“Ben Kallos has been a champion for immigrants, women and the disenfranchised during his time in the City Council," said New York State Assemblymember-Elect Jenifer Rajkumar. “He stands out for his political courage, advocating for what's right even when it’s hard. He has tremendous work ethic, tirelessly serving the people. As the first South Asian American woman elected to the New York State Assembly, I know the importance of having allies like Ben in the fight for equity.”
“New York City Council passed Climate Works for All to limit pollution by dirty buildings thanks to unwavering support for our planet from Progressive Caucus Co-Chair Ben Kallos. When the real estate industry put profits over people by fighting strong limits on dirty buildings, Ben Kallos not only stood up for our planet but refused their dirty money,” said Council Member Costa Constantinides. “We authored a resolution declaring a climate emergency here in New York City and became the biggest city in the world to do so. I am endorsing Ben Kallos as the next Manhattan Borough President to continue our fight against climate change.”
The son of a Greek-Cypriot immigrant and an education activist, Costa Constantinides has represented the New York City Council’s 22nd District since 2013. As chair of the Environmental Protection Committee since 2015, he has been committed to fighting the effects of climate change and keeping it from forever changing New York City’s landscape. Sustainability, resiliency, and air quality have been among Costa’s top environmental issues since long before he was elected into office. His district includes his native Astoria, as well as Rikers Island, parts of Jackson Heights, Woodside, and East Elmhurst.
Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney announced her endorsement of Council Member Ben Kallos for Manhattan Borough President citing their frequent collaboration and record of accomplishment together as Co-Chairs of the East River Esplanade Taskforce, securing pre-kindergarten seats, and keeping the Second Avenue Subway on track.
“It’s about getting things done, and I’ve been proud to work with Council Member Ben Kallos to deliver for the East Side, which is why I am endorsing him to bring the same results to the entire borough as the next Manhattan Borough President,” said Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney.
Congresswoman Maloney has mentored and collaborated with Kallos since his election in 2013 to win big for the neighborhoods they represent on parks, public transit, affordable housing, public safety, seniors, and schools.
Congresswoman Maloney founded the East River Esplanade Taskforce with Kallos’ predecessor Jessica Lappin, and when Kallos was elected to the City Council, she asked him to succeed Lappin as Co-Chair. Working together they successfully secured $275 million to revitalize and build a resilient waterfront. Together they secured $15 million from Rockefeller University and $35 million from the city in 2014, plus $1 million from Hospital for Special Surgery in 2015 to fix the crumbling seawall. They then secured $100 million from the city for 8 blocks of new parkland in 2017, and $75 million from the city for more seawall repairs plus an additional $1 million from The Brearley School in 2018.
While the Second Avenue Subway had been planned for over a century, Congresswoman Maloney held frequent press conferences to keep the project on track where she was joined by Council Member Ben Kallos. The press conferences took place in May 2014, June 2015, July 2015, February 2016, and October 2016 ahead of the January 1, 2017 opening of the new subway. They also joined together to announce free wireless Internet on Eastside Subways. To expand her district’s public transit options Congresswoman Maloney secured $4.4 million in funding for ferry service, with $1.4 million going to her district. Kallos then followed that investment with advocacy to the Mayor, winning two ferry stops for his Council District serving the Upper East Side and Roosevelt Island.
Affordable housing is a top priority for Congresswoman Maloney and Council Member Ben Kallos who joined with Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer to stop super tall towers that threatened to force seniors from their affordable housing and to stop a NYCHA infill proposal that would have built luxury housing on public land without adequate support for public housing residents who can’t get their homes repaired by the bankrupt agency.
When Pre-K for All was launched by the Mayor, the East Side severely lacked seats, with most seats for 4-year-olds only offered miles away such as in the Financial District. With their fellow elected officials, Congresswoman Maloney and Council Member Kallos co-authored a letter to the Mayor and Chancellor in 2017 demanding more seats. The advocacy paid off when they cut the ribbon in September of this year on a new 180-seat pre-kindergarten center on East 76th Street.
As Congresswoman Maloney has led on key initiatives in Congress, Council Member Kallos has authored supporting resolutions in the City Council to support her legislation to build a Smithsonian Museum of American Women’s History and to secure Holocaust reparations from French railways. The Council Member joined the Congresswoman as she led rallies to end acts of hate, to pass common-sense gun reform, and to reinstate a local FDNY Engine Company. Most recently they joined together in support of Retirement Security for All. They’ve also collaborated through the East Side Taskforce for Homeless Outreach and Services (ETHOS) to open WIN-operated supportive housing for women and children on the Upper East Side.
Council Member Ben Kallos serves as Chair of the City Council’s Contracts Committee, which Congresswoman Maloney helped create and set the example for when she was a member of the City Council.
Green Praises the “Progressive Vision” of His Former Policy Director
New York, NY – Former Public Advocate Mark Green announced his endorsement of Council Member Ben Kallos for Manhattan Borough President citing his “progressive vision” and his ability to deliver on his ideas to make New York City work better.
“Ben Kallos legislates with a rare combination of focus and creativity,” said First Public Advocate Mark Green. “All the way back in 2009 when he was working with me to develop ‘Change for New York: 100 Ideas for a Better City,’ I was confident that Ben Kallos had a unique progressive vision. In his time in the Council I have been blown away by his ability to get big wins for New Yorkers while standing up to powerful forces, and I know he’s ready to take the role Manhattan Borough President by storm.”
Serving as Director of Policy for Green’s 2009 campaign for Public Advocate, Kallos worked with Green on his "Change for New York: 100 Ideas for a Better City." Since being elected to the City Council in 2013, Kallos has championed many of Green’s progressive policies and has won hard-fought gains, including expanding the public campaign finance system Green originally wrote for a full public match to get big money out, providing affordable housing through an online portal, fighting homelessness by founding a taskforce and building supportive housing, and adding more than 1,400 new public school seats.
Green and Kallos have recently teamed up to support progressive candidates for office, including Jumaane Williams for Public Advocate and most recently Elizabeth Warren for President. Kallos was the first Manhattan politician to endorse Warren, after Green initially introduced them.
“There are no easy public policy issues, but Ben has taken on some of the hardest,” said Former Public Advocate Mark Green. “Ben has taken on ‘unsolvable’ problems that have plagued New York for years—from scaffolding to tenant blacklists—and found creative ways to finally make the progress New Yorkers are looking for. I am proud to see what he’s done, and excited to see him bring his energy to the borough of Manhattan.”
“Mark Green taught me what it means to be a true progressive—not just someone with progressive values, but someone who works overtime to get things done and who meets special interests head on with big ideas,” said Council Member Ben Kallos.
Mark Green served as New York City’s first Public Advocate and was the Democratic Nominee for Mayor in 2001. He is a bestselling author whose most recent books are Fake President (with Ralph Nader, Dec. 2019) and Bright, Infinite Future: A Generational Memoir on the Progressive Rise (2016).
Mark Green joins 42 labor unions in endorsing Council Member Ben Kallos for Manhattan Borough President.