BY SAM BOJARSKI
BROOKLYN – During 2022, District 42 Assembly Member Rodneyse Bichotte-Hermelyn said she will fight to double discretionary spending in the state’s Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises Program (MWBE) to $1 million, while also championing legislation for cameras on subway platforms and protections against racially motivated claims to law enforcement.
“At the most basic level that’s what government is about, helping people,” said Bichotte-Hermelyn, speaking during her annual State of the District virtual event, broadcast on YouTube and Facebook.
District 42 encompasses portions of Flatbush, East Flatbush, Midwood and Ditmas Park, containing the Little Haiti district. It largely serves as the cultural center of New York’s Haitian community. Bichotte-Hermelyn has represented the district since 2015 and chairs the Brooklyn Democratic Party.
She also chairs the subcommittee on oversight of MWBEs in the state assembly. In her speech, Bichotte-Hermelyn noted the opening of a new home for Caribbean entrepreneurs in the Flatbush Central market. She also addressed gender equity issues, introducing plans for a reparations bill for families of deceased “birthing persons.”
“As chair of the Women’s Task Force, I’m going to make sure we take strides to right gender inequities,” Bichotte-Hermelyn said.
One community health facility, the Morris Heights Health Center opened in January and offers family medicine, maternal health and other services. Over $6.6 million in state funds were directed to the Center, Bichotte-Hermelyn said.
Development has already begun on the Shirley Chisholm Recreation Center, which will be located on Farragut Place, between East 31st and East 32nd streets. With the procurement process underway for the 65,000-square-foot indoor recreation center, Bichotte-Hermelyn said she would like a minority or woman-owned business to design it.
Her staff also served over 1,100 people who contacted the district office in 2021, assisting callers with housing concerns, state programs like Emergency Rental Assistance and employment-related concerns, said Bichotte-Hermelyn.
Bichotte-Hermelyn also addressed the multiple crises Haiti faced last year, including the July 7 presidential assassination and the August earthquake, calling for a halt to deportations, asylum for Haitians in the U.S. and food assistance. Although she helped lead a post-earthquake relief effort, advocacy to stop deportations at the federal level were less successful.
“Although our efforts to stop deportations were met with resistance, we fought for our beliefs and the values of our democracy,” Bichotte-Hermelyn said. “We are grateful for the help we received along the way.”
The State of the District event included pre-recorded remarks by national, state and local elected officials prior to Bichotte-Hermelyn’s speech. Those who spoke included New York Sen. Chuck Schumer and New York Rep. Yvette Clarke.
Bichotte-Hermelyn “is a trailblazer who has paved the way for many women of color in elected office and it is a great honor to champion a fellow American who has achieved her vision of the American Dream,” said Clarke during her address.