need and deserve. We need people that are going to fight for our families, people that will walk the talk.
Giving the community the decision-making ability on where dollars go can make a huge difference in a community. PB is a crucial instrument to engage and aggregate ideas from the community about how we can improve our district. It is revolutionary in the way it allow community members to improve our district and lets the taxpayer decide how their money is spent. Changing the dynamic of how projects are planned, what is a priority and how it can be done makes a difference to community members. That’s why Amanda is committed to bringing PB to our whole district so that resident can have their voices heard in the budget process. Many districts across the city have successfully instituted the PB program, and Amanda has run PB for two successful years. It is time that we have PB in District 18.
ENCOURAGING CIVIC ENGAGEMENT
Civic engagement is part of what makes our communities in this city so great. Unfortunately, in certain areas, there are people that dissuade us from being engaged. It is imperative, now more than ever to participate in the governmental, electoral and funding processes of our communities. Amanda always says, "Community Voice, Community Vote" - that is how we not only participate, but create impactful change. As a community we need to understand that is a two-way street and not only is participation highly encouraged on the voters’ side but on the City Council Member as well. As your Council Member, Amanda understands that it is crucial to have leadership who is responsive and proactive. Amanda commits to having an open-door policy where she is transparent in her work for the community. Being open is crucial to the success of the district, this includes engaging with community organizations and voters from across our neighborhoods.
In Amanda’s capacity as the Director of Special Projects for New York City Council Member Elizabeth Crowley, she has worked on numerous issues that reflect her concerns for our city, as well as, matters that affect all NYC residents. Here is an overview of some of the matters that she has worked on:
- Worked with The Women's Caucus of New York City Council alongside, The Black Institute to bring amendments to laws affecting our Minority and Women Owned Businesses (MWBE's) through Local Law 116 which is a Local Law to amend the administrative code of the city of New York, in relation to requiring agency minority and women-owned business enterprise utilization plans to be published online.
Worked on Council Resolution calling upon the New York State Legislature to pass and the Governor to sign S.2388/A.1019, legislation to establish the New York State Women’s Suffrage 100th Anniversary Commemoration Commission.
Labor & PAC's
NYC Council Elections, Bronx CD #18, Part 3 It took less than ten minutes from the time I'd sent the email to the time my phone rang. This can't be possible, I thought to myself. It must be a bill collector. But on a Sunday afternoon?
When Amanda Farias was a kid growing up in the Bronx, her grandmother would bring her into the voting booth whenever there was an election. Her family didn't often discuss politics, but at the polling place, her grandmother always said, "You have to make sure you vote.
"I think this is the moment. If it's not now, then it will be never." Amanda Farias was speaking last June at a training session at the New American Leaders Project, which helps first- and second-generation Americans plan runs for public office. At the time, the then-26-year-old sat among 29 women of color intending to launch political careers.
Insurgent Democrat Amanda C. Farias announced on Monday that her campaign filed over 3,000 designating petitions for the 18th City Council District. Farias filed 7 times as many signatures than the 450 minimum required by the City Charter to qualify for the September 12 Democratic Primary election ballot.
Amanda Farias is a first-time candidate and Bronx native running for City Council in New York City's District 18. In the past she's worked for Barack Obama's campaign in 2012, managed the City Council Women's Caucus, and directed Participatory Budgeting for District 30.
Small Donor Contribution Leaders for 2017 Elections | New York City Campaign Finance Board For Women of Immigrant Heritage, the ABC's of Running for Office
Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club has endorsed Bronx Democrat Amanda for City Council in the 18th Council District. Farias holds endorsements from the National Organization for Women New York City, Council Member Elizabeth Crowley, Council Member Helen Rosenthal, VoteProChoice, and Filipino American Democratic Club of New York.