Interview with Ruben Diaz Jr. – President of The Borough of the Bronx – 2012

In the State Assembly, Ruben Diaz Jr. served as Chair of the Committee on Election Law and on the Assembly’s Standing Committees on Education, Ways & Means, Children and Families, Environmental Conservation and Transportation. He was also a member of the Assembly’s Puerto Rican and Hispanic Task Force and the Black/Puerto Rican and Asian Legislative Caucus.

Since becoming borough president, Diaz led the opposition to the proposed redevelopment of the Kingsbridge Armory, based on concerns over future wages at the retail mall, traffic impact on the neighborhood and the potential of the new project to conflict with businesses on nearby Fordham Road. Following that battle, Diaz convened the Kingsbridge Armory Task Force, which released a report in June 2011 that outlined a number of potential uses for the Kingsbridge Armory that would not include a retail mall. The Bloomberg Administration agreed, and in January 2012 the City issued a new RFP for the Kingsbridge Armory that focused on a wide variety of uses.

Diaz has also led the charge for a new “living wage” law in New York City, which would require developers that receive heavy taxpayer funding for their project to pay the employees of that development a “living wage.” In May 2012, the City Council passed such a law, which had been introduced at the behest of the borough president, giving New York City the strongest “living wage” law in the United States.
Diaz has also put forward a strong agenda to bring new business to the Bronx, while also making it easier for existing businesses to stay. In November 2009, Diaz hosted the borough’s first ever economic summit, in coordination with the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation, which brought together business, community and not-for-profit leaders from across the Bronx and the region to discuss the economic goals of the borough. Since then, the borough president’s office and the BOEDC have helped hundreds of businesses improve their operations, and have brought thousands of new jobs to the Bronx.

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