Brooklyn Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte last Thursday delivered her first ever State of the District address in which she showcased “The Bichotte Plan.”
The plan, outlined at Brooklyn College, comprises the 3Es: Education, Economic Development and Ethics Reform.
Bichotte, who represents the 42nd Assembly District in Brooklyn, said these areas are key “because our economy will stall without a reformed education curriculum, none of which can happen when Albany is not working for the people.”
Bichotte, the first Haitian American in New York City to be elected to the State Assembly, said there was need to restore US$4.4 billion from Campaign for Fiscal Equity Court ruling for school aids, resources and small class rooms.
She said she is leading the movement towards Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) education.
As a former mathematics teacher, in Buffalo, Bichotte said she understands the issues affecting classrooms and how to properly equip them for STEM. She has prime-sponsored several bills on STEM.
For higher education, the assemblywoman introduced the Promise Bill, which calls for community colleges to be free for two years and technical trade schools to be free for one year.
As a former SUNY student who holds degrees in engineering and a Master’s in Business Administration, Bichotte said she had first-hand experience on the importance of funding college students who come from “fiscally tight circumstances.”
She also voted for the DREAM Act, which would provide tuition assistance to undocumented students.
As chair of the Assembly’s Oversight Committee for Minority Woman Owned Business Enterprises (MWBE) — several of which are in the 42nd Assembly District — Bichotte said she has also prime-sponsored two “extremely important bills.”
They are a city-wide measure, A8044-A, and the state-wide A8700, working with the Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo to increase MWBE opportunities on government contracting.
She said she has supported and fought for affordable housing and stronger rent laws, as well as battled for a minimum wage increase to $15 per hour.
“As chair of the subcommittee, I set forth a rigorous goal to introduce a number of bills that would help close the economic disparity,” Bichotte said.
She said bills which state any resolution of the 421a Tax Abatement Program or any tax exemptions must have an MWBE component, with a 30 percent participation goal.
Bichotte said A8700 would require all localities and municipalities throughout the entire state to have a MWBE participation.
“Now this piece of legislation is perhaps the first of its kind with-sweeping reforms that ensure minorities and women business owners an equal seat at the table when tax funded agencies and entities contract to businesses in the market and in the general economy,” she said.
“Together with my leadership as chair, MWBEs will begin to rise and to not be seen as minority or women-owned business, but as great drivers of our economy, job creators, makers of phenomenal products and markets leaders,” she added. “These reforms bring social equity to the business industry that will add to a robust economy.”
Bichotte said her plan for reforming government is aligned with Speaker Heastie’s goals, stating that Heastie opened the current legislative session “with superb remarks on how we, the elected officials of the State of New York, can take reasonable steps to reform our broken electoral process.
“He outlined three areas, that can use additional reforms,” Bichotte said. “One, striping tax payer-funded pensions from public officials convicted of corruption; two, increasing disclosure of legislatures’ outside income to prevent conflict of interest; thirdly, closing the LLC loophole.”
Quoting late Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm, Bichotte said: “’You don’t make progress by standing on the sidelines. You make progress by implementing ideas.’”
As a freshman legislator, Bichotte said she continues to demonstrate her “persistent fight for change.”